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Remembering Giants killer ‘Bullet’ Bob Hayes

2 min read
Remembering Giants killer ‘Bullet’ Bob Hayes


Many players made their Hall of Fame bones off their performances against the New York Giants during the 1960s and ’70s. One of the brightest and most exciting players to do that was “Bullet” Bob Hayes, the Olympic sprinter-turned-wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys.

Hayes was the first man ever to run the 100 meters in under 10 seconds and was “pre-drafted” by the Cowboys’ cutting-edge brain trust — Tex Schramm, Gil Brandt and Tom Landry — in 1965. Hayes was billed as the “World’s Fastest Human.”

On Sept. 19 that year, Hayes, wearing No. 22 but playing wide receiver, made his NFL debut at the Cotton Bowl against the Giants. Many were curious how the two-time Olympic gold medal winner was going to fare in the violent world of the NFL.

It didn’t take long to find out.

Hayes would only touch the football three times in the game. One was a fair catch on a punt return, another was a 36-yard reception and the third was a 45-yard reception for a touchdown. The legend was born.

From Ralph Wiley of ESPN:

I’ve know other fast football players. We all have. Clifford Branch. Deion. Bo. Rocket. All of them around 4.2; if they catch a flyer at the start, even faster. Rock once ran a 4.18 40. So did Deion. So did Bo. It’s barely human to run that fast — that’s right on the edge of human consciousness. That’s a blur. That’s the Right Stuff.

Hayes was once clocked at 5.28 in the 60-yard dash. We don’t have any record of 40 times for Bob Hayes. But it’s said he once ran a 60-yard dash, on a cinder track, in 5.28 seconds. You heard. Sure, it was hand-timed. Sure, there’s no record. But this much is certain. Bob Hayes won the 1964 Olympic gold medal in the 100 meters in Tokyo in 1964 in 10.05; and he won by four full meters. Nobody wins an Olympic 100-meter final by that margin unless they are Jesse Owens in Berlin, 1936. Bullet Bob wasn’t even pressed. He downshifted in the last 10 meters of that race. Pulled up. Eased off. Saved a little. If pressed, he could’ve gone faster. Bullet Bob was as fast as he had to be.

In his 17 games against the Giants, Hayes scored 20 total touchdowns and caught 61 passes for 1,394 yards — all career highs versus a single opponent. He also racked up 134 yards on four kickoff returns and 134 yards and a touchdown on 10 punt returns.

Hayes was the first and only player to win both an Olympic gold medal and a Super Bowl ring.

 

Friday Flashback: Remembering Giants killer 'Bullet' Bob Hayes

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