He’s one of the greatest athletes to ever come out of the Ohio Valley, and the word “athlete” could not be more true. He still holds a Super Bowl record that most likely will never be broken. He’s Warwood’s own Chuck Howley.
Howley’s career almost never got started at Wheeling Central where he was told he was too small to play, so he transferred to Warwood where he didn’t start in a game until the second game of his junior season.
Howley would go on to earn first team All-State and all OVAC his senior season. Next at WVU he earned letters in five different sports, football, track, wrestling, gymnastics and swimming, the only athlete ever to do so. In football he was a three-time All-Southern Conference selection and the Southern Conference Player of the Year in 1957. With his great athleticism it’s easy to see why he was the Chicago Bears number one pick in the 1958 draft, but a knee injury in training in 1959 nearly cost him his career. He would spend the next two years running a gas station in Wheeling.
“If coach Landry hadn’t called Chuck Howley, I really believe he probably would have been the president of Sunoco that was his work ethic and he his. He was very humble. Chuck was always very humble, no bragging or nothing. He led by doing things, not by ‘rah rah’ things,” said Jack Scheutz.
In 1961, a former Chicago teammate suggested Howley to coach Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys and the rest really is history.
As you enter Warwood, a sign commemorates his college and pro careers, but it’s the date that’s on this plaque that is really special – January 17, 1971. The date of Super Bowl 5. The game was played between the Cowboys and Colts and was won by the Colts 16-13 on a last second field goal.
In that game Howley had two interceptions, and despite playing on the losing team, he was named the games MVP. Howley was the first defensive player to win the award and the only player ever to win from the losing team.
“Then when Sports Illustrated came into the dressing room, my uncle (Chuck) says hey you got the wrong dressing room the winners are over in the other one and my uncle just said, ‘you know I won the MVP but couldn’t believe it and couldn’t you pick somebody else’ and you know just was one of those things were he just never comprehended what had happened to him at that time,” and Howley’s nephew, Jim Howley.
Howley did get a Super Bowl Championship the next year, when Dallas Defeated Miami in Super Bowl 6.