April 12, 2013

Rookie of the Year: Mike Haynes, 1976

Cornerback, New England Patriots

Age: 23
College: Arizona State
Height: 6’2”   Weight: 189

Highly regarded following a college career in which he was a two-time All-American and three-time All-Western Athletic Conference selection, Haynes was chosen by the Patriots in the first round (fifth overall) of the 1976 NFL draft. He quickly made an impact, both as a defensive back and a punt returner.

1976 Season Summary
Appeared in all 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Interceptions – 8 [3, tied with Joe Lavender & Rod Perry]
Most interceptions, game – 3 at NY Jets 11/21
Int. return yards – 90 [17]
Most int. return yards, game – 42 (on 2 int.) at Baltimore 11/14
Int. TDs – 0
Fumble recoveries – 3
Forced fumbles – 0

Punt Returns
Returns – 45 [3, tied with Butch Johnson]
Yards – 608 [2]
Most yards, game – 156 (on 4 ret.) vs. Buffalo 11/7
Average per return – 13.5 [2, tied with Eddie Brown]
TDs – 2 [2]
Longest return – 89 yards

TDs – 2
Points – 12

Postseason: 1 G (AFC Divisional playoff at Oakland)
Interceptions – 0
Fumble recoveries – 0

Punt returns – 1
Punt return yds. – 13
Punt return TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year: AP, PFWA
AFC Rookie of the Year: UPI, NEA, Sporting News
2nd team All-NFL: AP, PFWA, NEA
1st team All-AFC: AP, UPI, Pro Football Weekly, Sporting News
Pro Bowl

Patriots went 11-3 to finish second in the AFC East and qualify for a Wild Card berth. Lost AFC Divisional playoff to Oakland Raiders (24-21).

Haynes quickly developed into one of the NFL’s premier cornerbacks and was chosen to the Pro Bowl in each of his first five seasons. He intercepted 23 passes during that time and averaged 10.9 yards on 105 punt returns, most of which came during his first two years. Fast and with excellent reactions, as well as being a thorough student of his craft, he was outstanding at pass coverage. Following an injury-shortened 1981 season, he came back with one last Pro Bowl year for the Patriots before moving on to the Los Angeles Raiders. Haynes led the NFL with 220 yards on six interception returns in 1984, his first of two consecutive seasons in which he received consensus first-team All-Pro recognition. His career lasted 14 years, until 1989, and he ended up with a total of 46 interceptions and nine Pro Bowl selections. Haynes was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 1997.


Rookie of the Year Profiles feature players who were named Rookie of the Year in the NFL (including NFC/AFC), AFL (1960-69), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press – Offense or Defense, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, or the league itself – Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year). 

[Updated 2/4/14]