Story from the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Eight “Heroes of the Game” have been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021. The Hall’s 48-person Selection Committee met virtually Jan. 19 for its annual meeting.
The new class of Enshrinees was just announced during “NFL Honors,” a two-hour primetime awards special that aired nationally tonight on CBS. The newest members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame are guard ALAN FANECA, coach TOM FLORES, wide receiver CALVIN JOHNSON, safety JOHN LYNCH, quarterback PEYTON MANNING, contributor BILL NUNN, wide receiver DREW PEARSON and cornerback/safety CHARLES WOODSON.
The annual selection meeting capped a year-round selection process. The newly elected Hall of Famers were chosen from a list of 18 Finalists who had been determined earlier by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee. Representatives of the accounting firm EY tabulated all votes during the virtual meeting.
The Class of 2021 will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame during “the greatest gathering of football” inside Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton on Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021.
PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2021
Guard … 6-4, 322 … Louisiana State … 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets,
2010 Arizona Cardinals
13 seasons, 206 games … First-round pick of Steelers (26th player overall) in 1998 NFL Draft … Missed just one game in career … Earned starting role in sixth game of rookie season … Helped pave way for 1,000-yard rushing season by Jerome Bettis to earn All-Rookie acclaim … Key leader of Steelers team that captured four division titles, including three in four-year span … Helped Steelers post 10-plus wins five times, including regular-season records of 13-3 (2001) and 15-1 (2004) … Veteran leadership integral to Jets playoff run to reach AFC championship in 2009 … Named All-Pro (first team) six times (2001-02, 2004-07) and second team in 2003 and 2008 … All-AFC seven consecutive seasons, 2001-07 … Selected to nine consecutive Pro Bowls … Started 14 career playoff games, including at left guard in four AFC Championship Games and Super Bowl XL … Dominating run blocker, led way for teams that finished among the NFL’s top 10 in rushing 11 times in 13 seasons … Blocked for nine 1,000-yard rushers and five 3,000-yard passers … Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s … Born Dec. 7, 1976 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Head Coach … Fresno City Junior College, University of Pacific … 1979-1987 Oakland/Los Angeles
Raiders, 1992-94 Seattle Seahawks
12 seasons … Regular season record: 97-87-0 … Postseason record: 8-3 … Overall record: 105-90-0 … Served as assistant coach for Raiders for seven seasons before being named head coach in 1979 … Led team to Super Bowl title in second season at helm … Guided Raiders to 27-10 victory over Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XV … Raiders became first wildcard team to win Super Bowl … Won second Super Bowl championship with Raiders 38-9 win over Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII … At time, his two Super Bowl coaching victories ranked behind only Chuck Noll … Flores’ led Raiders teams won 11 or more games in a season four times … Named AFC Coach of the Year after leading team to best record in AFC, 1982 … Raiders captured three divisio titles over four-year span (1982 AFC in strike-shortened season, 1983 and 1985 AFC Western) … Coached Seahawks for three seasons … Born March 21, 1937 in Fresno, California.
Wide Receiver … 6-5, 237 … Georgia Tech … 2007-2015 Detroit Lions
9 seasons, 135 games … Second overall selection of 2007 NFL Draft by Lions … Dominant wide receiver during his nine-season NFL career … Selected second overall in the 2007 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions, where he played his entire professional football career … Started in 130 of his 135 career games … Nicknamed “Megatron” for strong, robotic like abilities on the field … Seven seasons with 1,000-plus receiving yards … Earned NFL pass receiving yardage titles in 2011 and 2012 … At time of retirement in 2015, held NFL records for receiving yards in a season (1,964 yards in 2012) and most consecutive games with a 100 or more receiving yards (8) … Still holds the Lions’ record for most receptions (731) and receiving yards (11,619) … Career stats include 731 receptions for 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns… Earned Pro Bowl honors six consecutive years (2011-16) … First-Team All-Pro three times; second team once … Selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2010s … Born Sept. 29, 1985 in Tyrone, Georgia.
