40 Years After Retirement, Bob Hayes Still An All-Time Cowboy
Fans have long been a fickle species, prone to hyperbole and forgetfulness. Of late, this truth has been demonstrated by numerous All-Cowboy teams I’ve seen which depict Michael Irvin and Dez Bryant as the two greatest wide receivers in franchise history. Drew Pearson is often mentioned as a distant third-place finisher.
Yet, when I put on my General Manager cap, I find it hard not to pair Irvin on the field with Bob Hayes. In an era when defensive backs had the freedom to push and shove receivers, Hayes was a speed demon that nobody could catch. A former Olympic sprinter who set a world-record in the 100-meters, Hayes’ speed was so deadly it forced defensive coordinators to start using zone coverage to try to stop him. But not even that worked.
“The speed he had was…well, it was frankly beyond belief,” said Cowboys director of player personnel Gil Brandt.
Hayes averaged a mind-boggling 20 yards per reception and scored 71 career touchdowns.
The modern historian will try to diminish his accomplishments by portraying Hayes as a troubled soul who stooped to drug abuse and refused to block on running plays. The modern fan does him an equal disservice by simply forgetting that he even existed.
While wearing the label Fastest Human in the World, Bob Hayes set records, played in Super Bowls, and earned himself a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. If that’s not enough to be considered an All-Time Cowboys wide receiver, then I don’t know what is.