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Professional football career::Bob Hayes

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Professional football career

Early years

The Dallas Cowboys drafted Hayes in the seventh round of the 1964 NFL Draft with a future draft pick, which allowed the team to draft him before his college eligibility was over, taking a chance that the Olympic sprinter with unrefined football skills could excel as a wide receiver.<ref>Cowboys and Giants Sign 2 Speedsters. Gettysburg Times. December 9, 1964</ref> He was also drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 14th round of the 1964 AFL Draft, with a future selection. The bet paid off, due to his amazing feats in cleats. Hayes has been credited by many with forcing the NFL to develop a zone defense and the bump and run to attempt to contain him.<ref name="profootballhof.com">Enshrinement » Class of 2009 announced. Profootballhof.com. Retrieved on May 30, 2015.</ref>

Hayes' first two seasons were most successful, during which he led the NFL both times in receiving touchdowns with 12 and 13 touchdowns, respectively.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> In 1966 Hayes caught six passes for 195 yards against the New York Giants at the Cotton Bowl. Later, in the Dallas Cowboys-Washington Redskins match-up, Hayes caught nine passes for 246 yards (a franchise record until Miles Austin broke it with a 250-yard performance on October 11, 2009, against the Kansas City Chiefs). Hayes' speed forced other teams to go to a zone since no single player could keep up with him. Spreading the defense out in hopes of containing Hayes allowed the Cowboys' talented running game to flourish, rushers Don Perkins, Calvin Hill, Walt Garrison and Duane Thomas taking advantage of the diminished coverage of the line of scrimmage. Hayes is also infamous for two events, both involving the NFL championship games in 1966 and 1967, both against the Packers. In the 1966 game, on the last meaningful play of the game, Hayes missed an assignment of blocking linebacker Dave Robinson, which resulted in Don Meredith nearly being sacked by Robinson and as a result throwing a desperation pass into the end zone that was intercepted by Tom Brown. In the 1967 NFL championship, the "Ice Bowl" played on New Year's Eve, 1967, Hayes was known to give away the plays as pass or run because on running plays he kept his hands inside his pants to keep them warm and the Green Bay defense knew they didn't need to cover him.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }}

Multiple offensive threat

In addition to receiving, Hayes returned punts for the Cowboys and was the NFL's leading punt returner in 1968 with a 20.8 yards per return average and two touchdowns, including a 90 yarder against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was named to the Pro Bowl three times and First-team All-Pro twice and Second-team All-Pro twice. He helped Dallas win five Eastern Conference titles, two NFC titles, played in two Super Bowls, and was instrumental in Dallas' first ever Super Bowl victory in 1972, making Hayes the only person to win both an Olympic gold medal and a Super Bowl ring. Later in his career, as defenses improved playing zone and the bump and run was refined, Hayes' value as an erstwhile decoy rather than a deep threat diminished. Hayes played one season for the San Francisco 49ers before retiring. Also, by then, there were many players faster than Hayes, such as the Raiders' speedster Cliff Branch.

Cowboy records

Hayes was the second player (after Franklin Clarke) in the history of the Dallas Cowboys franchise to surpass 1,000 yards (ground or air) in a single season, and he did that in his rookie year by finishing with 1,003 yards. Also during his rookie year, he led the team with 46 receptions and set franchise records for total touchdowns (13) and total receiving touchdowns (12). He finished his 11-year career with 371 receptions for 7,414 yards and 71 touchdowns, giving him an impressive 20 yards per catch average (both career touchdowns and yards per catch average remain franchise records.) He also rushed for 68 yards, gained 581 yards on 23 kickoff returns, and returned 104 punts for 1,158 yards and three touchdowns.

In 1965 he also started a streak (19651966) of seven consecutive games with at least a touchdown catch, which still stands as a Cowboys record shared with Franklin Clarke (19611962), Terrell Owens (2007) and Dez Bryant (2012).

His 7,295 receiving yards are the fourth-most in Dallas Cowboys history. To this day, Hayes holds ten regular-season receiving records, four punt return records and twenty-two overall franchise marks, making him one of the greatest receivers to ever play for the Cowboys.


Bob Hayes sections
Intro  High school and college  Olympics  Professional football career  Death  Pro Football Hall of Fame  References  Further reading  External links  

Professional football career
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