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Five Modern-Era Players Elected to Hall of Fame

Five Modern-Era Players Elected to Hall of Fame

02/01/2020
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“Selection Saturday” resulted in five “Heroes of the Game” earning election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Hall’s 48-person Selection Committee held its annual meeting today in Miami Beach to elect five Modern-Era Players for the Class of 2020. The special class also includes the Centennial Slate of 15 Hall of Famers who were picked by a special Blue-Ribbon Panel in January.  

The Modern-Era players for the Class of 2020 were just announced on stage during taping of NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special that will air nationally tonight at 8 p.m. (ET and PT) on FOX. They include safety STEVE ATWATER, wide receiver ISAAC BRUCE, guard STEVE HUTCHINSON, running back EDGERRIN JAMES, and safety TROY POLAMALU. The five newest Hall of Famers were joined on stage by the living members from the Centennial Slate.

Today’s annual selection meeting capped a year-round selection process. The newly elected Hall of Famers were chosen from a list of 15 Finalists who had been determined earlier by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee. Representatives of the accounting firm Ernst & Young tabulated all votes during Saturday’s meeting.
 

STEVE ATWATER

HOF Finalist: 3 | Year of Eligibility: 16
Position: Safety

Ht: 6-3, Wt: 218

NFL Career: 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets

Seasons: 11, Games: 167

College: Arkansas

Drafted: 1st Round (20th overall), 1989

Born: Oct. 28, 1966 in Chicago, Illinois

Made immediate impact as rookie in 1989 as Denver led NFL in fewest points allowed, recorded AFC’s best record and earned a berth in Super Bowl XXIV … Named to NFL All-Rookie Team … Noted for hard hitting and devastating tackling ... Broncos leading tackler in 1993 and 1995 … Recorded multiple interceptions in all but three seasons … Led Broncos in interceptions three seasons and interception return yardage four times … Career-high five interceptions, 1991 … Recorded 24 career picks returned for 408 yards and 1 TD … Totaled more than 1,000 career tackles … Registered five career sacks … Elected to eight Pro Bowls over nine-season span … Named All-Pro in 1991, 1992; Second-Team All-Pro, 1990, 1996 … All-AFC six times … Started at free safety in four AFC championship games and three Super Bowls … Recorded six tackles, one sack and one pass defensed in Super Bowl XXXII to help Broncos to first Super Bowl championship with win over Green Bay Packers … Contributed four tackles, three assists and two passes defensed against Atlanta Falcons in Denver’s Super Bowl XXXIII win … Named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s.

 

ISAAC BRUCE

HOF Finalist: 4 | Year of Eligibility: 6
Position: Wide Receiver

Ht: 6-0, Wt: 184

NFL Career: 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams,
2008-09 San Francisco 49ers

Seasons: 16, Games: 223

College: West Los Angeles College (JC), Santa Monica College (JC), Memphis

Drafted: 2nd Round (33rd overall), 1994

Born: Nov. 10, 1972 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

First career catch was 34-yard touchdown play … Breakout year in second season with career-high 119 catches for 1,781 yards and 13 TDS … First player in NFL history with three straight games with 170 or more receiving yards (181 vs. Colts, 191 vs. Falcons, 173 vs. 49ers), 1995 … Recorded first of three career 200-yard games in 1995 season finale … Led NFL in receiving yards (1,338), 1996 … Key offensive threat for “Greatest Show on Turf” … Started in two NFC championship games and two Super Bowls … Recorded six catches for 162 yards including 73-yard, game-winning touchdown reception in Rams’ 23-16 Super Bowl XXXIV victory … Retired as Rams’ all-time leader in catches, receiving yards, and most yards from scrimmage … Named All-Pro, 1999 … Voted to four Pro Bowls (1997, 2000, 2001, 2002) … Twelve seasons with 50 or more catches … Racked up 1,000-yard seasos eight times … Career numbers include 1,024 receptions for 15,208 yards (second most at time), and 91 touchdowns.

