Skip to content

Hall of Fame adds contributors category

Getty Images

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has decided to create a separate category for contributors to the game of football, who will now be nominated using a separate process from the way players and coaches are chosen for enshrinement in Canton.

In the past, contributors were elected in the same way that players and coaches were. But some voters and fans didn’t think that made much sense: After all, when the Hall of Fame Selection Committee is having its annual meeting on the day before the Super Bowl, how are they supposed to make a judgment between a player and a person like NFL Films founder Ed Sabol, a Hall of Famer whose contributions to the game aren’t easily enumerated through stats and Pro Bowl appearances.

Now contributors will be voted upon separately, using a process similar to the process for nominating senior candidates — a “contributors committee” will nominate a finalist, and although that finalist will be voted upon by the regular Hall of Fame Selection Committee, that vote will be separate from the vote on players and coaches. So a contributor (who could be an owner, commissioner or anyone else who has contributed to the sport off the field) will not be competing with a player for a spot in the Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame believes there’s currently a backlog contributor candidates, so in 2015, 2017 and 2019 it will allow up to two contributors to be enshrined. In other years only one contributor can be enshrined per year.

Basically, this is good news for the Hall of Fame hopes of contributors who have been voted down recently. That includes former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., former Browns and Ravens owner Art Modell and former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Don’t be surprised if two of those three are putting on gold blazers in Canton a year from now.

Permalink 76 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Rumor Mill, Top Stories
76 Responses to “Hall of Fame adds contributors category”
  1. barsfordays says: Aug 1, 2014 6:48 PM

    Stupidity if u ask me.

  2. thestrategyexpert says: Aug 1, 2014 6:50 PM

    I promise I won’t be surprised when Roger Goodell gets elected.

  3. kingpel says: Aug 1, 2014 6:57 PM

    That was fast! They were just thinking about it yesterday.

  4. digitalsasquatch says: Aug 1, 2014 6:57 PM

    What size blazer does Art wear?

  5. sickoe47 says: Aug 1, 2014 6:59 PM

    I contribute to profootballtalk do I get into the hall?!

  6. gadgetdawg says: Aug 1, 2014 7:00 PM

    No thanks. I love NFL Films but that is the BUSINESS of football. I think only those folks who were great in the GAME of football should be in the HOF. Players and coaches only please.

    If you think those other folks should be immortalized create your own “People that made the league owners rich but did didn’t actually contribute anything to making the game itself more exciting” Hall. I’m sure somebody would care about it.

  7. floriosbigtoe says: Aug 1, 2014 7:00 PM

    Just put Goodell in tomorrow.

  8. theanalyticalkid says: Aug 1, 2014 7:05 PM

    “I promise I won’t be surprised when Roger Goodell gets elected.”


    I’d give anything to go back to the days of 1980’s football.

  9. gromit45 says: Aug 1, 2014 7:08 PM

    I nominate Billy “White Shoes” Johnson for making the end zone dance cool.

    (It’s other players that ruined it later)

  10. titansfan1950 says: Aug 1, 2014 7:10 PM

    The truly embarrassing part is that now “contributors” are apparently worthy of enshrinement but assistant coaches, who contribute as much, or more to winning than anyone still get no recognition. I guess that because skip bayless can’t rattle off a bunch of dline coaches.

  11. natelan says: Aug 1, 2014 7:14 PM

    I don’t care what category you put him in, but Don Correyel needs to be in the HOF already!

  12. Most of you would be rapturous if your team won just one measly Super Bowl. We won it once, then again, and again, and again, yet again, oh, look, another one. You shrivel in our shadow. We define greatness. We built the NFL. We are the Steelers. says: Aug 1, 2014 7:22 PM

    The entire city of Pittsburgh belongs in Canton

  13. drunkwino says: Aug 1, 2014 7:25 PM

    “Eddie DeBartolo Jr.”
    You must be joking. A guy who went to jail and was forced into handing over his ownership is a Hall of Fame hopeful?!? Players with legitimate HoF worthy resume’s and DeBartolo’s name is even in the discussion? That’s sick.

  14. cjpackfan says: Aug 1, 2014 7:35 PM

    Elmo Wright(u of houston) predates billie white shoe johnson

  15. hjb99992013 says: Aug 1, 2014 7:36 PM

    What a joke

    The HOF should be for men who actually played the game at a high level

    Not for Billionaires who extorted tax money from the local communities

  16. cjpackfan says: Aug 1, 2014 7:37 PM

    debartolo..a convicted felon…..yup, he sure belongs in canton!(not)

  17. gfan8611 says: Aug 1, 2014 7:37 PM

    I guarantee you that when Roger puts himself in the Hall of Fame the first words out of his mouth will be ‘this is what the fans wanted’ and his closing remarks will be the league has bought the Hall and is moving it all to Tokyo, Japan because ‘it’s what the fans want’.

