Drew Pearson Inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame Gold Jacket Ceremony 2021 | Aaron Doster/NFL/2021

Drew Pearson has finally received the gold jacket he more than earned in his 11 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.

Pearson was known as “Mr. Clutch” during his time with the Cowboys due to his propensity for making receptions at just the right time. Perhaps his most famous catch spawned the term “Hail Mary” when he hauled in a 50-yard toss from Roger Staubach to defeat the Minnesota Vikings in the 1978 playoffs.

Pearson has been eligible for induction to the prestigious Hall of Fame since 1996 and was a semi-finalist in 2020. He was the only senior selection in 2021. Pearson also coached the Dallas Texans of the Arena Football League in 1991.

“The wait is over! How about that!” Pearson exclaimed on Sunday as he accepted his gold jacket. “The original #88 presented for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”

Pearson became the all-time receptions leader with 489 catches when he retired from the Cowboys. Currently, he is fourth behind Dez Bryant (531), Michael Irvin (750), and Jason Witten (1,250). Pearson scored 48 touchdowns playing at a time when the vertical passing game wasn’t as popular as it is today, and defenses were less restricted.

The wide receiver was an undrafted free agent out of Tulsa, Oklahoma when the Cowboys signed him in 1973. He is one of only 27 undrafted players to be inducted to the Hall of Fame. The 2020 class, also inducted Sunday, includes another Cowboys free agent pick, Cliff Harris.

Pearson was the first Cowboys player to make the Number 88 jersey famous. The iconic number was also worn by Irvin, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007. Bryant wore #88 during his career with the Cowboys and continues to wear the jersey number in Baltimore. The jersey is still in rotation and is worn by up-and-coming star CeeDee Lamb today.

Pearson, now 70 and bald, is remembered for his afro hairstyle which made it onto his bust that is headed for the Hall.

“I had the biggest afro hairstyle in NFL history,” Pearson joked.

“That’s probably the biggest one that’ll ever be in the Hall of Fame,” he said, pointing to the newly unveiled bust.

Pearson is the second to last member of the NFL 1970s All-Decade first team to be inducted into the Hall and the last non-special teams player. The other player is Garo Yepremian, former placekicker for the Miami Dolphins and a member of the 1972 undefeated team.

Pearson was expected to be inducted in 2020, but the votes didn’t come through. His disappointment at the snub in 2020 was obvious, but he said that all is forgiven now that he has been inducted.

“The reality is better than the dream,” Pearson said.

“I’m walking on air right now,” he said in an interview after it was announced that his wait had finally ended.

Pearson was announced by former Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach.

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