 

STEVE HUTCHINSON

HOF Finalist: 3 | Year of Eligibility: 3
Position: Guard

Ht: 6-4, Wt: 315

NFL Career: 2001-05 Seattle Seahawks,
2006-2011 Minnesota Vikings,
2012 Tennessee Titans

Seasons: 12, Games: 169

College: Michigan

Drafted: 1st Round (17th overall), 2001

Born: Nov. 1, 1977 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Named to NFL’s All-Rookie team … Key component of the offensive line that led Seattle to three straight playoff appearances (2003-05) … Paved way for NFL MVP Shaun Alexander who gained team record 1,880 yards and NFL record 28 touchdowns, 2005 … Started at left guard in Seahawks’ 34-14 win over Carolina Panthers in 2005 NFC Championship Game to earn franchise’s first Super Bowl berth … Signed as free agent with Vikings, 2006 … Led way for Adrian Peterson to become first Vikings player to lead NFL in rushing after racking up franchise record 1,760 yards, 2008 … Veteran leader who helped Vikings to back-to-back division titles, 2008-09 … Started at left guard for Vikings in 2009 NFC Championship Game … Named All-Pro six times (twice with Seattle, four times with Minnesota) … Voted to seven consecutive Pro Bowls … Twice chosen as NFL Alumni Offensive Lineman of the Year (2006, 2009) … Named to NFL All-Decade Team of the 2000s.

 

EDGERRIN JAMES

HOF Finalist: 4 | Year of Eligibility: 6
Position: Running Back

Ht: 6-0, Wt: 219

NFL Career: 1999-2005 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals,
2009 Seattle Seahawks

Seasons: 11, Games: 148

College: Miami (Fla.)

Drafted: 1st Round (4th overall), 1999

Born: Aug. 1, 1978 in Immokalee, Florida

Powerful running style and versatility led to spectacular start of career … NFL’s Rookie of the Year, 1999 … Captured NFL rushing titles first two seasons (1,553 yards in 1999 and career-best 1,709 yards in 2000) and scored 13 rushing TDs in each season … Also caught 62 passes and 4 TDs as rookie and career-high 63 receptions and 5 TDs in second season … Key player in Colts offense that resulted in four division titles and six seasons with 10 or more wins … Won fifth division title with 2008 Cardinals … Started in two conference championship games (one with Indianapolis and one with Arizona) and Super Bowl XLIII … Eclipsed 1,000 yards in a season seven times; topped 1,500 four times … Career total: 12,246 yards on 3,028 carries and 80 TDs … Added 433 career catches for 3,364 yards and 11 TDs … All-Pro three times (1999-2000, 2004) … All-AFC four times (1999-2000, 2004-05) … Voted to four Pro Bowls … Selected to NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s.

 

TROY POLAMALU

HOF Finalist: 1 | Year of Eligibility: 1
Position: Safety

Ht: 5-10, Wt: 207

NFL Career: 2003-2014 Pittsburgh Steelers

Seasons: 12, Games: 158

College: Southern California

Drafted: 1st Round (16th overall), 2003

Born: April 19, 1981 in Garden Grove, California

Made huge impact with tenacious play en route to becoming premier safety of his era … Defensive leader that guided Steelers to seven playoff appearances, five division titles and two Super Bowl championships in his career … Started at strong safety in four AFC championship games and three Super Bowls … Strong performance in 2008 AFC Championship Game with 40-yard pick-six late in the game to propel Steelers to Super Bowl in addition to three tackles, one assist, one tackle for loss and two passes defensed … Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 when he intercepted seven passes for 101 yards and 1 TD … Career numbers include 32 interceptions for 398 yards and 3 TDs … Also scored 2 touchdowns on fumble recoveries … First-Team All-Pro four times and Second-Team All-Pro twice … Voted to eight Pro Bowls … Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s.

SELECTION MEETING

The Selection Committee at today’s meeting examined and debated the merits of the 15 Modern-Era Player Finalists that included two cut-downs in the process. The first cut of finalists was from 15 to 10. The five eliminated from consideration at that point were LeRoy Butler, Torry Holt, Sam Mills, Reggie Wayne and Bryant Young. The final 10 finalists were reduced to the selection of five players who were elected to the Hall as part of the special 20-person Centennial Class of 2020. The five finalists removed in the second cut-down were Tony Boselli, Alan Faneca, John Lynch, Zach Thomas and Richard Seymour.

The Hall of Fame’s membership, including the newly elected Class of 2020, now stands at 346.  

