Class of 2022
Super Bowl Victories
"Nobody drowns in sweat."
Dick Vermeil was head coach of three National Football League franchises over 15 seasons. He mastered the three-year turnaround, leading the Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs to the postseason after years – nearly two decades for the Eagles – on the outside looking in.
Vermeil’s climb to an NFL job was a steady ascent that played out in his native California – from high school coach to junior college coach to four years (1965-68) as an assistant at Stanford.
In 1969, Vermeil became the NFL’s first designated special teams coach as a member of Hall of Famer George Allen’s staff with the Los Angeles Rams. He then spent the 1970 season as an assistant at UCLA before returning to the Rams as an assistant (1971-73).
UCLA offered Vermeil its head coaching job in 1974. In two seasons, he posted a 15-5-3 record that culminated in an upset of Ohio State in the 1976 Rose Bowl, denying the Buckeyes the national championship and making Vermeil a hot prospect for an NFL job.
He got it in Philadelphia. By Year 3 (1978), the Eagles made the playoffs – their first postseason appearance since winning the 1960 NFL Championship Game. Two seasons later, the Eagles won the NFC title and reached Super Bowl XV. Vermeil coached two more years in Philadelphia, then abruptly resigned following the strike-affected 1982 season, citing “burnout.”
He spent the next 14 seasons as an NFL and college football analyst for CBS and ABC.
The St. Louis Rams lured Vermeil back to the sidelines in 1997. He took over a team that had not posted a winning record in seven seasons. By Year 3, the Rams went 13-3 and won Super Bowl XXXIV with “The Greatest Show on Turf.” He won the AP’s Coach of the Year Award.
Vermeil retired 11 days after that victory and stayed out of the League for one season.
He returned to coach the Chiefs, and in Year 3 ended the franchise’s five-year playoff drought with a 13-3 record.
Vermeil finished his NFL coaching career with a 126-114 record, including 6-5 in the playoffs.
|Regular Season||Post Season||Overall|
1980 NFC — Philadelphia Eagles 20, Dallas Cowboys 7
1999 NFC — St. Louis Rams 11, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6
Super Bowl XXXIV — St. Louis Rams 23, Tennessee Titans 16
Birthdate: October 30, 1936
Birthplace: Calistoga, California
High School: Calistoga (CA)
You bet Eagles, you bet Rams, you bet Chiefs, you bet Hillsdale High School, you bet Napa College, you bet UCLA. Thank you very much.
Carl Peterson, thank you for your presentation. Thank you for 48 years of consistent, loyal, personal, professional and financial support. I love you, buddy. You've been a main, main key and cog in my life for a long time.
The other person was John Sciarra. Who knows John Sciarra anymore? Well, if you played in the Pac 10, you would've known him. John Sciarra was the most valuable player in the Rose Bowl. Jan. 1, 1976, when we beat the No. 1 team in the country, Ohio State and Woody Hayes. Major upset.
The reason I'm here today is because how well John Sciarra played that day, not because of how bright I was as a football coach. He played lights out. I was fortunate enough to bring him back later and make a safety out of him. I needed his support. I needed him covering my back. So, Johnny, thank you. Thank you very much.
Hall of Fame class of '22. What an honor. What an honor to share this stage, this honor with you. Bill McPherson loved you, Mr. Bryant. Your coach, he worked for me at UCLA and the Philadelphia Eagles. He loved you. He predicted you would be here.
Thank you, guys, for sharing the 2022 class. Thank you, Hall of Famers. Thank you, Hall of Famers. There are a couple guys in here I'm not too excited about. Cliff Harris, Keith Krepfle is out there somewhere looking for you, OK? OK? But anyway, thank you.
You know, I've been fortunate in my career to have had the opportunity to coach 10 Hall of Fame football players as a head coach, five Hall of Fame players as an assistant coach, coach and work with three NFL Hall of Fame coaches in George Allen, Sid Gillman and the great Bill Walsh. Unbelievable.
I've had the opportunity to coach against 12 head football coaches that are already in the Hall of Fame. Many of them kicked my butt many, many times. But I'm so gracious because they provided me an example and an opportunity to learn from them.
I learned from my players. Many people said to me, Coach, you impact players. It's the other way around. Players impact me. Last night, sitting behind me was Mike Jones. If Mike Jones doesn't make the tackle on the last play of the Super Bowl XXXIV, I'm not here today.
Players win games. It's our job to prepare them, to get them ready to win games and share relationships and work ethics and everything else with them. So, I will forever be in debt. I will be forever in debt to all you people.
And to be selected now as the 28th NFL head coach to be put in this position, to accept a Hall of Fame honor as a football coach, is an expectation I never, ever held high in my life at any time.
