Jerry Jones announced this week that there wouldn’t be any RoH inductees again this year. I think that is a big mistake, Mr. Jones, since the new stadium is opening this year and there are several quality players who should be considered for it.
Let’s go over a quick history of the RoH before I give my argument as to who and why other player(s) should be inducted, if not this year, but soon. First created in 1975, it is a ring inside of then-Texas Stadium to honor former players, coaches and club personnel who have made outstanding contributions to the Cowboys organization. Bob Lilly was the first person honored with the retiring of his jersey, No. 74, and having his name and number plastered under the press box. He has also remained the presenter to every inductee since this historic day in November of ‘75.
There are currently 17 members of this elite ring with the last inductions being held at Texas Stadium in 2005 when the “Triplets” of Aikman, Irvin and Smith were deservingly given the honor. So that has almost been five years now since a new honoree has been named. There have been gaps in the process before with only nine players being named over the first three decades of the team’s existence! But I feel that the time has come for a new ceremony and name(s) to be placed in the RoH.
The first person I believe should be seriously considered for it is……..drum roll…….Charlie Waters. Waters played safety for the Cowboys from ‘70-’78 and again in the ‘80-’81 seasons. He is currently third all-time in interceptions, and leads the organization in post-season picks with nine. His playing partner, Cliff Harris, is a RoH member and the two of them were possibly the best Safety tandem to have ever played the game. Waters was a hard-hitter but great in coverage also. He was named to three consecutive Pro Bowls from ‘76-’78 and only a knee injury kept him out of the ‘79 Pro Bowl. He was also named first-team All-Pro twice and did play-by-play with Brad Sham in the booth for a while. Waters has done some coaching since then having served as defensive coordinator in Denver and worked with now-HC Wade Phillips. By all accounts, it seems to me he is just as deserving as his playing partner Harris. From my lips to Jerry Jones’ ear you might say!
My next nominee was a then little-known player who signed a free-agent contract with the Cowboys in 1990 and now is in their top 10 of all-time receivers. He made five straight Pro Bowls and also served as holder on field goals and XP’s. He was a former QB from the University of Wyoming and a naturally-gifted all-around athlete and cowboy. Yes, TE Jay Novacek is a RoH shoe-in in my book. With 339 career receptions and over 3,500 yards, only Jason Witten has recently surpassed him in the record books among Cowboys’ tight ends. A serious back injury he sustained in the ‘95 Super Bowl victory over the hated Steelers forced him to retire fairly early in his career or there’s no telling what his stats would have been. He was Aikman’s go-to receiver, especially on third downs, and made many memorable catches over his six-year career in Dallas.
So as the Cowboys start a new era in their new home, I find it only appropo that there should be some fresh blood added to this unique institution called the “Ring of Honor” at Cowboys Stadium.