 

CLASS OF 2020 CENTENNIAL SLATE ENSHRINEES

 

COACHES

 

BILL COWHER

HOF Finalist: 1 (2020) | Year of Eligibility: 9 
Coach 

NFL Career: 1992-2006 Pittsburgh Steelers

Seasons: 15

College: North Carolina State

Born: May 8, 1957 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

At age 34, succeeded legendary Hall of Famer Chuck Noll as Steelers head coach, 1992 … Became just second coach ever, joining Paul Brown, to lead team to playoff appearances in each of first six seasons … Advanced to postseason a total of 10 times during his tenure … At the time of his retirement, was one of just six coaches to win eight division titles … Led Pittsburgh to two Super Bowl appearances … Guided a team overcome with injuries to franchise record 15 wins, 2004 … His 2005 team became first team to ever win nine road games and the first sixth-seeded team in NFL history to win Super Bowl after amazing playoff run capped by 21-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL … Cowher-led teams recorded double-digit win totals nine times … Named NFL Coach of the Year twice (1992 by Associated Press and Sporting News; 2004 by Sporting News) … Regular season record: 149-90-1, .623 … Postseason record: 12-9, .571 … Overall record: 161-99-1, .619 … Served as special teams coach and secondary coach for Cleveland Browns (1985-88) and Defensive Coordinator for Kansas City Chiefs (1989-1991) following NFL playing career as linebacker and special teams player with Browns and Philadelphia Eagles.

 

JIMMY JOHNSON

HOF Finalist: 2 (2015, 2020) | Year of Eligibility: 16 
Coach 

NFL Career: 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins 

Seasons: 9

College: Arkansas 

Born: July 16, 1943 in Port Arthur, Texas 

Achieved great success at college level before entering pro ranks … Replaced legendary coaches in each of two NFL stops (Tom Landry in Dallas; Don Shula in Miami) … Noted for evaluating talent … Rebuilt Dallas through the draft … First draft with Dolphins landed eight players who earned starting roles as rookies … Transformed Cowboys franchise, going from 1-15 to playoff team by third season … First coach ever to win a college national championship and a Super Bowl … Became just fourth coach to lead team to back-to-back Super Bowl titles … Cowboys defeated Buffalo Bills 52-17 in Super Bowl XXVII and 30-13 in Super Bowl XXVIII … Guided Dallas, the NFL’s youngest team that season, to franchise best 13-3 record and 16 overall wins, 1992 … One season later, Cowboys established club record by surrendering an NFL-low six interceptions and defense ranked in top 11 in all six major offensive and defensive statistical categories … Led his teams to playoffs six times (three in Dallas, three in Miami) … Named NFL Coach of the Year by the Associated Press, 1990 … Regular season record: 80-64-0, .556 … Postseason record: 9-4, .692 … Overall record: 89-68-0, .567.
 

CONTRIBUTORS

 

STEVE SABOL

HOF Finalist: 1 (2020) | Year of Eligibility: n/a 
Administrator/President

Career: 1964-2012 NFL Films

College: Colorado College

Born: Oct. 2, 1942 in Moorestown, New Jersey 

Died: Sept. 18, 2012 in Moorestown, New Jersey at age of 69

Joins his father Ed Sabol as only third father-son duo to be elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame (Art and Dan Rooney; Tim and Wellington Mara are the others) … Began brilliant career in 1964 as cinematographer working for his father who founded NFL Films … Artistic vision behind studio that completely revolutionized how fans watched the National Football League … Under his leadership, NFL Films won over 100 Emmys … Personally, won 35 Emmys in more categories than any other person in TV history (writing, cinematography, editing, directing and producing) … He and his father received the Lifetime Achievement Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, 2003 … Named the 2002 Sports Executive of the Year by Sporting News … Honored by Pro Football Hall of Fame as winner of prestigious Pioneer Award for significant innovative contributions to pro football, 2007 … Bestowed March of Dimes Sports Leadership Award, 2010 … Inducted into Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame and Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame, 2011 … Received Sports Business Journal’s Champions – Pioneers & Innovators in Sports Business award, 2012.

