Spagnola: These Everson Walls Facts Certainly Demand Hall Of Fame Inclusion

FIRSCO, Texas – This needs to be shouted from the highest mountain.

         Heck, write your congressperson.

         Do what you can to spread the word:

         Everson Walls deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and that decision by the selection committee will take place Feb. 3, in Minneapolis, Minn., the Saturday before Super Bowl LII is played on Sunday.

         The former Cowboys cornerback is among the 15 modern-day finalists, including three other defensive backs: Brian Dawkins, Ty Law and John Lynch, Law the only other true corner of the bunch. The voting process will proceed like this: The field of 15 is pared down to 10 that morning. Then down to five. After that, the committee of 48 votes yes or no on each remaining candidate to gain entrance. A minimum of 39 votes (80 percent) is required for selection into the Hall of Fame. All five can be chosen.

         Now look, I've known "Cubby," his nickname from birth (Dec. 28, 1959), for like 33 years. Many more from these parts have known him for far longer. He's a hometown kid, suburban Richardson, the Hamilton Park neighborhood where his mom ran a restaurant and from where he used to ride his bike as a kid to catch a glimpse of the Cowboys practicing at their old Forest and Abrams facility. Went to Richardson Berkner High, then Grambling State. Signed by the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 1981.

         As an interesting aside, played his ball under the likes of legendary coaches Eddie Robinson, Tom Landry, Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick.

         Now I could, but I won't, make an impassioned plea for those selection committee members to #VoteCubbyYes. To me, he doesn't need that. What he needs is for those members, and you guys alike, to familiarize yourselves with the straight, hard facts of why Everson deserves to become the 18th cornerback enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That's right, 18th. That's all from this modern-day era, a stark slight to corners, and to me, the hardest position to play in the NFL next to quarterback.

         That can be a lonely island out there for those guys.

         So now, let's just deal with the facts.

         Everson Walls is tied with Ed Reed for most times leading the NFL in interceptions, three, more times than the likes of Ronnie Lott, Rod Woodson, Law, Charles Woodson and Deion Sanders.

         Everson Walls and Bill Bradley are the only two players in NFL history to lead the league in interceptions during consecutive seasons, Bradley first in 1971-72 and then Walls in 1981-82.

         Everson Walls still holds the Cowboys record for most seasons leading the team in interceptions with five.

         Everson Walls still holds the Cowboys single-season record and rookie-season record for most interceptions, 11, again more than Cowboys Hall of Fame corners Mel Renfro and Deion Sanders ever had in a single season.

         Everson Walls' 11-interception rookie season in 1981 still ranks as the most by an NFL rookie since Paul Krause had 12 in 1964.

         Everson Walls' 11 interceptions in 1981 represent the most single-season picks ever since, 10 by several players next.

         In fact, consider that Walls led the Cowboys in the 1982 strike-shortened season (nine games) with seven, no telling how many more he might have collected in seven more games.

         Everson Walls' nine interceptions in 1985, the year of *Thurman's Thieves, *is the franchise's most in the past 33 seasons, making a case for Cubby being the second best and most productive corner to only Renfro in the Cowboys' 58-season history.

         Everson Walls' 57 regular-season career interceptions has him tied for 13th all-time in the NFL, and get this, only six of those corners – two of those having spent part of their careers at safety – have more. Five of them already are in the Hall of Fame, and my guess is Charles Woodson will make all six once he becomes eligible.

         Of the top 20 NFL players in career interceptions, 10 are in the Hall of Fame, another tied with Everson Walls, that being the Steelers' Mel Blount, is in the Hall of Fame and two with fewer career interceptions in the top 20, Lem Barney (56) and Aeneas Williams (55) are in Canton with less. Also in the Hall of Fame with fewer than Everson's 57 career interceptions are Darrell Green (54), Deion Sanders (53), Mel Renfro (52) and Kenny Easley (32).

         Would you like me to continue?

         OK, great.

         Everson Walls' 44 interceptions during his nine-year Cowboys career (1981-1989) that included two strike-shortened seasons is second to Renfro's 52 during a 14-year career.

         Everson Walls has one Super Bowl ring, that coming with the New York Giants in 1990 when he recorded six more interceptions, along with being the leader in the secondary and nabbing one INT in three playoff games that season. He has a career total of four in 10 playoff games, having played in three NFC title games.

         Walls has four Pro Bowl selections to his credit, and five various first-team All-Pro mentions.

         Plus, there still is more to be remembered.

Everson Walls certainly is remembered for his part in one of the most iconic plays in NFL history, "The Catch," unfortunately being the cornerback running under Dwight Clark going up high for the touchdown reception to clinch the 1981 NFC title for San Francisco over the Cowboys.

         And then there is this, too: Everson Walls remembered for one of the most charitable of charitable donations ever made, giving one of his kidneys to Ron Springs, his former Cowboys teammate and best friend who had been long-suffering with diabetes, to help extend his life. This supreme act of kindness for someone who was not a relative and the following book, A Gift For Ron, brought nation-wide attention to organ donations.

         So there, by comparison Cubby has Hall of Fame-worthy numbers and honors. He certainly has Hall of Fame-worthy moments that must be preserved in history, both on and off the field.

         That is the duty of the Hall of Fame, and as I've said many a time pertaining to the likes of Bob Hayes and Charles Haley, guys who meant far more to the game of football than just mere numbers, we must document these stories for those after we're long gone. What better place to do so than in the halls of Canton, Ohio.

         Everson Walls checks the necessary boxes for inclusion, and then some.

Pssst, pass the word. 

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