  18. rajbais says: Aug 1, 2014 7:39 PM

    Former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue better get in. At least he didn’t let the league get out of control the way Goodell has.

    Then again, those who don’t deserve the vote (the writers) will unfortunately keep him out.

    The commish w/all labor peace unlike Goodell and Rozelle can’t get into Canton?

  19. hounds64 says: Aug 1, 2014 7:40 PM

    Roger decided Roger wants a jacket

  20. rr2000k says: Aug 1, 2014 7:43 PM

    About friggin time!

  21. justintuckrule says: Aug 1, 2014 7:54 PM

    If it’s like a next best thing for those that could possibly never make it for real, they should make a similar Lombardi contributor trophy and give that to the Eagles every year.

  22. hakunamangata says: Aug 1, 2014 7:55 PM

    What’s next mascots?

  23. devrocks247 says: Aug 1, 2014 7:55 PM

    I would pay good money to see Art Modell putting on a gold blazer in Canton a year from now. Then again, I’d also pay good money to see a ‘Weekend at Bernie’s 3,’ so…

  24. pftcoachmen says: Aug 1, 2014 8:07 PM

    Get Buddy Ryan in there.

    Also Jim Finks

  25. coachbeck says: Aug 1, 2014 8:07 PM

    Lol contributors.

    Put in art modell. And make the browns play in the game.

  26. seatownballers says: Aug 1, 2014 8:16 PM

    Nominate Ray Finkle

  27. balsagna says: Aug 1, 2014 8:22 PM

    Good luck putting Art Modell in the hall of fame. Cleveland will never forget, and luckily we are 40 minutes from the hall.

  28. turkjones says: Aug 1, 2014 8:23 PM

    Are there any other owners in the HoF who had to abandon their hometown and then sell their team to avoid bankruptcy? I would think that the ability to run your own team in a financially responsible manner ought to be a (low) first hurdle to clear before being considered for the HoF. A guy may make some fantastic contributions to the Shield, but if he can’t keep his own house solvent, let alone make money from the NFL cash cow, how can he be considered for any league-wide honor?

  29. autumnwind999 says: Aug 1, 2014 8:39 PM

    Steve Sabol should be the first contributor in.

  30. autumnwind999 says: Aug 1, 2014 8:41 PM

    The fact Tim Brown still isn’t in despite being second all-time in most major receiving categories when he retired tells you what a joke the HOF Committee and its fanboy writers are.

  31. bobnelsonjr says: Aug 1, 2014 8:47 PM

    I, like fans across the nation, will protest any of the names mentioned in the last paragraph attempts to to be enshrined as a “contributor.”

    If you really want to wreck the Hall of Fame and drive people away, just have the “committee” of unknowns, nominate Howard Cosell. That’s the one that will trigger the Crazy Geezers protests.

  32. comebacksonics says: Aug 1, 2014 8:48 PM

    Finally a place in the hall for Vikings and Seahawks great ” Bob Lurtsema”

  33. atlantacynic says: Aug 1, 2014 8:53 PM

    “This is good news for the Hall of Fame hopes of contributors who have been voted down recently. That includes former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., former Browns and Ravens owner Art Modell and former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.”

    Because you can never have enough convicted felons, owners who abandoned a city with a rich football tradition, or commissioners who oversaw the coverup of the relationship between concussions and debilitating brain damage in the Hall of Fame

    Maybe Mike Webster’s widow can give the induction speech for Paul Tagliabue

  34. uglydingo says: Aug 1, 2014 8:55 PM

    In addition to former owners, Eddie DeBartolo and Art Modell, some great current owners like Jim Irsay, Mike Brown, Jerry Jones, the Rooneys, Bob Kraft, John Mara, and Dan Snyder would all like a gold jacket and a bronze bust in the Hall like Ralph. (Jerry for his innovative initiatives like the giant screen to watch the game while you’re at the game and Dan for his steadfast promotion of Native American culture). They may not have played or coached the game but they paid for the great players, coaches, commissioners and there would be no game without great ownership.
    Roger what can you do to organize a special category to get these great men in the HOF? Bonus time is coming up and what have you done for us lately? Keep your nose clean and you’ll get a jacket too.

  35. mason527 says: Aug 1, 2014 9:07 PM

    No way Art gets in the HOF dead or alive!!!

  36. rcali says: Aug 1, 2014 9:09 PM

    The can add another wing for their “Soap Boxers” featuring Peter King and Bob Costas.