 

PAUL TAGLIABUE

HOF Finalist: 5 (2007-09, 2017, 2020) | Year of Eligibility: n/a 
Commissioner

NFL Career: 1989-2006 National Football League 

Seasons: 17

College: Georgetown, New York University 

Born: Nov. 24, 1940 in Jersey City, New Jersey

During tenure, NFL grew to unparalleled heights during his 17-year reign after succeeding Pete Rozelle as league Commissioner ... By a wide margin, the NFL with its competitive equality is considered nation’s most popular sport ... Committed to a “league think” philosophy, his leadership enabled NFL to address several key priorities ... The league expanded to 32 teams ... Nearly two decades of labor peace with the NFL Players Association ...  League supported some 20 new stadium construction projects ... Established NFL as a global brand with operations in overseas markets ... Was first league to operate on a weekly basis on two separate continents ... Created a league-wide internet network and subscriber-based NFL TV Network ...  Secured largest TV contracts in entertainment history totaling $25 billion ... Before becoming league’s CEO, represented NFL as attorney ... Served in office of U.S. Secretary of Defense as policy analyst.

 

GEORGE YOUNG

HOF Finalist: 4 (2003-05, 2020) | Year of Eligibility: n/a
Contributor/General Manager

NFL Career: 1968-1974 Baltimore Colts, 1975-78 Miami Dolphins,

1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League

Seasons: 34

College: Bucknell, Johns Hopkins, Loyola

Born: Sept. 22, 1930 in Baltimore, Maryland

Died: Dec. 8, 2001 in Baltimore, Maryland at age of 71

Little All-America and All-East honors as a defensive tackle at Bucknell … General manager of Giants, rebuilt team by drafting key players such as Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor … Hired Bill Parcells as head coach … During tenure, Giants earned eight playoff berths, and victories in Super Bowls XXI, XXV … Prior to Young’s arrival, Giants had not made playoffs since 1963 … Was named NFL Executive of the Year unprecedented five times, 1984, 1986, 1990, 1993, 1997 … Following 1997 season, joined NFL front office as executive vice president of football operations … Served as Chairman of NFL Competition Committee … Prior to joining Giants was on staff of Baltimore Colts (1968-1974) as scout, offensive line coach, director of player personnel, offensive coordinator … With Miami Dolphins (1975-78) was director of personnel and pro scouting.
 

SENIORS

 

HAROLD CARMICHAEL

HOF Finalist: 1 (2020) | Year of Eligibility: 31 
Position: Wide Receiver 

Ht: 6-8, Wt: 225 

NFL Career: 1971-1983 Philadelphia Eagles, 1984 Dallas Cowboys

Seasons: 14, Games: 182

College: Southern University

Drafted: 7th Round (161st overall), 1971 

Born: Sept. 22, 1949 in Jacksonville, Florida 

Key member of Eagles teams that earned four straight playoff appearances, 1978-1981 … Recorded career-high and team record at time with 67 catches for 1,116 yards to lead NFL in receptions and receiving yardage, 1973 … Hauled in personal best 12 catches for 187 yards versus St. Louis Cardinals, Oct. 14, 1973 … Scored career-best 11 touchdown receptions, 1979 … Registered 40 or more catches in nine straight seasons … Eclipsed 1,000-yard mark three times … Had 20 games with 100 or more receiving yards in career … Led Eagles in receptions and receiving yardage seven times … Established then-NFL record 127 straight games with a reception (1972-1980) … Helped Philadelphia to division title and franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance, 1980 … Retired as Eagles’ all-time leader in games played, consecutive games played, touchdowns, receptions, receiving yards, and touchdown receptions … Career stats: 590 receptions for 8,985 yards, 79 TDs … Named First-Team All-Pro, 1973 … Second-Team All-Pro three times ... First-Team All-NFC three times (1973, 1978, 1979) … Second-Team All-NFC four times … Selected to four Pro Bowls … Chosen as NFL Man of the Year, 1980 … Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of 1970s.

 

JIMBO COVERT

HOF Finalist: 1 (2020) | Year of Eligibility: 25 
Position: Tackle 

Ht: 6-4, Wt: 277 

NFL Career: 1983-1990 Chicago Bears

Seasons: 8, Games: 111 

College: Pittsburgh 

Drafted: 1st Round (6th overall), 1983 

Born: March 22, 1960 in Conway, Pennsylvania 

Earned starting left tackle position first season and made instant impact to earn All-Rookie recognition … Anchored offensive line that helped Bears capture six division titles in seven-year span … Team leader that helped Chicago win 10 or more games in a season six times … Veteran leader for strong rushing attack as Bears led NFL in rushing four straight seasons, 1983-86 … Also NFC’s top rushing team, 1989 … Helped team lead NFC in points scored during Bears’ magical 1985 season highlighted by a 15-1 regular-season record and dominating 46-10 victory over New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX … Paved the way for a 1,000-yard rusher every season of career but one … Battled through numerous injuries to start 110 games … Started at left tackle in three NFC championship games and one Super Bowl … Named Offensive Lineman of the Year, 1986 … First-Team All-Pro twice (1985, 1986) … Second-Team All-Pro, 1987 … All-NFC three times … Voted to two Pro Bowls (1986, 1987) … Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of 1980s.

