Signed photo of Howley with the Cowboys
|Born:||June 28, 1936|
Wheeling, West Virginia
|Height:||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight:||228 lb (103 kg)|
|High school:||Warwood High School|
(Wheeling, West Virginia)
|NFL Draft:||1958 / Round: 1 / Pick: 7|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Charles Louis Howley (born June 28, 1936) is a former American football linebacker who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 15 seasons, primarily with the Dallas Cowboys. Howley was a member of the Chicago Bears in his first two seasons and spent the remainder of his career with the Cowboys. He was named the MVP of Super Bowl V, and is the only player on a losing team to receive the award. He was also the first non-quarterback to receive the award.
Born and raised in Wheeling, West Virginia, Howley attended Warwood High School and graduated in 1954. He lettered in football, High school basketball, and baseball. In football, he was first team all-state and all-OVAC as a senior. As a teenager he competed in gymnastics.
He played college football at West Virginia University in Morgantown, where he was a three-time All-Southern Conference selection and the conference player of the year in 1957. At WVU Howley joined the Mu Mu chapter of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.
Howley played guard and center during his three years at varsity, in which the Mountaineers compiled a 21-8-1 record, including a 21-7 victory over Penn State, West Virginia's last until 1984. He played in the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl, which helped him get noticed by the Chicago Bears. He also was in the College All-Star Game in August 1958, a 35-19 win over the defending champion Detroit Lions.
Howley was inducted into the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, the West Virginia University Athletics Hall of Fame, the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Hall of Fame and the West Virginia University Academy of Distinguished Alumni.
Howley was selected seventh overall in the 1958 NFL draft by the Chicago Bears, playing for two seasons before retiring after what appeared to be a career-ending knee injury he sustained in August 1959, at training camp in Rensselaer, Indiana. He played just three games late in that season and was inactive in 1960.
When he decided to make a comeback in 1961 following a West Virginia alumni game, the Bears traded his rights to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for second (#20-Steve Barnett) and ninth (#118-Monte Day) round draft choices in the 1963 NFL draft.
Although Howley started in 1961 and 1962 as a strongside linebacker, in 1963 he switched to weakside linebacker. At the conclusion of the 1963 season, Howley was named to The Sporting News All-East NFL team for the first time. Howley holds the record for the second-most interceptions by a linebacker in a season with six, which he accomplished in 1968.
Howley played with the Cowboys for 165 games over thirteen seasons, in two NFL championship games and two Super Bowls. He was also named most valuable player of Super Bowl V, after intercepting two passes and forcing a fumble in the Cowboys' 16-13 loss to the Colts, making him the first defensive player and non-quarterback to receive the honor. To date, he is also the only player from the losing team to win the award.
During his career, Howley intercepted 25 passes, returning them for 399 yards and two touchdowns. He finished with more than 100 yards in interception returns for both the 1968 and 1971 seasons. He also recovered 18 fumbles, returning them for 191 yards and one touchdown. He is second in Cowboys' history with his 17 fumbles recovered. His 97-yard return of a fumble during a game against the Atlanta Falcons on October 2, 1966, is still the second longest in Cowboys history. He also had a large number of tackles and quarterback sacks, but these statistics were not compiled until after Howley's career ended so his unofficial sack total is 26.5 according to the Dallas Cowboys with a career-high of 5.5 sacks in 1965. Howley was named first-team All-Pro five times in his career, was a six-time Pro Bowler and was named to the All-Eastern Conference team in 1963.
Howley suffered a left knee injury from a crackback block by Charley Taylor in the win over rival Redskins late in the 1972 regular season. He missed the playoffs and retired in June. In 1973, he made a brief return to the team and appeared in one game, before retiring for good. His thirteen seasons for the Cowboys ties him for the second longest tenure in franchise history. In 1977, Howley was inducted into the Ring of Honor at Texas Stadium, the fourth player to receive that honor. He also was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. In 2007, he was among the 17 finalists to be seniors candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The website notinthehalloffame.com ranks Howley as the greatest player not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Following retirement, Howley ran a uniform rental business in Dallas and is now involved in a foundation dedicated to breeding quarterhorses at Happy Hollow--located in Wills Point, Texas. His broodmare herd consists of more than 50 mares. He lives in Dallas.