Once called the “Fastest Man in the World,” Bob Hayes was very slow to enter into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But on January 31 in Tampa, one day before Super Bowl XLIII, he did it.
Hayes joined guard Randall McDaniel, defensive end Bruce Smith, linebacker Derrick Thomas, owner Ralph Wilson and defensive back Rod Woodson in the six-man Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2009. The class was elected by the Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee who met today in Tampa, Florida, site of tomorrow’s Super Bowl XLIII.
Bob Hayes played for the Dallas Cowboys from 1965 to 1974. He finished his career with one season in 1975 for the San Francisco 49ers. He was the first receiver in Dallas franchise history to surpass 1,000 total yards receiving, doing so in his rookie season. Hayes finished his career with 371 receptions for 7,414 yards and 71 touchdowns. His average of 20 yards per catch for the Cowboys stands untouched by those that followed him. In his career in Dallas, he earned 10 regular season receiving records, four punt return records and 12 overall franchise marks, making him one of the greatest players in Dallas Cowboys history.
Hayes won two Olympic Gold medals in the 1964 Tokyo summer games and was instrumental in Dallas’s first Super Bowl win in 1971, making him the only athlete to have ever earned Olympic Gold medals and a Super Bowl ring.
Hayes died at age 59 in September 2002 in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. He will be formally inducted at an enshrinement ceremony in August at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.