 

BOBBY DILLON

HOF Finalist: 1 (2020) | Year of Eligibility: 58 
Position: Safety 

Ht: 6-1, Wt: 180 

NFL Career: 1952-59 Green Bay Packers

Seasons: 8, Games: 94 

College: Texas

Drafted: 3rd Round (28th overall), 1952 

Born: Feb. 23, 1930 in Temple, Texas

Died: Aug. 22, 2019 in Temple, Texas at age of 89

One of NFL’s premier pass interceptors despite having lost an eye during childhood accident … Instant defensive star, picked off four passes as a rookie … Dynamic playmaker who posted a career average of 18.8 yards per interception return … Recorded an interception every season of career … Led team in interceptions every year but one … Registered nine interceptions in a season three times (1953, 1955, 1957) and seven picks twice (1954, 1956) … Picked off four passes in one game versus Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, 1953 … Led NFL in interception return yardage (244) in 1956 … Career stats: 52 career interceptions for 976 yards and 5 TDs … Ranked tied for second in career interceptions at time of retirement … Still holds Packers record for career interceptions … First-Team All-NFL five straight seasons, 1954-58 …. All-NFL Second-Team four times (1953, 1954, 1956, 1959) … Named to four consecutive Pro Bowls (1956-59).

 

CLIFF HARRIS

HOF Finalist: 2 (2004, 2020) | Year of Eligibility: 36 
Position: Safety 

Ht: 6-0, Wt: 188

NFL Career: 1970-79 Dallas Cowboys

Seasons: 10, Games: 141 

College: Ouachita Baptist 

Signed as free agent, 1970

Born: Nov. 12, 1948 in Fayetteville, Arkansas 

Arguably finest free safety of his era … Noted for hard-hitting style of play … Stepped right into action with a pair of interceptions, one returned for career-long 60 yards in just second pro game … Defensive leader of Cowboys team that advanced to postseason in every season but one during his career … Helped Cowboys capture seven division titles … Played in 21 playoff games including seven NFC championship games and five Super Bowls … Registered eight tackles, two assisted tackles, one pass defensed in Cowboys’ 24-3 win over Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl VI … Recovered a then-record-tying four career opponent fumbles in postseason … Recorded multiple interceptions in every season of career … Picked off a career-high 5 passes, 1977 … Career stats: 29 interceptions for 281 yards, 1 TD … 66 punt returns for 418 yards and 63 kickoff returns for 1,622 yards … Selected First-Team All-Pro four straight seasons, 1975-78 … All-NFC five times (1974, 1976-79) … Voted to six consecutive Pro Bowls … Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of 1970s.

 

WINSTON HILL

HOF Finalist: 1 (2020) | Year of Eligibility: 38 
Position: Tackle

Ht: 6-4, Wt: 270 

AFL/NFL Career: 1963-1976 New York Jets, 1977 Los Angeles Rams

Seasons: 15, Games: 198 

College: Texas Southern

Drafted: 11th Round (145th overall), 1963 by Baltimore Colts

Born: Oct. 23, 1941 in Joaquin, Texas

Died: April 26, 2016 in Denver, Colorado at age of 74

Drafted by Baltimore Colts in NFL but signed as free agent with AFL’s Jets … Possessed durability, size and strength to become dominant tackle … Especially noted as one of game’s best pass protectors … Integral leader of offensive line that blocked for Joe Namath, pro football’s first 4,000-yard passer … Helped Jets to back-to-back division titles in 1968 and 1969 … Started at left tackle in Jets’ upset of Colts, Super Bowl III … Held Jets’ records for most consecutive career games (195) and consecutive starts (174) at time of retirement … Named All-Pro and All-AFL, 1969 … Second-Team All-AFL three times (1964, 1968, 1969) … Second-Team All-NFL three times (1970, 1971, 1972) … All-AFC five straight seasons (1970-74) … Voted to first AFL All-Star Game in second season … Elected to eight AFL All-Star Games/Pro Bowls (five as left tackle, three at right tackle) … Named to All-Time AFL Team (Second Team).

