Class of 2022: Dick Vermeil has 'emotional' game plan for Enshrinement

By Brendan Heffernan
Pro Football Hall of Fame

After leaving an enduring mark on three cities as a dogged, meticulous champion football coach, Dick Vermeil is still coming to terms with the fact that his legacy has found a permanent home in Canton, Ohio. 

Vermeil is one of the members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022. Their bronze busts will be unveiled Saturday, Aug. 6, during the 2022 Enshrinement inside Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.  

Vermeil addressed media members Tuesday from his home in Pennsylvania in preparation for Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls.  

“The closer I get to the day, the more I realize what’s going on,” he said.  

Vermeil coached the Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs during an NFL coaching career that spanned four decades. His teams won division championships at all three of his coaching stops and he coached in two Super Bowls, winning a ring with the Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV. He will be the 28th coach enshrined in the Hall of Fame. 

Vermeil’s career took a somewhat unconventional arc, featuring two retirements and un-retirements not far removed from championship seasons. While he did not stay with any team longer than seven seasons, Vermeil said he’s been blessed with lasting love and admiration from all three communities he coached in. 

“It helps you feel pretty good about yourself when you’re 85 years old,” he said. 

Vermeil said he’s visited Canton close to a dozen times for the enshrinements of some his former players and colleagues, but he never expected to receive a gold jacket of his own.  

“I’m an emotional guy and when I think about it I tear up,” Vermeil said. “I never really pictured myself sitting on that stage.” 

Vermeil’s former quarterback and Class of 2017 enshrinee Kurt Warner surprised Vermeil at his log home last year to tell him that he was selected to the Class of 2022. Vermeil embraced Warner and shed a few tears while trying to process the good news. Vermeil said more strong emotions will be in the cards when he takes the podium during Enshrinement next month. 

“They only give me six minutes to talk and two to close,” Vermeil said. “But I can probably fill it up with some tears.” 

Brendan Heffernan is a student at Loyola University New Orleans and he is an intern this summer at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.