Chuck Howley

Class of 2023

All-NFL selections




Pro Bowls




Super Bowl MVP


The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2023 Enshrinement is Aug. 5. 

Enshrinement Speech

Chuck Howley is the only player from a losing team to be named MVP of the Super Bowl.

Career Highlights

Chuck Howley retired from professional football after 15 games over two seasons (1958-59) with the Chicago Bears following a knee injury that also cost him the entire 1960 season. 

Still passionate about the game, Howley decided to test his knee and play in an alumni game at his alma mater, West Virginia University, in 1961. The positive result ignited a spark to give the game one more try at the highest level. 

“I went back (to pro football) because I decided there were better things to do than run a gas station,” Howley told a reporter years later. 

Neither he nor the Dallas Cowboys, who obtained his rights from the Bears for two future draft picks, regretted the decision. 

Fully healed, Howley became a model of durability in his second round in the NFL. He missed only four regular-season contests from 1961 to 1972, anchoring an outside linebacker position for 176 games, a figure that included 11 playoff starts from 1966-1971 as the Cowboys reached two Super Bowls and the first two NFL Championship Games. 

In Super Bowl V, Howley intercepted two passes and forced a fumble in the 16-13 loss to the Baltimore Colts. He was selected as the game’s Most Valuable Player and remains the only player from the losing team to receive that award. 

The next season, the Cowboys won the Super Bowl with a 24-3 victory over Miami. Howley intercepted another pass and recovered a fumble as the “Doomsday Defense” held the Dolphins to 185 total yards. 

Howley played one game in 1973, but a knee injury he sustained late in the 1972 season on a low block effectively ended his career. 

In 180 career regular-season games, Howley intercepted 25 passes, registered 26 sacks (according to later compilation) and recovered 18 fumbles, which he returned for 191 yards – a total that still ranks seventh on the NFL’s all-time list. 

Howley was named first-team All-Pro in five consecutive seasons (1966-70) and was selected to six consecutive Pro Bowls (1966-71). He was elected to the Cowboys Ring of Honor in 1977.

Year Team G No. Yds Avg TD
1958 Chicago Bears 12 1 4 4.0 0
1959 Chicago Bears 3 0 0 0.0 0
1961 Dallas Cowboys 13 1 5 5.0 0
1962 Dallas Cowboys 14 2 33 16.5 0
1963 Dallas Cowboys 14 2 3 0.0 0
1964 Dallas Cowboys 12 2 27 13.5 0
1965 Dallas Cowboys 14 0 0 0.0 0
1966 Dallas Cowboys 14 0 0 0.0 1
1967 Dallas Cowboys 14 1 28 28.0 1
1968 Dallas Cowboys 14 6 115 19.2 0
1969 Dallas Cowboys 14 2 37 18.5 0
1970 Dallas Cowboys 14 2 18 9.0 0
1971 Dallas Cowboys 14 5 122 24.4 0
1972 Dallas Cowboys 13 1 7 7.0 0
1973 Dallas Cowboys 1 0 0 0.0 0
Career total   180 25 399 16.0 2
Additional career statistics: Punt returns: 2-32; punting: 1-37; fumble reovery for TD: 1.

1966 NFL – Green Bay Packers 34, Dallas Cowboys 27
  • Howley started at left outside linebacker. He recorded five solo tackles. 
1967 NFL – Green Bay Packers 21, Dallas Cowboys 17
  • Howley started at left outside linebacker. He recorded one solo tackle, two assisted tackles and one pass defensed.
1970 NFC – Dallas Cowboys 17, San Francisco 49ers 10
  • Howley started at right outside linebacker. Gamebook not available for detailed stats. 

1971 NFC – Dallas Cowboys 14, San Francisco 49ers 3
  • Howley started at right outside linebacker. He recorded three solo tackles, one assisted tackle and two passes defensed. 

1972 NFC – Washington Redskins 26, Dallas Cowboys 3
  • Howley did not play. 

1973 NFC – Minnesota Vikings 27, Dallas Cowboys 10
  • Howley did not play. 


Super Bowl V – Baltimore Colts 16, Dallas Cowboys 13
  • Howley started at right outside linebacker. He recorded three solo tackles, one assisted tackle and two interceptions returned for 22 yards. He was named MVP of Super Bowl V. 

Super Bowl VI – Dallas Cowboys 24, Miami Dolphins 3
  • Howley started at right outside linebacker. He recorded two solo tackles, one fumble recovery, one pass defensed and one interception returned for 41 yards. 