 

ALEX KARRAS

HOF Finalist: 1 (2020) | Year of Eligibility: 45 
Position: Defensive Tackle 

Ht: 6-2, Wt: 248 

NFL Career: 1958-1962, 1964-1970 Detroit Lions

Seasons: 12, Games: 161 

College: Iowa 

Drafted: 1st Round (10th overall), 1958 by Detroit Lions

Born: July 15, 1935 in Gary, Indiana

Died: October 10, 2012 in Los Angeles, California at age of 77

Drafted in first round after being voted college football’s outstanding lineman in 1957 … Dominant defensive tackle of his era who utilized variety of moves to elude opponent blockers …  Durability evidenced by him missing just one game in 12-year career … Lions team leader for years … Started 153 consecutive games … Led a Detroit defense that finished second in points allowed in the NFL three times that resulted in best win-loss records during his career (11-3 in 1962, 9-4-1 in 1969 and 10-4-0 in 1970 ... Capped career with his lone playoff appearance, 1970 … Recorded four interceptions, 17 fumble recoveries and one safety … Selected First-Team All-Pro four times (1960-62, 1965) … Second-Team All-Pro eight times … Voted to four Pro Bowls (1961-63, 1966) … Named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1960s.

DONNIE SHELL

HOF Finalist: 2 (2002, 2020) | Year of Eligibility: 28 
Position: Safety 

Ht: 5-11, Wt: 190 

NFL Career: 1974-1987 Pittsburgh Steelers

Seasons: 14, Games: 201 

College: South Carolina State

Signed as free agent by Pittsburgh Steelers, 1974

Born: Aug. 26, 1952 in Whitmire, South Carolina

Signed as free agent and earned starting role at end of rookie season … Recorded interception in his first career start … Hard-hitting tackler and integral member of Steelers’ vaunted defense … Played in six AFC championship games and four Super Bowls … Recorded five or more picks in season six straight years, 1979-1984 …. Career-best 7 interceptions in 1980, 1984 … Two career pick-sixes (52 yards vs. Cincinnati Bengals on Oct. 1, 1984; and 50 yards vs. Miami Dolphins on Nov. 1, 1987) … Picked off a personal best three passes in one game (vs. Cleveland Browns, Nov. 22, 1981) … Led or shared team lead in interceptions five times (1980, 1982-84, 1986) … Career stats: 51 interceptions for 490 yards … Recovered two fumbles for TD … Selected First-Team All-Pro three times (1979, 1980, 1982) … Second-Team All-Pro three times … All-AFC twice … Voted to five consecutive Pro Bowls … Named to Super Bowl Silver Anniversary Team.

 

DUKE SLATER

HOF Finalist: 3 (1970-71, 2020) | Year of Eligibility: 58 
Position: Tackle

Ht: 6-1, Wt: 215 

NFL Career: 1922 Milwaukee Badgers, 1922-25 Rock Island Independents,
1926-1931 Chicago Cardinals

Seasons: 10, Games: 90 

College: Iowa

Born: Dec. 9, 1898 in Normal, Illinois

Died: Aug. 14, 1966 in Chicago, Illinois at age of 67. 

An All-American tackle at Iowa and one of the school’s most heralded athletes … African-American pioneer in early years of the National Football League … Starred as two-way lineman for 10 seasons … Longest-tenured African-American player during era … Blocked for numerous Hall of Famers – Fritz Pollard, Jimmy Conzelman, Jim Thorpe and Ernie Nevers … Graduated from law school while playing in the NFL … Played full 60 minutes during historic game when Nevers scored single-game record 40 points, Thanksgiving Day 1929 … Scored touchdown on interception return vs. Orange Tornadoes, Dec. 8, 1929 … Named All-NFL four times (1923, 1925, 1926, 1929) … Also named Second Team All-NFL by various outlets in seven of his 10 pro seasons (1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1929, and 1930) …  Racial bias presumedly kept him from being named to official All-Decade Team of 1920s … Recognized as All-Decade players in 1920s in the book “The Pro Football Chronicle” … Elected to College Football Hall of Fame, 1951.