Safety … 6-2, 214 … Stanford … 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos
15 seasons, 224 games … Selected by Buccaneers in 3rd round (82nd player overall) in 1993 NFL Draft … Vital addition to Bucs defense that soon dominated NFL … Earned permanent starting role in fourth pro season, racked up more than 100 tackles and tied career-high with three interceptions … From that point forward, was anchor of secondary on a defense that perennially ranked among NFL’s best ... Voted to first of nine Pro Bowls following 1997 season … Earned All-Pro recognition three consecutive years (1999-2001) … In 2002, was integral part of Buccaneers’ championship season capped with franchise’s first Super Bowl title … Contributed 96 tackles (50 solo), three interceptions and 12 passes defensed as Bucs finished 12-4 ... In postseason, added five tackles in divisional playoff, six tackles in championship game and one tackle and pass defensed in Super Bowl XXXVII victory ... Signed as free agent with Denver in 2004 … Played final four seasons of 15-year career with Broncos ... Helped lead Broncos to conference championship game in second season … That year, recorded career-high four sacks, intercepted two passes, forced four fumbles and racked up 69 tackles ... Added three solo tackles, one assist and one pass defensed in 1995 AFC Championship Game ... In all, recorded 26 interceptions, returned for 204 yards, 13 sacks and more than 1,000 tackles ... Credited with 90 or more tackles in a season nine times … Born Sept. 25, 1971 in Hinsdale, Illinois.
Quarterback … 6-5, 230 … Tennessee … 1998-2011 Indianapolis Colts, 2012-15 Denver Broncos
18 seasons, 266 games … Selected by Colts as first overall pick of 1998 NFL Draft … Premier quarterback during his 18-season NFL career … Started in all but one of his 266 career games … Selected first overall in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts … 14 seasons with 4,000-plus yards passing ... Four Super Bowl appearances resulting in two victories (XLI with Colts, 50 with Broncos); Super Bowl XLI MVP … Held numerous NFL and team records at time of retirement in 2015, including career passing yards (71,940), career passing touchdowns (539) and consecutive seasons with at least 25 passing touchdowns (13) … 201 career wins including playoffs … set the single-season passing yardage record (5,477) in 2013 … Career stats: 6,125 completions on 9,380 attempts for 71,940 yards and 539 touchdowns … Earned Pro Bowl honors 14 times (2000-01, 2003-2011, 2013-15) … First-Team All-Pro seven times; Second-Team All-Pro three times … Named Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player five times (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2013) … NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s … Born March 24, 1976 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Senior Scout, Assistant Director of Player Personnel … West Virginia State College … 1968-2014 Pittsburgh Steelers
47 seasons … Pittsburgh Steelers “super scout” … Worked as a sportswriter and managing editor at The Pittsburgh Currier, one of the most influential black publications in the U.S. at the time, developing relationships and becoming extremely knowledgeable about the players and coaches affiliated with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) … Credited with helping build the Steelers’ dynasty of the 1970s; drafting JOHN STALLWORTH (Alabama A&M), MEL BLOUNT (Southern) and DONNIE SHELL (South Carolina State) from HBCUs … Had a knack for locating talent at other small colleges including JACK LAMBERT at Kent State University … Helped Steelers draft many players who would fill integral roles in the team’s six Super Bowl appearances during his tenure, IX, X, XIII, XIV, XL, XLIII … Member of the Inaugural Class of the Black College Football Hall of Fame … Enshrined in the Steelers’ Hall of Honor, 2018 ... Born Sept. 30, 1924 in Homewood, Pennsylvania. Died May 6, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Wide Receiver … 6-0, 184 … Tulsa … 1973-83 Dallas Cowboys
11 seasons, 156 games … Undrafted free agent, signed with Cowboys in 1973 … Retired as the Cowboys’ all-time leader for receptions (489) and receiving yards (7,822) … Caught 48 touchdown passes … Named a first-team All-Pro three times … Selected to play in three Pro Bowls … Member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1970s … Inserted into starting lineup in rookie season when a teammate got hurt and responded with 22 receptions for 388 yards and two touchdowns in 6 games … Added two TD catches in a postseason win over the Los Angeles Rams that season … Followed in 1974 with 62 catches for 1,087 yards … Team leader in receptions and receiving yards four consecutive seasons, 1974-77 … Led NFL with 870 receiving yards in 1977 … Seven catches for 113 yards in 1977 postseason as Cowboys won Super Bowl XII … Made three Super Bowl appearances in career … Big-game reputation reflected in 68 receptions for 1,131 yards (16.6 average) and 8 TDs in 22 postseason games … Teamed with Roger Staubach for memorable 50-yard score late in 1975 divisional playoff game at Minnesota, giving rise to the term “Hail Mary” pass … Born Jan. 12, 1951 in South River, New Jersey.
