Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve Its History, Promote Its Values & Celebrate Excellence Everywhere
"Catching a game-winning touchdown is more of a thrill than winning gold medals. You play football for your team, not for yourself.”
(Florida A&M)...5'11'', 185...
Selected as a future pick by Cowboys, seventh round, 1964 NFL Draft. . .Also drafted as future choice by Denver (AFL). . .Won a pair of gold medals in the 1964 Olympic Games earning him the title “World’s Fastest Human”. . .Four times was named first- or second-team All-NFL. . .. Three times led the Cowboys in receptions. . . Career stats include 7,414 receiving yards and 71 TDs. . .Born December 20, 1942 in Jacksonville, Florida. . .Died September 18, 2002, at age of 59.
When Bob Hayes arrived on the pro football scene in 1965, he had already earned athletic stardom having won a pair of gold medals in the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. His medal-winning performance in the 100 meters competition earned him the title "World's Fastest Human." But for the Dallas Cowboys, the team that drafted him in the seventh round of the 1964 NFL Draft, the question lingered, "could a track man succeed in a contact sport like pro football?" The answer came quickly as the rookie's 46 receptions for 1,003 yards led all Cowboys receivers.
Hayes demonstrated time and again that he possessed tremendous football skills and instincts that helped him to develop into a terrific NFL wide receiver. Still, his world class speed was a major factor in his and the Cowboys offensive successes. "Bullet Bob" terrorized defensive backs and demanded the kind of deep double coverage rarely seen in the NFL at that time. It is often said that the bump and run defense was developed in an attempt to slow down the former Florida A&M running back.
"I know one thing, and I played with him," commented Hall of Fame tight end Mike Ditka, "he changed the game. He made defenses and defensive coordinators work hard to figure out what you had to do to stop him."
Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach knew firsthand the value of the speedy receiver. "He can explode and make things happen," he offered. "As long as Bobby is in the lineup the other team has to make adjustments it doesn't normally make."
St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame safety Larry Wilson played against Hayes on a number of occasions. He observed that the difference between Hayes and other track men turned football players was that he had the ability to use his speed "in a football sense," rather than just trying to run fast as he could. "He had several speeds, all of them fast," explained Wilson. "But defensive backs had to figure out which one he was using and which one he was going to use."
Four times Hayes was named first- or second-team All-NFL. Three times he led the Cowboys in receptions, including back-to-back titles in 1965-66 when he caught a total of 110 passes for more than 2,200 yards and 25 touchdowns. For his 11-year career, Hayes accumulated 7,414 yards and 71 touchdowns. His 71 career touchdown receptions remain a Cowboys' club record.
1966 NFL - Green Bay Packers 34, Dallas Cowboys 27
Hayes started at left end. He had one reception for one yard.
1967 NFL - Green Bay Packers 21, Dallas Cowboys 17
Hayes started at left end. He had three receptions for 16 yards.
1970 NFC - Dallas Cowboys 17, San Francisco 49ers 10
Hayes started at wide receiver. He had no receptions in the game.
1971 NFC - Dallas Cowboys 14, San Francisco 49ers 3
Hayes started at wide receiver. He had two receptions for 22 yards, returned one punt for 3 yards and two fair catches.
1972 NFC - Washington Redskins 26, Dallas Cowboys 3
Hayes did not start but played in the game.
1973 NFC - Minnesota Vikings 27, Dallas Cowboys 10
Hayes started at wide receiver. He had two receptions for 25 yards.
Super Bowl V - Baltimore Colts 16, Dallas Cowboys 13
Hayes started at wide receiver. He had one reception for 41 yards and three punt returns for nine yards.
Super Bowl VI - Dallas Cowboys 24, Miami Dolphins 3
Hayes started at wide receiver. He had two receptions for 23 yards, one punt return for minus one yard, and one fair catch.