MAC SPEEDIE

HOF Finalist: 4 (1970, 1972, 1983, 2020) | Year of Eligibility: 58 
Position: End

Ht: 6-3, Wt: 203 

AAFC/NFL Career: 1946-1952 Cleveland Browns

Seasons: 7, Games: 86 

College: Utah 

Drafted: 15th Round (135th overall), 1942 by Detroit Lions 

Born: Jan. 12, 1920 in Odell, Illinois

Died: March 12, 1993 in Laguna Hills, California at age of 73 

Drafted by Lions but enlisted in Army instead of pursuing pro football career … Joined Cleveland Browns in new All-America Football Conference as defensive end … Quickly converted to offensive side of ball and created lethal receiving duo with Hall of Famer Dante Lavelli … Member of Browns team that finished first every season of his career … Took screen pass from Otto Graham and raced record 99 yards for TD vs. Buffalo, 1947 … Established every major receiving record in four-year history of AAFC … Led AAFC in receptions three times (1947-49) and NFL once (1952) … Leader in receiving yardage twice in AAFC (1947, 1949) when he eclipsed 1,000-yard plateau in each of those seasons … Career stats: 349 receptions for 5,602 yards and 33 TD … Played in six league championship games (four in AAFC, two in NFL) … All-Pro three times … All-AAFC four times … All-NFL twice … Member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of 1940s.

 

ED SPRINKLE

HOF Finalist: 1 (2020) | Year of Eligibility: 58 
Position: Defensive End/Linebacker/End 

Ht: 6-1, Wt: 206 

NFL Career: 1944-1955 Chicago Bears

Seasons: 12, Games: 132 

College: Hardin-Simmons, Navy

Signed as free agent with Chicago Bears, 1944

Born: Sept. 3, 1923 in Bradshaw, Texas

Died: July 28, 2014 in Palos Heights, Illinois at age of 90 

Strong, hard-hitting and one of most feared players of his era notably as a defensive end … Labeled “The Meanest Man in Football” … Regarded as one of first to gain fame by rushing the passer …  Legendary George Halas described him as “the greatest pass-rusher I’ve ever seen” … Helped lead Bears to 8-2-1 record in 1946 followed by 24-14 victory over New York Giants in NFL Championship Game … Also played on offensive side of the ball … Caught 32 career passes for 451 yards and 7 TD … Registered career-best three TD catches, 1948 … Defensive career totals: 4 interceptions for 55 yards, one safety and recovered two fumbles for TDs … First-Team All-Pro, 1949 … First Team All-NFL, 1950 … Second-Team All-NFL four times (1949, 1951, 1952, 1954) … Voted to four Pro Bowls (1951-53, 1955) … Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of 1940s.

ENSHRINEMENT FOR CLASS OF 2020

The Modern-Era players for the Class of 2020 – Atwater, Bruce, Hutchinson, James and Polamalu – will be enshrined during the Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls.

Official ticket packages for the 2020 Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls (Aug. 6-9) are on sale now at www.hofexperiences.com/ or by calling 844-751-0532. A variety of ticket packages, starting at $299, provide fans with VIP experiences, premium seating and parties with Hall of Famers. Packages range from event day offerings to four-day experiences that include a multitude of exclusive extras.

Individual tickets to the 2020 Hall of Fame Game (teams to be determined) and Enshrinement Ceremony on Aug. 8 will go on sale soon at: https://www.profootballhof.com/tickets

The 15-person Centennial Slate of the Class of 2020 was revealed on Jan. 15. Members of the Centennial Slate will be enshrined during either the Centennial Celebration in September or at Enshrinement Week in August. The announcement of when the Centennial Slate Enshrinees will be inducted, as well as when fans can buy tickets to these events, will be made within the next two weeks.

The Centennial Celebration will feature a multi-day schedule of events celebrating the NFL’s 100th Birthday party on Sept. 17 including the dedication of the new Centennial Plaza in downtown Canton near the site where the NFL was founded; a Centennial Spectacular to kick off the league’s next century showcasing thousands of NFL Legends who built the game along with world-class performances from a variety of music icons.

CLASS OF 2020 GEAR

Class2020ME600Web

Exclusive Pro Football Hall of Fame gear for all 20 members of the Class of 2020 (Modern-Era and Centennial Slate) are available now. Fans can now purchase special t-shirts and hats at https://www.profootballhof.com/store/class-of-2020/

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