Cornerback/Safety … 6-1, 210 … Michigan … 1998-2005, 2013-15 Oakland Raiders, 2006-2012 Green Bay Packers
18 seasons, 254 games … Made an immediate impact for Raiders after being drafted fourth overall in 1998, earning the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year award and a Pro Bowl berth … Intercepted at least one pass in each of his 18 seasons (one year shy of Darrell Green’s NFL-record 19) … Totaled 65 career interceptions, tied for fifth in League history … Fourth in NFL history for passes defensed with 183 … Twice led NFL in interceptions (nine in 2009; seven in 2011) … In 2014, became first player in NFL history with 50 career interceptions and 20 sacks … Forced 33 fumbles and recovered 18 … AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 … Member of NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s … First-Team All-Pro four times … Elected to nine Pro Bowls … Appeared in Super Bowl XXXVII with Oakland, contributing five tackles and an interception in 48-21 loss to Tampa Bay … Contributed two tackles in 31-25 Green Bay victory over Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV … Co-holder of NFL record with 13 career defensive touchdowns … One of only two players (with Hall of Famer Marcus Allen) to win Heisman Trophy, AP (Defensive) Rookie of the Year, AP (Defensive) Player of the Year and a Super Bowl title in his career … Born Oct. 7, 1976 in Fremont, Ohio.
The Coach Finalist, Contributor Finalist and Senior Finalist were voted “yes” or “no” for election at the annual selection meeting and needed at least 80% support from the Committee to be elected. The Modern-Era Finalists were trimmed during the meeting from 15 to 10, then from 10 to five. They, too, had to receive the same 80% positive vote as the Coach, Contributor and Senior Finalists when they were voted “yes” or “no” to earn election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame’s membership, including the newly elected Class of 2021, now stands at 354.
‘TWICE THE FUN IN ’21’
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls, a multi-day celebration of the enshrinement of the newest Hall of Fame Class, is held each year in Canton. Faneca, Flores, Johnson, Lynch, Manning, Nunn, Pearson and Woodson will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021. The ceremony is nationally televised by NFL Network and ESPN.
The 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls kicks off the NFL’s 102nd season with the annual Hall of Fame Game on Thursday, Aug. 5. Other major events complementing the Class of 2021 Enshrinement and Hall of Fame Game are the nationally televised Enshrinees’ Gold Jacket Dinner (Friday, Aug. 6), the Enshrinement of the Centennial Class of 2020 (Saturday, Aug. 7) and the Enshrinees Roundtable (Sunday, Aug. 8). The festivities, comprising “the greatest gathering in football,” wrap up Monday night (Aug. 9) with the Concert for Legends.
The Hall of Fame Game, two Enshrinements and the Concert for Legends will be held in the world-class Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. The venue is a key component of Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village under construction on the Hall’s campus.
More than 130 Gold Jackets (living Hall of Famers) return to the Hall of Fame each year to be part of Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls. Nowhere else are fans able to see and interact with as many Hall of Famers in one place at one time as in Canton during the annual celebration.
2021 ENSHRINEMENT WEEK POWERED BY JOHNSON CONTROLS OFFICIAL TICKET PACKAGES
Official Ticket Packages for the 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls are on sale from Hall of Fame Experiences. Head to www.HOFExperiences.com
to secure your spot to see the Class of 2021 enshrined. Ticket packages also can be obtained by calling 844-751-0532. Packages range from single-day offerings to four-day experiences that include premium seating, VIP access, exclusive parties and more.
Individual tickets for the Class of 2021 Enshrinement, Gold Jacket Dinner and Concert for Legends will go on sale in the Spring.