Two years ago, I started hearing rumors, and I said, “Well, maybe sometime it'll happen. I don't know.” But I just never put myself in the same category of those other 27 coaches.
So, I am deeply indebted to so many contributors to my career. In fact, I'm so indebted to so many people, in the time they allotted me to speak, I won't be able to cover all the basis adequately.
But I know this: The first thank you has to go to Sal Paolantonio, who presented me to the voting committee. Thank you, Sal. You obviously did an unbelievable job because the voters believed you. I appreciate that. I do very much.
Thank you to the advocates, owners, NFL head coaches, college coaches, NFL players, assistant coaches, Hall of Famers, Hillsdale High School kids. That's Ray Didinger sitting out there that back Sal Paolantonio. I appreciate it very much, Sal. You must have done a hell of a job to put me up here today. Thank you.
Thank you Bill Wood, Calistoga High School. Eighteen hundred people in town, 20 kids on our team. My high school football coach that initiated my thinking about wanting to become a high school football coach.
Thank Napa College, coach Paul Lathrop, Glenn Dubose, for providing me an opportunity to initiate my growth both academically and athletically, and then sending me on to San Jose State as a walk-on. Thank you, Dr. Robert Bronzan, Bob Titchenal, my two San Jose State football coaches for seeing talent in me I didn't see in myself.
Thank you, Hillsdale High School, Frank Collin. John Gilmer. Where is John, assistant coach? He was my one assistant. Ninety years old. Drove across the United States to be here. I love you, buddy. Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you, Martha. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you to the players on those teams. My gosh, where is my Hillsdale guys? Now remember – here they are. I still call them kids. They're in their high 70s today, OK? My two starting guards, offensive center, the quarterback and running back and the captain of the team is sitting back there from Hillsdale High School. Guys, give me a growl. All right, guys.
Thank you for being here. What an honor.
Thank you, George Allen, for providing me my first opportunity to coach in the National Football League as the first special teams coach ever hired. Can you imagine being around George Allen and the kind of staff he had? Ted Marchibroda. Howard Schnellenberger. Unbelievable.
George Allen, 71% career winning record. Only two coaches in the history of the league have more. Madden, OK, and the great Lombardi, and that's only by 1%.
Imagine the impact a man like George Allen can make on a young special teams coach.
Thank you, Tommy Prothro for bringing me to UCLA to be your offensive coordinator, OK, and then taking me back to the Rams to run your offense in 1971 and '72. I probably got him fired. I probably get him fired.
He was a great football coach. He thought I had enough experience to be his coordinator coming out of college and then do it in the NFL. Thank heavens for Roman Gabriel. He covered. I learned so much from Roman Gabriel. Where is his son? Roman Jr.? Stand up. Where are you? Thank you for representing your dad. Roman couldn't come. Health reasons. Thank you for being here.
I learned so much from a lot of those players. I hired one of them, Kenny Iman. I told him, “Kenny, when you get out of playing and if I ever get a head coaching job, I'm bringing you with me.”
Tom Mack, where are you? You were on that team. You helped a lot as well. You remember how little I knew, don't you? Don't say yes. Don't say yes. OK.
Thank you, Chuck Knox, for keeping me on the Rams staff to coach your running backs and special teams when you took over as head coach in 1973. Chuck Knox had a great way of communicating with people. He really did. He had great, great expressions and intensity. When he got mad, it's amazing how he could light up a meeting room.
Thank you, Chuck Knox and Shirley. I know you're watching today. I hope you're enjoying my Sauvignon Blanc.
Thank you, J.D. Morgan, UCLA athletic director, for bringing me back to UCLA as your head coach in 1974. Thank you, Bruins players and staff. You just saw one of them. You just saw one.
Thank you for becoming a great football team the second year and upsetting the mighty Ohio State Buckeyes. If you don't do that, the ownership from the Philadelphia Eagles don't get on a plane right after the game – so help me God, it's the truth – and fly to Southern California, take up hotel rooms in Beverly Hills and start calling me, and spent four days recruiting me to come and coach their football team in Philadelphia.
If my football team in UCLA and my coaching staff doesn't do as good a job as they did then, I'm not standing here today. Thank you, Leonard Tose, owner; not here. Passed away many years ago.
Thank you, Jimmy Murray, general manager. Not here for health reasons. His son Jimmy; where are you, Jimmy? Where is young Jimmy? Thank you for covering for your dad, buddy. Your dad knows how I feel about him, and let's hope he gets healthy enough to do these things himself one day ahead of us.
