Centennial Slate for Class of 2020 Revealed


The full 15-person Centennial Slate for the Class of 2020 was revealed live today on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football.” The special slate of enshrinees consisting of 10 Seniors (players who last played more than 25 years ago), three Contributors (an individual other than a player or coach) and two Coaches were elected by a special Blue-Ribbon Panel during a meeting at the Hall of Fame last week. It marked the first time in history that a group of enshrinees was selected during a meeting held at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The two coaches, BILL COWHER and JIMMY JOHNSON, were surprised by Hall of Fame President & CEO David Baker, who informed them of their election on their respective studio shows during last weekend’s NFL divisional playoff games.

The Centennial Slate of Enshrinees will be joined in the Class of 2020 by five Modern-Era Players who will be elected on “Selection Saturday,” the day before Super LIV in Miami. Those five individuals will be revealed and join the members of the Centennial Slate on NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on the eve of Super Bowl LIV at 8 p.m. ET on FOX. Details and ticket information for the annual Enshrinement Ceremony and the Centennial Celebration will be revealed in the coming weeks.


  • Bill Cowher – 1992-2006 Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Jimmy Johnson – 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins 



  • *Steve Sabol, Administrator/President – 1964-2012 NFL Films
  • Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner – 1989-2006 National Football League
  • *George Young, Contributor/General Manager – 1968-1974 Baltimore Colts, 1975-78 Miami Dolphins, 1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League



  • Harold Carmichael, WR – 1971-1983 Philadelphia Eagles, 1984 Dallas Cowboys
  • Jim Covert, T – 1983-1990 Chicago Bears
  • *Bobby Dillon, S – 1952-59 Green Bay Packers
  • Cliff Harris, S – 1970-79 Dallas Cowboys
  • *Winston Hill, T – 1963-1976 New York Jets, 1977 Los Angeles Rams
  • *Alex Karras, DT – 1958-1962, 1964-1970 Detroit Lions
  • Donnie Shell, S – 1974-1987 Pittsburgh Steelers
  • *Duke Slater, T – 1922 Milwaukee Badgers, 1922-25 Rock Island Independents,1926-1931 Chicago Cardinals
  • *Mac Speedie, E – 1946-1952 Cleveland Browns [AAFC/NFL]
  • *Ed Sprinkle, DE/LB/E – 1944-1955 Chicago Bears


The Centennial Slate Blue-Ribbon Panel was comprised of many members of the overall Selection Committee in addition to Hall of Famers, coaches, football executives and several leading historians. The panel considered nearly 300 nominees in the lengthy process to elect the slate.

“This was the most thorough vetting of candidates in the Hall’s history and it needed to be. Our charge was to scour 100 years of professional football and find the most deserving candidates who have slipped through the cracks,” commented veteran Hall of Fame Selector Rick Gosselin. “All 38 finalists for the Centennial Slate were Hall of Fame worthy but we could only choose 15. I am proud to be a part of this process that honors these men who shaped the NFL in its first century."

  • Bill Belichick – New England Patriots Head Coach
  • Jarrett Bell – Hall of Fame Selector, USA Today
  • Gil Brandt – Pro Football Hall of Fame Contributor
  • Joel Bussert – Former NFL Executive, Pro Football Historian      
  • John Clayton – Hall of Fame Selector, The Washington Post
  • Frank Cooney – Hall of Fame Selector, Sports Xchange            
  • John Czarnecki – Hall of Fame Selector, FOX Sports        
  • Rick Gosselin – Hall of Fame Selector, Talk of Fame Network
  • Elliot Harrison – Pro Football Historian and Long-time TV Analyst
  • Joe Horrigan – Retired Pro Football Hall of Fame Executive Director, Football Historian       
  • Ira Kaufman – Hall of Fame Selector, JoeBucsFan.com    
  • Dick LeBeau – Pro Football Hall of Fame Cornerback, Longtime NFL coach     
  • Jeff Legwold – Hall of Fame Selector, ESPN/ESPN.com    
  • John Madden – Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach            
  • John McClain – Hall of Fame Selector, Houston Chronicle          
  • Gary Myers – Hall of Fame Selector, Sports Illustrated    
  • Ozzie Newsome – Pro Football Hall of Fame Tight End, EVP Baltimore Ravens
  • Sal Paolantonio – Hall of Fame Selector, Senior National Correspondent – ESPN
  • Carl Peterson – Longtime Pro Football Executive
  • Bill Polian – Pro Football Hall of Fame Contributor
  • Dan Pompei – Hall of Fame Selector, The Athletic
  • Charean Williams – Hall of Fame Selector, Pro Football Talk      
  • Chris Willis – Producer-Head of Research Library - NFL Films, Football Historian
  • Barry Wilner – Hall of Fame Selector, Associated Press
  • Ron Wolf – Pro Football Hall of Fame Contributor




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

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.



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

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.




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

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.



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

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.



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.




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.



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.



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).



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 Miami Dolphins 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.



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).



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.




Exclusive Pro Football Hall of Fame gear for each of the 15-members of the Centennial Slate are available now. Fans can now purchase special t-shirts and hats at https://www.profootballhof.com/store/class-of-2020/