All-Pro: 1969 (HOF, NEA)

All-Pro Second Team: 1968 (PFWA) • 1969 (PFWA)

All-NFL: 1966 (AP, UPI, NEA) • 1967 (AP) • 1968 (AP, NEA, PW) • 1969 (AP, UPI, NEA, PW, NY) • 1970 (AP, PFWA, PW)

All-NFL Second Team: 1966 (NY) • 1967 (UPI, NEA, NY) • 1968 (UPI, NY) • 
1970 (NEA) • 1971 (PFWA)

All-Eastern Conference: 1963 (SN) • 1967 (SN) • 1968 (SN) • 1969 (SN)

All-NFC: 1970 (AP, UPI, SN, PW) 

All-NFC Second Team: 1971 (UPI) 


(6) – 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1972 

IN THE NFL RECORD BOOK (at time of his retirement following 1973 season)
  • [2nd] Longest Fumble Return – 97td (vs. Atlanta Falcons, Oct. 2, 1966)
Super Bowl records 
  • [1st] Most Interceptions, Career – 3 (2 games) 
  • [Tied for 1st] Most Interceptions, Game – 2 (Super Bowl V vs. Baltimore Colts)

Dallas Cowboys records held by Howley
(Records through the 1973 season, Howley’s final season with Dallas)
  • [1st] Most Opponents’ Fumble Recovered, Career – 16 (1961-1973) 
  • [1st] Longest Fumble Return – 97td (vs. Atlanta Falcons, Oct. 2, 1966) 
  • [Tied for 3rd] Most Interceptions, Career – 24 (1961-1973) 
Postseason records 
  • [1st] Longest Fumble Return – 44td (at Cleveland Browns, Dec. 21, 1968) 
  • [Tied for 1st] Most Opponents’ Fumble Returned for Touchdown, Career – 1 (1961-1973) 


Team statistical championships

Interception title: 1968

Year Team W L T Divison Finish
1958 Chicago Bears 8 4 0 (2nd)
1959 Chicago Bears 8 4 0 (2nd)
1960 Missed season         
1961 Dallas Cowboys 4 9 1 (6th)
1962 Dallas Cowboys 5 8 1 (5th)
1963 Dallas Cowboys 4 10 0 (5th)
1964 Dallas Cowboys 5 8 1 (5th)
1965 Dallas Cowboys 7 7 0 (2nd)
1966 Dallas Cowboys 10 3 1 (1st)
1967 Dallas Cowboys 9 5 0 (1st)
1968 Dallas Cowboys 12 2 0 (1st)
1969 Dallas Cowboys 11 2 1 (1st)
1970 Dallas Cowboys 10 4 0 (1st)
1971 Dallas Cowboys 11 3 0 (1st)
1972 Dallas Cowboys 10 4 0 (2nd)
1973 Dallas Cowboys 10 4 0 (1st)

* Qualified for postseason in bold

Full name: Charles Louis Howley

Birthdate: June 28, 1936

Birthplace: Wheeling, West Virginia

High school: Warwood (Wheeling, West Virginia)

Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame: Jan. 17, 2023

Other members of the Class of 2023: Rondé Barber, Don Coryell, Joe Klecko, Darrelle Revis, Ken Riley, Joe Thomas, Zach Thomas, DeMarcus Ware.

Pro career: 15 seasons, 180 games.

Drafted: First round (7th overall) in 1958 by Chicago Bears

Uniform number: 54

SCOTT HOWLEY: I'm honored to represent our father today on such a momentous day. To the football world, Chuck Howley was an icon, a legend, and a symbol of excellence. 

To my sister Robin and I, he was simply dad, the man who instilled in us the values that have shaped our lives. His legacy extends far beyond the records he set or the awards he earned. It lies in the hearts of all who have had the privilege of knowing him as a player, a father, or a friend. We thank God for granting him the skills that have made this moment possible. 

We would also like to thank the following individuals and organizations that have supported dad throughout his career. To our grandparents, James and Mary Howley, who instilled in him the virtues that made him the person he is today. To our mom, Nancy, dad's staunchest supporter and biggest cheerleader throughout their now 65 years of marriage. She is the rock we all lean on.  


To Warwood High School coach, Jim Foti and West Virginia University for providing dad with an environment to hone his skills. While he was at West Virginia University, dad was the only athlete in school history to letter in five varsity sports, and I think that record still holds today. 
His greatest accomplishments were on the gridiron though where he excelled as a guard and a center for Coach Art "Pappy" Lewis. 

To the Chicago Bears who selected dad in the first round of the 1958 draft giving him the opportunity to begin his NFL journey. To Clint Murchison, Jr., Gil Brandt, Tex Schramm, Coach Tom Landry and the Dallas Cowboys, our heartfelt thanks for acquiring dad from the Bears in 1961.  

At the time he believed his football career was over, but their belief in his potential allowed him to make a remarkable comeback. Their willingness to take a chance on him enabled dad to reach new heights and fully realize his talent. In fact, Coach Landry once remarked, I don't know that I've seen anybody better at linebacker than Howley.  

And to Jerry Jones and the entire Jones Family for continuing dad's legacy at the Star in Frisco and the AT&T Stadium. 

To all the members of the selection committee, and notably John McClain, who eloquently presented dad to the senior player committee. To his Hall of Fame classmates who have warmly, warmly welcomed us, our family, into this amazing fellowship. I know dad is honored to be a part of this 2023 class. 

To the Hall of Fame staff for their generous hospitality and support. 

And to Mr. Bob Lilly for being dad's presenter today. 

And to the Hall of Famers for believing that dad deserved to be included and welcoming him onto this immortal team. 

Our family is truly honored to have this opportunity to represent our dad as he takes his rightful place among the immortals of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  

Since dad can't be here today, and I hope he's watching on television, and with that in mind, I have a special request for all of you out there. I would like to ask that we all give dad a shoutout. On the count of three we're going to yell, hello, Chuck. Okay, here goes. 

One, two, three, hello, Chuck.  

Thank you very much.