All-NFL: 1966 (AP, UPI, NEA, PFWA, NY), 1967 (NY), 1968 (AP, NY)
All-NFL Second Team: 1965 (UPI), 1967 (AP, UPI, NEA), 1968 (UPI)
All-Eastern Conference: 1965 (SN) * 1966 (SN) * 1967 (SN) * 1968 (SN)
(3) - 1966, 1967, 1968
(at time of his retirement following 1975 season)
* [Tied for 3rd] Most Touchdowns, Rookie Season - 13
Cowboys' records held by Hayes
(Records through the 1974 season, Hayes' final season with Dallas)
* [1st] Most Receptions, Career - 365
* [1st] Most Yards Receiving, Career - 7,295
* [1st Most Yards Receiving, Season - 1,232 (1966)
* [1st] Most Points Scored, Career - 456
* [1st] Highest Average Per Reception, Season - 26.1 (1970)
* [1st] Most Punt Return Yards, Career - 1,158
* [1st] Highest Punt Return Average, Career - 11.1
* [1st] Longest Pass Reception - 95 (from Meredith, vs. Washington, Nov. 13, 1966)
* [1st] Most Yards Receiving, Game - 246 (vs. Washington, Nov. 13, 1966)
* [1st] Most TD Receptions, Game - 4 (vs. Houston, Dec. 20, 1970)
* [Tied for 1st] Most Points Scored, Game - 24 (vs. Houston, Dec. 20, 1970)
* [Tied for 1st] Most Touchdowns Scored, Game - 4 (vs. Houston, Dec. 20, 1970)
* [Tied for 1st] Most Consecutive Game with Touchdown Reception - 7
* [2nd] Longest Pass Reception - 89 (from Morton, vs. Kansas City, Oct. 25, 1970)
* [2nd] Longest Punt Return - 90 (vs. Pittsburgh, Dec. 8, 1968)
* [2nd] Most Punt Return Yards, Game - 122 (vs. Pittsburgh, Dec. 8, 1968)
* [Tied for 3rd] Longest Punt Return - 69 (vs. St. Louis Cardinals, Nov. 23, 1967)
* [1st] Longest Pass Reception - 86 (from Meredith, vs. Cleveland, Dec. 24, 1967)
* [1st] Longest Punt Return - 68 (vs. Cleveland, Dec. 24, 1967)
* [1st] Most Punt Return Yards, Game - 141 (vs. Cleveland, Dec. 24, 1967)
NFL Statistical Championships
Punt Return Titles: 1968
NFC Statistical Championships
Punt Return Titles: 1968
Team Statistical Championships
Receiving Titles: 1965, 1966, 1970
Scoring Titles: 1967*
Punt Return Titles: 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970
Full Name: Robert Lee Hayes
Birthdate: December 20, 1942
Birthplace: Jacksonville, Florida
Died: September 18, 2002
High School: Matthew W. Gilbert (Jacksonville, FL)
Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame: January 31, 2009
Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame: August 8, 2009
Presenter: Bob Hayes, Jr. (son); Represented posthumously by Roger Staubach, Hall of Fame teammate
Other Members of Class of 2009: Randall McDaniel, Bruce Smith, Derrick Thomas, Ralph Wilson, Jr., Rod Woodson
Pro Career: 11 seasons, 132 games
Drafted: 7th round (88th player overall) as future choice in 1964 draft by Dallas Cowboys; Also selected in 14th round as future choice (105th player overall) by Denver Broncos (AFL)
Uniform Number: 22
Bob Hayes Enshrinement Speech 2009
Presenter: Bob Hayes Jr.
When I'm watching my dad on film, it's just mind-blowing. Because somebody that fast, that's not human. He got the name Bullet Bob because of his speed, because he was fast like a bullet. He was so fast they didn't have an answer for him. He revolutionized the game of football because of his world-class speed as a sprinter. The time was right. He was the world's fastest human.
