It took Charles Haley much longer to get into the Hall of Fame, an honor he finally received in 2015 after retiring in 1999, than it ever should have. That's proof that what happens off the field weighs heavily on the minds of voters - Haley wasn't always a model citizen. For all his issues, though, there is one distinction you can't take away from Haley - for now, at least, he has the most Super Bowl rings by a player with five. He won two with the 49ers. He was chased out of the Bay Area after mixing it up with Steve Young, and wound up in Dallas where he won it all three more times. Impressive.
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Haley doesn't actually hold the record for most Super Bowl rings overall. The answer to that trivia question - an answer almost no one could get, I'm sure - is Neal Dahlen. Dahlen worked in administration and player personnel for the Niners before becoming GM in Denver. He was part of five Super Bowl-winning teams in San Francisco between 1982 and 1995 and won two more in Denver. He never played beyond college, but he had a hand in building those teams - including the two winning San Francisco squads that Haley was a part of.
The biggest threat to Dahlen right now is New England head coach Bill Belichick - though he obviously won't be adding another one this year. He has won four Super Bowls in his current role, and he added two more as the defensive coordinator for the Giants. Belichick joins Chuck Noll as the only guys to win four as head coaches. Several assistants have four rings - including Charlie Weis, who parlayed his hardware into a career as arguably the worst college head coach in history.
But back to the players with the most Super Bowl rings - that is what we are supposed to be focusing on, after all. Behind Haley is a massive number of players with four rings - 38 by the most recent count. Twenty-two of those players earned their four with the Steelers in the 1970s - proof of how much free agency has changed the way teams are built these days. Six more won four with the 49ers during the Joe Montana era. Matt Millen has the unique distinction of being the only guy to win one playing for four different teams - Oakland, L.A., San Francisco and Washington.
In terms of active players, though, there are only two currently just one win away from tying Haley. Adam Vinatieri won three with the Patriots and a fourth with Indianapolis. The other, of course, is Tom Brady - another guy who won't be increasing that total this season.
Brady isn't the only member of the Patriots with four. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels also has four - and each has come in a different role. He was first a personnel assistant, then a defensive coaching assistant before becoming QB coach and then offensive coordinator.
If we want to be fair we should also mention Willie Davis, a defensive end for the Browns and Packers from 1958 until 1969. He won two Super Bowls as a player and two more in management roles with the Packers. He also was part of three NFL Championship teams in Green Bay before the Super Bowl began. That ties him unofficially with both Dahlen with seven titles overall and Haley with five as a player - though there is obviously a massive asterisk beside both marks.
If we want to consider Davis, then we really need to look at what Bobby Singh did. The big guard from Fiji via Canada won a Super Bowl ring in 1999 with the Rams, though he didn't directly contribute to the success. In 2001 he won an XFL title with the Los Angeles Xtreme - the only team that ever won that title since their Super Bowl, the Million Dollar Game, was only played once. In 2006 he won a Grey Cup with the B.C. Lions. Three titles in three leagues - not a record that anyone can take away from him.
In the search for good stories among ring winners, Tom Flores is another that stands out. He won his first as the backup quarterback for the Chiefs in 1970. Then he won as an assistant to John Madden in Oakland. When Madden retired, Flores took over and won in 1980 as head coach. He moved with the team to L.A. in 1982 and won another title in 1983. Four titles in three roles, and in three cities - impressive in two ways.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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