Seniors Randy Gradishar, Steve McMichael, Art Powell selected as finalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024
Pro Football Hall of Fame’s full 50-person Selection Committee to consider these 3 Seniors at meeting early next year
A meeting of the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee concluded Tuesday afternoon with Gradishar, McMichael and Powell emerging as the Finalists from the group of 12 Seniors remaining under consideration for next year’s class of enshrinees. The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s full 50-person Selection Committee will consider the three Seniors – along with 15 Modern-Era Players and a Coach/Contributor – when it meets to choose the entire Class of 2024 early next year.
Each of the Seniors Finalists would be elected to the Hall if he receives at least 80% approval in the up-or-down balloting at that meeting.
Last week, the Hall’s Coach/Contributor Committee chose coach Buddy Parker as its Finalist for the Class of 2024. He also would be elected if he receives 80% approval at the full selection meeting.
“Every one of the individual presentations for the 12 candidates by the members of the Seniors Committee participating Tuesday was outstanding, truly creating the possibility that each one could have reached the position of Finalist,” said Jim Porter, president of the Hall. “I applaud the committee for the thorough discussion and consideration for all 12. The depth of the Seniors pool came on full display once again.”
Porter reached Gradishar by phone Tuesday afternoon to tell him about his status as a Finalist. Gradishar immediately asked if his wife, Beth, could be included via conference call, and the couple learned the news together.
“It’s a great, great day to hear your voice,” Randy Gradishar told Porter.
A member of the acclaimed “Orange Crush” defense for the Denver Broncos from 1974 to 1983, Gradishar was named AP Defensive Player of the Year in 1978. That season, he intercepted four passes on a unit that finished in the top six in the NFL in most defensive categories. One year earlier, he helped Denver reach Super Bowl XII. In his 11 seasons, Gradishar never missed a game, playing 151 overall. He totaled 20 interceptions and 13 fumble recoveries. He was a two-time first-team AP All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowler.
McMichael was another player with remarkable durability. A Super Bowl champion with the 1985 Chicago Bears, he played 227 games (including playoffs) over 15 seasons, never missing a start due to injury. His 95 career sacks rank fourth all time for defensive tackles, and he was credited with 13 forced fumbles. He led Bears linemen in tackles seven times in his 13 seasons in Chicago. McMichael twice was named to the AP’s All-Pro first team and was selected to two Pro Bowls.
Powell played in three professional football leagues, starting his career in Canada for two years before joining the Philadelphia Eagles in 1959 for one season, seeing action exclusively as a defensive back. He then joined the New York Titans in the inaugural season of the AFL and made an immediate impact at wide receiver, catching 69 passes for 1,167 yards and a league-best 14 touchdowns. He played two more years with the Titans, again eclipsing 1,000 yards in 1962. Moving to the Oakland Raiders in 1963, Powell turned in his most impressive season statistically: 73 catches for a league-high 1,304 yards and league-leading 16 touchdowns. He finished his career with 479 receptions for 8,046 yards (16.8 average) and 81 touchdowns.
The Hall’s Seniors Committee previously had trimmed a list of 31 Semifinalists to the 12 discussed Tuesday. Also presented were Ken Anderson, Maxie Baughan, Roger Craig, Joe Jacoby, Albert Lewis, Eddie Meador, Sterling Sharpe, Otis Taylor and Al Wistert. Each played his last game in professional football no later than the 1998 season.
The firm EY administered the voting process.
In 2022, the Hall of Fame’s Board of Trustees approved a change in its bylaws governing the selection process, enlarging the number of Finalists in the Seniors category to three for the classes of 2023, 2024 and 2025. With that change, those classes could be as large as nine enshrinees each: up to five Modern-Era Players, up to three Seniors and one Coach/Contributor.
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