In his last days he used to talk about the Hall of Fame. It hurts because he should have been here to witness this special occasion. But, unfortunately, he didn't make it to see it. I know wherever he is, he's smiling down. He's happy. He knows what's going on. And he'll be with us in our spirits, in our hearts and our minds.
For us he's always been a Hall of Famer. I knew one day it was going to happen. He was always going to be a big joker. So maybe he would say it's about time, y’all. I've been waiting 30-something years.
Many great track names have sought football fame. But Bob Hayes is a football player who just happens to be the world's fastest living human.
As a kid growing up, I would get compliments every day about him. They always wanted to know, can you get him to come to the school and speak. Or can we get his autograph? Or can we come to your house and meet him? Or can we get a picture? They had his jerseys. It was just a fun atmosphere to be around. A lot of love, and a lot of caring. He was a good person. He was a humble person. He had a big heart. We had a lot of joyful moments together. I loved that man so much. He was always a special part of my life and still is today.
I'm very happy right now, because this is something he always dreamed about, and always talked about and always wanted to be a part of. But he never got his chance to. So, he always felt like he was an outcast. I could tell in his eyes that he had pain in his heart.
I know for a fact that pain is gone, because I tell my family all the time that even though he passed away before he got inducted in, he's been restless. He might be in that resting place. But he's not resting. He's restless. Because he knows that last trip is the Hall of Fame, being inducted in. He's going to be resting in peace. We had left a space for him for whenever he gets inducted into the Hall of Fame. Hall of Fame '09 was something we made room for a while back. Because we knew one day, he was going to get in.
On behalf of the Hayes family, I'm very honored to accept the induction of my father, Bob Hayes, into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Ladies and gentlemen, to present and enshrine Bob Hayes into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, please welcome Roger Staubach.
On behalf of the Bob Hayes family. In fact, the family's here. The Bob Hayes family is all over here. And Bob, Jr. could you stand up? They're all from Buffalo. Thought you might get a bigger applause, you know. But Bob is from Jacksonville. Of course, lot of families coming up from Jacksonville and all over. It's been fun for me to have the honor that was bestowed on me to just speak just a few words on behalf of Bob, his family, on behalf of the Dallas Cowboys, his teammates and friends. It seems like yesterday, but I was an Ensign in the Navy. And I played in a game that was up in Chicago. It was called the college All-Star Game. We had a pretty darn good team. We were playing the Cleveland Browns. And I was -- it was 1965. And Bob and I were both drafted as futures in 1964. And I guess Gil Brandt had an idea that we could both play some day. And I had a little bit of time left. And Bob was just -- a football player, but he was noted for his exploits on the track and also his gold medal.
So, we were in the college All-Star Game together. That was the first time I met him. And we had, as I mentioned, a good team. We had Gale Sayers, Dick Butkus, Jack Snow. And we really had a good team. We had these great receivers and we also had Bob Hayes. He had another speed. When you're out there throwing to him, at first, I thought I was overthrowing him, and ended up underthrowing him. So, you had to get rid of the ball quicker. Make sure you understood when Bob Hayes was running a route, that you better get rid of the ball in a quick manner.
So, he joins the Dallas Cowboys. And he had a chance to follow. It was really Don Meredeth then and Bob Hayes that lit up the NFL from 1965 to 1969. I got to see part of it on TV. To see film that Gil Brandt used to send me when I was in Vietnam, and watch the film when I was in, with a lot of military guys. So, following Bob's career for those four years was phenomenal. He and Don Meredith really hit it up. And then Don retired in ‘69, I joined the Dallas Cowboys, and Craig Morton and I had a chance for six years to have some big games with Bob Hayes.
Remember in '71 we were at Yankee Stadium, and Bob caught a pass to mid field that looked like he had a jet stream behind him. Ran into the end zone, and against the Rams on Thanksgiving Day we were behind 21-14. We tied the game, and Bob caught a long touchdown pass. So, he made big plays after big plays. His 71 touchdowns was every time he had a touchdown for every five catches. In 1971 he had over 26 yards on an average per reception in his career. He made quality plays, he made big plays, and he was over 20 yards per reception in the National Football League, which is right there, I think, maybe tied with Jerry Rice.