You know, my coaching staff at Philadelphia, there is only three of them left, OK. Lynn Stiles is here. Lynn, where are you? Lynn is here. God bless you. Lynn Stiles was with me at UCLA, Philadelphia, St. Louis Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs. Thank you, Lynn Stiles. God bless you.
Jerry Wampfler is not here.
Carl Peterson was the other assistant coach on that staff.
Thank you, John Wooden. I took every opportunity I had to spend time with John Wooden. Yes, he's coaching basketball, but when you watch him practice, the intensity and the discipline and the structure was there of a great football practice and a great football coach.
It was so exciting. I learned so much from him. A philosophy he implanted in me in conversation, I think about it all the time. One time I was complaining about the players we lost in recruiting. He said, “Sit down.” I sit down. When John Wooden says sit down, you sit down. I sit down.
“Now listen, coach, don't worry about those players you don't have. Just make sure you do a great job of making those who you have the best they can possibly be.”
I have operated under that simple philosophy the rest of my coaching career. It is so simple, and someone used common sense made that statement. It is so true, so true.
So, gosh darn it, thank you, John Wooden.
Thank you, ABC, CBS for bringing me into broadcasting when I wasn't smart enough to listen to the people around me telling me, “You better slow down. You can't keep doing what you’re doing.”
I was so insecure. I could hear, but I wouldn't listen. I paid the price for it. Thank you, Carol, for saying, “It’s time to get your butt out of there.” And I did.
But I learned so much in broadcasting. Can you imagine having free access to a Don Shula practice and meeting room? Tom Coughlin, one of the finest football coaches to ever coach the game? Tom Osborne? And be there and listen to them talk, watch their coaches coach, watch them practice, look at their game film?
Every week I learned something more for 14 years. Thank you to the broadcasters that sat next to me. Two of them are here. Gary Bender, where are you, Gary? Thank you for getting here. Thank you.
Roger Twibell, where are you? Thank you. We did a lot of games together and had a lot of fun.
Brent Musburger could not be here, but he knows I love him and he knows how much he contributed to this opportunity for me to be here.
Thank you, Georgia Frontiere, John Shaw and Jay Zigman? Where is John Shaw? John Shaw, the president. Stand up, John. Jay Zigman, where are you? Stand up, Jay. Stand up. I want to see you. Thank you. Thank you.
Can you imagine a president of an NFL football team today – today – hiring somebody that hadn't coached in 14 years? You talk about guts. John Shaw, I will forever be indebted for the decisions you made. It was just unbelievable.
Thank you to my personnel department led by Charley Armey and John Becker. Charley couldn't be here today; got some illness in the family. Charley, you know how I feel about you. You provided me and my staff with so many good football players.
Orlando Pace, all these guys, London – I mean, so many. Torry Holt is sitting out there who will be a Hall of Famer soon. They did unbelievable.
My coaching staff. I'm given credit all the time for being, oh, what was it, the fastest, the greatest show on turf. Mike Martz, stand up. Stand up, Mike Martz. Stand up. There is the orchestrator of the Greatest Show on Turf right there.
Al Saunders, all you guys. Where are you, Al, all you guys, my Kansas City staff? Stand up, be recognized. These are the guys. Thank you, Al. Thank you very much.
I was fortunate enough and smart enough to bring Al with me when I went to Kansas City. Great football coach, great human being.
There are other coaches out there as well. Unbelievable. I know this: Kevin Warren is out there. Runs the Big Ten, guys. He runs the Big Ten. Kevin, thank you for keeping my guys out of trouble most of the time, OK? Most of the time.
All right, well, you know there are other guys on that staff. You haven't heard me mention Wilbert Montgomery yet. Wilbert played for me and was responsible for so much of the success we had in Philadelphia.
I made a coach out of him when I went back into coaching. Wilbert, stand up. Wilbert Montgomery. Thank you, buddy. You know I love you. The players used to call him Wilbert Vermeil. They knew I loved him.
John Bunning is here. John both played for me and coached for me. John, where are you, buddy? Thank you for being here. I don't know if you got through that party you guys put on last night or not, but I hope you did.
There is a whole group. There they are. Thank you, John. Thank you all, you guys. Thank you very much.
Thank you, St. Louis fans, St. Louis Rams fans. Thank you. You proved you were more than just a baseball fan. You really did when you got involved with our team.
Thank you, Philadelphia Eagle fans. You know, I feel so close to you guys. I feel that I know each one of you personally. Thank you for being here as fans. Thank you fans at home that accept me as part of your community.
Thank you, Lamar Hunt and Norma, the finest couple I think I've ever met in pro football. Unbelievable. Clark Hunt and Tavia, son and daughter-in-law, came to be here last night and to see me this morning. Thank you for making that effort.
