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A Look at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Senior Class

by Bryan Dietzler

The Hall of Fame senior class has been selected and there is a bevy of great guys who will be added to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year. While the voters seemed to have gotten it right they may have left a player or two out but that’s up for debate. I would say that they pretty much nailed it when it comes to getting guys into the Hall.

So, which former players, coaches and front office people made it into the Hall of Fame this year? Which people were part of the class of 2020? What did these former footballers do that made them so good, good enough that they got into the Pro Football Hall of Fame? Let’s find out as we review each player with a quick blurb about what they did that made them as great as they were.

The following are the two coaches that were selected to the Hall of Fame this year.

Bill Cowher-Cowher, the former Pittsburgh Steelers’ head coach is well-deserving of this honor. He was a Super Bowl-winning coach with the team and was one of the better coaches of his time. All told, Cowher’s Steeler’s teams played in a total of 21 playoff games and went to the Super Bowl twice. They won one Super Bowl under Cowher. His winning percentage, over the 15 years he coached was .623.

Jimmy Johnson-Johnson was most well known for coaching the Dallas Cowboys from 1989-1993. He also coached the Miami Dolphins for three years. It was during his time with the Cowboys where he would shine. He took the Cowboys to the playoffs in three out of the five years he was there winning seven out of eight playoff games including two Super Bowls. Although his time in Dallas was short, Johnson made the most of it.

The following were the three contributors that made it into the Hall of Fame this year:

Steve Sabol-Sabol was the president of NFL Films, the company that worked with the NFL to document games and highlights from those games. Everyone who has been a fan of the NFL for more than 15 years should recognize Sabol and know him for his accomplishments. His handling of the film end of the NFL will be remembered for all time. Sabol was truly a great historian and documentarian of professional football.

Paul Tagliabue-Tagliabue was the commissioner of the NFL from 1989 to 2006. During his time as commissioner, the NFL took a big step forward and brought itself into the new era. Tagliabue’s contributions to that advancement were great and he helped keep the league going through tough times.

George Young-Young spent his time with several organizations during his time in the NFL in the capacity of a General Manager and a contributor. He was with the Baltimore Colts from 1968 to 1974, the Miami Dolphins from 1975-1978, the New York Giants from 1987 to 1997 and the NFL itself from 1997 to 2001. Young’s influence on the game can still be felt to this day. He brought a lot to the game and helped make this league what it is today.

The following is the listing of senior members who were voted into the Hall of Fame.

Harold Carmichael-Carmichael played for both the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys from 1971 to 1984. He caught the ball a total of 590 times for 8985 yards. Carmichael played in 182 games with 160 starts. He registered 79 touchdowns and averaged 15.2 yards per reception. Some of the honors that Carmichael picked up during his playing days include being named to four Pro Bowls. He was recognized for his great play on the field by being selected as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Jim “Jimbo” Covert-As a fan of the Chicago Bears, this is a great thing to see happen. Covert was part of that offensive line that helped block for what many consider the greatest running back in history, Walter Payton. He has been named, by some, as one of the best tackles they ever played against. All told, Covert played in 111 games starting 110 of them. Some of the honors that Covert earned included being named to two Pro Bowls and two first-team All-Pro squads. Covert also received numerous honors and accolades from the press. He was part of that great Super Bowl team during the 1985 to 1986 season. His selection is well deserved.

Bobby Dillion-Dillion played safety for the Green Bay Packers from 1952 to 1959. During his career, Dillion was responsible for intercepting 52 passes. He also scored five touchdowns. Dillon was a starter in 92 out of 94 games. He was selected to the Pro Bowl four times and was named a first-team All-Pro four times. While his career was shorter he had an impact on the game and deserves his Hall of Fame selection.

Cliff Harris-Harris was a safety for the Dallas Cowboys from 1970 to 1979. He started a total of 130 out of 141 games. Harris intercepted the ball 29 times and had one touchdown. When it came to honors, he was named to the Pro Bowl six times and was an All-Pro three times. Harris was one of the most consistent players in Dallas Cowboys history and was one of their brightest stars.

Winston Hill-Hill was an offensive tackle who played for two NFL teams. He was with the New York Jets from 1963 to 1976 and the Los Angeles Rams in 1977. During his time in the league, Hill played in 198 games with 122 starts. He was selected to eight Pro Bowls.

Alex Karras-Karras played his football with the Detroit Lions in two separate “sprints”. He was with them from 1958 to 1962 to start and then again from 1964 to 1970. He started 156 out of 161 games. Karras recovered 16 fumbles and four interceptions during his time as a defensive tackle with the Lions. Some of the honors he received include being named to the Pro Bowl four times and being named First-Team All-Pro three times. One thing to note, the year break that Karras had in 1963 was due to a league suspension for gambling.

Donnie Shell-Shell was a safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1974 to 1987. During his time with the Steelers, he played in 201 games with 162 starts. He had 51 interceptions and recovered 19 fumbles. A few of the accolades that he picked up during his time with the Steelers included being named to the Pro Bowl five times, being named a First-Team All-Pro three times and Defensive Player of the Week twice. He was part of some good Steelers teams.

Duke Slater-Slater has the honor of being the player that played the furthest back in history having played for three teams in the early ’20s to early 30s. Slater, an offensive tackle, was part of the Milwaukee Badgers in 1922, the Rock Island Independents from 1922 to 1925 and the Chicago Cardinals in 1931. He played in 90 games with 87 starts. He made a few All-Pro teams, named by newspapers back when he played. It would have been awesome to see him play in person.

Mac Speedie-Speedie was an end, or what is known today as a tight end, for the Cleveland Browns from 1946 to 1952. He played in 86 games with 74 starts. Speedie caught 349 passes for 5602 yards and 33 touchdowns. Some of the honors that he earned while playing with the Browns included being named to the Pro Bowl twice and the All-Pro Team, First Team, three times. Speedie was consistently in the top ten in receiving categories during his career.

Ed Sprinkle-Sprinkle played a variety of positions on offense and defense with the Chicago Bears from 1944 to 1955. He was a linebacker, a defensive end, and a tight end. He played in 132 games with 89 starts. Sprinkle caught a total of 32 passes for 451 yards and seven touchdowns but his primary role was on defense where he shined. Some of the honors that he picked up included being named to the Pro Bowl four times.

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