So, Bob made it happen on the football field. But when he joined the team, one thing Coach Landry was as good as it gets. He was a great human being. And you know, he was sometimes he could let you know how he felt. Other times he really, you know, trying to figure it out sometimes. But Bob, he loved Bob Hayes. And Bob joined the team in 1965. I want to read the quote. Because Coach Landry was asked, and I have to read it because coach had this -- his language was pretty good. He said -- they were talking about drafting Bob, and what do you expect of him? And he had just joined the team. But it was after the opening game. He said heck no, we didn't know what we were getting. When we got Hayes, Coach Landry said, after the '65 opener, after Don Meredith hit Bob on about a three-yard pass, and he went 40 yards for a touchdown. Coach Landry said well, we drafted him. He had 9.3 speed. Having no idea about his football moves. But, gosh, he'll be a great one before he's done.
And Coach Landry was right. You know, Larry Wilson who had the chance to play against Bob really summed it up and said, you know, that Bob really had football sense. Larry said he had speed. He had all different kinds of speed, and all the speeds were fast. But he had a football sense. And playing with him, you just you knew that he could make plays and he understood routes, and he had that speed. It was phenomenal.
He also was loved by his teammates. He was kind of a cut-up guy. He liked to actually put nicknames on players and sweet lips was Cornell Green’s nickname. And he just had a name for everybody. And the thing about the locker room, Bob Hayes was always had a smile in the locker room. He really cared about his teammates. As a great athlete and the deserving honor he has to be in the Hall of Fame, it is still one of the things you take with you in life, the people you work with that Bob Hayes truly gave a darn about someone other than himself. And he was loved by his teammates.
I also want to mention Willie Brown, said it earlier today, too. I was talking to him and he said, you know, we kind of developed the bump and run even more because of Bob Hayes. We had to hit him. We couldn't just let him get off the line of scrimmage. In today's game you can't hit receivers down the field past five yards. Back then you could knock the receiver all over the place until the ball was in the air.
So, Bob was lightning fast. So, you had to double cover him. If a defensive back played too far off of him, he could run a quick out route. So, you either had to zip a linebacker out or you had to roll the cornerback and put the safety back. You had to do something, or you just had to hit him. You tried to get a piece of him when he got past the line of scrimmage.
So, he was impactful. And you look at the league, and back then it was a lot of -- you ran more because the passing game was a little bit more difficult because of the ability to hit receivers. But Bob really had an impact on the kind of coverage they use in the National Football League. And that's what the Hall of Fame is about, is having an impact. And a great player like Bob Hayes truly had an impact on the NFL, and he had had a tremendous impact on the Dallas Cowboys.
Bob worked with me in the '80s, and Bob faced some challenges. And everyone was there to help him through the challenges, because he was there when you needed Bob Hayes. He was almost generous to a fault. But Bob Hayes was really, really a decent, caring human being that had extraordinary skills. And old speedo was one humble son of a gun. I don't know if he ever showed me his gold medals from the Olympics. He just was a big guy. A great athlete. Faced some challenges. Some a little bit more than most of us go through. And his family was always there for him. He was always there for them. So, it's a real privilege. It's a real privilege for me to say thank you, Canton. Thank you, NFL. Thank you to the Pro Football Hall of Fame for making sure that this great athlete that had an impact on the NFL is in the Hall of Fame.
And I saw him at the ring of honor in Dallas. He was smiling. He's got a beautiful, wonderful smile. And I know he's smiling now. And I hope he's next to -- near Coach Landry, because I know if he's there, he's in good shape. I guess the only thing we miss as far as family, friends, is he's not here to show you this big smile.
But we thank you for the opportunity to allow Bob Hayes to be in a great fraternity. One that I'm awfully proud of, and that is the Pro Football Hall of Fame, thank you very much.