Buddy Parker selected as Coach/Contributor Finalist for Hall of Fame’s Class of 2024

General Published on : 8/16/2023
  • Two-time NFL champion coach of Lions advances to full 50-person Selection Committee for consideration at meeting next year

Buddy Parker, a two-time NFL championship-winning coach with the Detroit Lions, has moved to the final stage in the selection process for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2024.

The Hall’s Coach/Contributor Committee concluded a spirited meeting that lasted more than four hours Tuesday afternoon with Parker emerging from the group of 12 worthy candidates remaining under consideration as the Finalist for next year’s class. The Hall of Fame’s full 50-person Selection Committee will consider Parker for election — along with 15 Modern-Era Players and three Seniors — when it meets to choose the entire Class of 2024 early next year. 

Parker would be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame if he receives at least 80% approval in the up-or-down balloting at that meeting.

In 15 seasons of coaching in the National Football League, Parker posted a career record of 107-76-9 (.582 overall winning percentage). Included in that total is a 3-1 record in the postseason.

Parker’s Lions won 67% of their games in his six seasons in Detroit, including both the 1952 and 1953 NFL Championship Games with back-to-back victories over the powerful Cleveland Browns. The Lions were looking to “three-peat” in 1954, but the Browns dominated that game and won 56-10. It was Parker’s only head-to-head loss against Hall of Fame coach PAUL BROWN in five meetings as the Lions’ coach.

The Lions also won the 1957 NFL title, largely with a roster Parker built, but he had departed Detroit for Pittsburgh shortly before the season began. He coached the Steelers from 1957 to 1964, posting four winning seasons and another .500 season in those eight years. In the preceding 22 seasons, the Steelers finished with a winning record only three times.

Supporters of Parker called him an innovator on both sides of the ball. With Hall of Fame quarterback BOBBY LAYNE, his Lions teams unveiled what everyone now calls the two-minute offense. He also developed or modified defensive alignments to play to the strengths of Hall of Fame linebacker JOE SCHMIDT and Hall of Fame defensive backs JACK CHRISTIANSEN and YALE LARY to craft one of the league’s best units of its era.

The other Semifinalists in the strong field of candidates were Tom Coughlin, Mike Holmgren, Frank “Bucko” Kilroy, Robert Kraft, Dan Reeves, Art Rooney Jr., Marty Schottenheimer, Mike Shanahan, Clark Shaughnessy, Lloyd Wells and John Wooten.

Separately, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee will meet next week to determine its Finalists for election to the Class of 2024. Remaining under consideration are Ken Anderson, Maxie Baughan, Roger Craig, Randy Gradishar, Joe Jacoby, Albert Lewis, Steve McMichael, Eddie Meador, Art Powell, Sterling Sharpe, Otis Taylor and Al Wistert. Three will advance to the Finalists stage.

In 2022, the Hall’s Board of Trustees approved a change in its bylaws governing the selection process. The revision combined the candidates in the Coach and Contributor categories and allows for one to be elected in the classes of 2023, 2024 and 2025. It also enlarged the number of Finalists in the Seniors category to three over those three selection cycles.

With these changes, the classes of 2023, 2024 and 2025 could be as large as nine enshrinees each: up to five Modern-Era Players, up to three Seniors and one Coach or Contributor.

—  Previously: 24 Semifinalists named for Class of 2024 in Seniors, Coach/Contributor categories  —