Former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith salutes the crowd as he is inducted into the team's ring of fame during halftime ceremonies as Cowboys play against the Washington Redskins in a Monday Night Football game September 19, 2005 in Irving, Texas. The Skins defeated the Cowboys 14 - 13. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Among the 25 candidates named recently as Hall of Fame semi-finalists, two were former Cowboys integral in building the early-nineties dynasty that yielded three Super Bowl victories in a span of four years.
Smith broke Walter Payton's rushing record in 2002, his last season as a Cowboys, before moving onto Arizona, and a couple of forgettable years in the desert. Over 15 seasons, Smith's numbers make a convincing argument: 18, 355 yards rushing (first all-time); 4,409 attempts (first all-time); 11 1,000-yard seasons (first all-time); 78 100-yard games (first all-time); et cetera.
Smith is joined by his former teammate (and, as a 49er, former tormentor) Charles Haley as a semi-finalist.
Haley was arguably the most intimidating defensive player of his era, a title helped by the fact that he was, by many accounts, downright crazy. He is the only man in professional football history to own five Super Bowl rings (three with Dallas, two with San Francisco), and very likely the only to ever tape up his manhood and declare himself the "last naked warrior" in an NFL locker room.
Questionable sanity aside, many see him as the last piece in the construction of the dynasty.
The 25 semi-finalists will be trimmed to 15 on January 7, with final voting taking place on February 6, the eve of the Super Bowl.
There are currently ten Dallas Cowboys in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, four of which--Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Rayfield Wright, Bob Hayes--have been voted in in the past three years.