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Athlete Charles Louis ‘‘Chuck’’ Howley was born in Wheeling, June 28, 1936. He attended Warwood High School, where he starred in football and basketball, and in 1954 he enrolled at West Virginia University. There he lettered in an unprecedented total of five sports. Between 1955 and 1957, Howley played football and was named to the All Southern Conference team three times. He was also a sprinter, a heavyweight wrestler, a trampolinist, and a diver. He was the Southern Conference Athlete of the Year in 1956. He was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.

In 1958, Howley was drafted by the Chicago Bears of the National Football League but left the team with a knee injury the next year. Howley returned to Wheeling and spent 1960 working at a gas station. A Chicago teammate suggested Howley to coach Tom Landry, who was starting the Dallas Cowboys team. Howley played linebacker for 12 seasons for Dallas, 1961–73. He was named All-Pro six times and named to six Pro Bowls. With teammate Bob Lilly, he anchored the so-called Doomsday Defense and served as the foundation for one of the most successful teams in NFL history. He played for Dallas in the 1967 ‘‘Ice Bowl,’’ losing to the Green Bay Packers in subzero weather.

In 1971, although Dallas lost Super Bowl V to the Baltimore Colts, Howley was named the Most Valuable Player, the only player on a losing team ever to win this award. The next year, Dallas won its first Super Bowl championship, beating Miami. Chuck Howley retired after the 1973 season and entered business in Dallas. He later ran a uniform rental business and was part of a foundation that breeds quarter horses in Wills Point, Texas.

In 2023, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

This Article was written by Tom Haas

Last Revised on February 10, 2023

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Haas, Tom "Chuck Howley." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 10 February 2023. Web. 01 June 2023.


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