In addition to players and head coaches, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has a catchall “contributor” category that allows people to be enshrined in Canton for what they did away from the field. But not many contributors actually ge elected.
Of the last 40 people enshrined in the Hall, only two of them — Bills owner Ralph Wilson and NFL Films founder Ed Sabol — were from the contributor category. Joe Horrigan, the Hall’s vice president of communications and exhibits, says the Hall would like to change the way it does business to make a clearer path for contributors.
“I can’t tell you we’re real close to a solution, but as we do every year, we do discuss the possibility,” Horrigan told Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “We don’t want to have second-tier Hall of Famers in the sense someone snuck in the back door. That’s kind of the issue always. We continue to address it. Eventually, I think we’ll probably come up with some sort of a modification.”
Whatever the Hall of Fame does, it would be wise to separate contributors from players. The Hall of Fame Selection Committee is currently faced with the thankless task of comparing people like Steve Sabol of NFL Films or former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue with former players. And really, how do you determine whether Sabol is more deserving than an offensive lineman? Voting on contributors separately would make a lot of sense.