Along with them came Andy Reid and Tammy. Head coach in training camp, left training camp and flew here to say congratulations to me personally last night. I have never had in my coaching career a better display of respect from someone else in the profession that you were in than what Andy Reid did for me last night.
It will always touch me. Thank you, Andy and Tammy. It was unbelievable.
Allen Wright, my equipment guy was with them as well. God darn it. I just wish I had time to go through every one of them.
Thank you, coaching staff; my Chiefs coaching staff was unbelievable. Mike Solari, Keith Rowan. Al Saunders ran the offense. Someday they're going to start putting assistant coaches in the Hall of Fame. Mike Martz and Al Saunders will be in those classes. Outstanding. Not that the other coaches aren't of the same caliber, but thank you, guys. They're wonderful guys.
Frank Gansz Sr. coached with me at the Rams. Probably the most complete football coach I ever worked with in every category of coaching. He is long gone, but God did we lose a great person and coach. Fortunately, his son, Frank Gansz Jr., was with us in Kansas City.
I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with three great owners, three great administrative staffs, three personnel departments, and most importantly, three outstanding coaching staffs and players.
It's amazing, people that just, they put everything else aside and put every responsibility they had in front of them and attacked it with great admiration and intensity and concentration. What contributors.
I'm very sorry to say there are some players and coaches that have passed on that I can't say thank you personally to. I know many of their families are listening, maybe watching on television. Thank you for sharing your husband, thank you for sharing you dad with me and making a contribution to me having the opportunity to stand here today.
Unbelievable. Unbelievable men.
I saved my family for last because I knew if I started with them first I wouldn't get to the rest of it, OK?
Thank you, Louie and Alice Vermeil in Calistoga. You talk about original, good old-fashioned American people. My mother had the compassion of an angel; my dad was tough. He taught me hard work wasn't a form of punishment. He loved football. He always said, “If you live your life the way you learn to play football, everything will work out just fine for you.” I think most of us agree.
Thank you, Louie and Alice Vermeil.
Thank you, sister Laura Vermeil. God bless you. Thank you. Thank you, brother Al Vermeil. He's got six world – seven – world championship rings himself. Six of them NBA Chicago (Bulls) strength coach, one with Bill Walsh. Hell, they even named a high school football practice field after him. Congratulations Al, thank you.
Thank you, Stanley Vermeil. He couldn't be here today for health reasons. Thank you, Stan. Thank you, family, for covering for me and adding so much depth to my life when I was off coaching football teams and you were covering for my family responsibilities with mom and dad.
You notice I didn't get into talking about a lot of other things that would make me cry, OK? But when I talk about Carol Vermeil. It ain't going to work, OK?
I say this: Look at the players. Look at the coaches. Look. I hope people see this. Carol Vermeil as a football coach has no equal. Never has, never will. Look at them. They know. They know. Those guys up here know.
She's fed most of them. She's counseled people in marriage problems. She's done it all. So thank you, Carol. Sixty-six years. The only thing I ever put on my body more important than this jacket was the wedding ring she gave me 66 years ago.
Our children, Rick, Dave, Nancy, their spouses, my 11 grandchildren and two great grandchildren, God bless you. You know what I'm saying about Nanny. You know what I'm saying about Carol, your mother, your grandmother. She has no equal. She has no equal.
She doesn't like compliments, but everyone that has ever worked for and played for me knows what I'm saying is true.
In closing, let me say I will forever be appreciative and grateful for that honor, and about the only thing that will make me feel a little better about me standing here as the 28th NFL Hall of Fame football coach is when I see Mike Holmgren come in, when I see Dan Reeves come in, when I see Marty Schottenheimer come in, when I see Mike Shanahan come in, when I see Tom Coughlin come in, when I see George Siefert come in, when I see Don Coryell come in. Because believe me, if I deserve it, so do they.
Ladies and gentlemen, Kansas City Chiefs people, Kansas City fans, the Kansas City people are the most passionate and compassionate combination of fans I've ever been around. They were so, so great to represent. And Lamar and all you people, Carl who brought me there, thank all of you.
Thank you, the Hall of Famers, here. I see Tony sitting there. You know how much smarter I got when Marshall Faulk showed up in St. Louis? It's amazing how much better coach I became.
Anyway, thank you all Hall of Famers. Harold Carmichael, where are you, buddy? Hey, we're hooked at the hip.
Kurt Warner. His story is true. Where would I be without Kurt Warner? I wouldn't be standing here.
Gosh, thank you for the contributions all you guys made. Isaac Bruce. Isaac Bruce. He's in here already.
Thank you for the contributions you made to my career and all the rest of you. God bless you.