  37. jonnyfootball82 says: Aug 1, 2014 9:31 PM

    Shouldn’t Dr. James Andrews be in the hall of fame? He’s been an integral part in extending many star players’ careers

  38. booboobythelake says: Aug 1, 2014 9:36 PM

    Can we call this the “modell rule”?

  39. cubsin2049 says: Aug 1, 2014 9:40 PM

    “Eddie DeBartolo Jr.”
    You must be joking. A guy who went to jail and was forced into handing over his ownership is a Hall of Fame hopeful?!? Players with legitimate HoF worthy resume’s and DeBartolo’s name is even in the discussion? That’s sick.

    He never went to jail my man. Never went to jail. You may not like him but please, at lease get your facts straight.

  40. 4grammarpolice says: Aug 1, 2014 9:46 PM

    Paul Tagliabue? For what? Hiring a rheumatologist to tell everyone concussions aren’t serious?

  41. gurnblanstonreturns says: Aug 1, 2014 9:46 PM

    When will the NFL establish a Hall of Fame Removal Committee so that gross errors like cris carter can be corrected?

  42. bubbybrisket says: Aug 1, 2014 9:57 PM

    Daniel Snyder has no reason in the HOF.

  43. partmachine says: Aug 1, 2014 9:58 PM

    NFL HoF is nothing until acknowledging Art Modell.

  44. bjwbrown2011 says: Aug 1, 2014 10:01 PM

    NFL films is probably the best showcase of sports being shown as an art form. The slow motion walk to the line, the linesmen breath in cold weather. In many ways NFL films and its founders are more significant to the growth of the game then any players or owners.

  45. brassknuckles47 says: Aug 1, 2014 10:33 PM

    Soon, there will be a NON-CONTRIBUTORS category for Ryan Leaf and Tim Tebow.
    Sad that the true Hall Of Famers have been tarnished.

  46. thereyougo2 says: Aug 1, 2014 11:13 PM

    HOF is being cheapen just as the game is doing the same. In the future it will be a two hand touch league and anyone who ever got tackled or made a tackle will be HOF material.

  47. zvikes says: Aug 1, 2014 11:47 PM

    So the owners were upset that the hall was focused on inducting men who put their health and bodies on the line actually playing the game for peanuts compared to what the owners make, so they decided to create a whole new committee just so that they can get the recognition they feel they so richly deserve.

  48. thestatsishere says: Aug 2, 2014 12:07 AM

    FRICK MODELL! That corpse doesn’t deserve a jacket. It’d be a disgrace to NFL history.

  49. campcouch says: Aug 2, 2014 12:24 AM

    Nothing wrong with this. It’s a hall of fame, not stats. There are people who’ve contributed greatly to the game by innovation, film, social endeavors and community involvement that haven’t coached or played. Even players who didn’t have stellar careers but went on to add something else to the game. Even owner longevity should be rewarded. Fans consider teams as “their own” but the reality is that someone owns them and makes or breaks the franchise and/or the NFL. Even someone vilified (locally) like Art Modell contributed to the NFL’s success during the rise of the sport. One day you may see a superfan acknowledged for their part in promoting the league.

  50. hihotheflorio says: Aug 2, 2014 12:26 AM

    It would be an absolute disgrace if they let Modell in. What he did to Cleveland should not be overlooked. Can not be overlooked! Imagine if the owner of your favorite team moves your team tomorrow. Would you have a problem with his enshrinement? And before you try to defend him, do your research. There’s no defending him. If you try to, you simply come off as a Baltimore homer/hypocrite or an ignorant. He screwed over the fans.

  51. jimmysee says: Aug 2, 2014 1:34 AM

    I’ll certainly be a first ballot inductee.

    (Me and Florio.)

  52. heeeeelzfan says: Aug 2, 2014 1:56 AM

    Mark Cuban was right.

  53. thefox61 says: Aug 2, 2014 3:24 AM

    Most of you would be rapturous if your team won just one measly Super Bowl. We won it once, then again, and again, and again, yet again, oh, look, another one. You shrivel in our shadow. We define greatness. We built the NFL. We are the Steelers. says:
    Aug 1, 2014 7:22 PM
    The entire city of Pittsburgh belongs in Canton

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Correction: The entire city of Pittsburgh belongs in the can.
    You almost got it right… Einstein

  54. i10east says: Aug 2, 2014 4:04 AM

    The Ed Sabol rule.

  55. joetoronto says: Aug 2, 2014 4:38 AM

    Tagliabue was horrible but if Andre Reed can get in, anybody can.

  56. pointywilliams says: Aug 2, 2014 7:19 AM

    No more “contributors” until you put a real one in like Jim Marshall.

  57. rdquodomine says: Aug 2, 2014 7:38 AM

    Hey @joetoronto – you care to back that up? Look at his stats when he retired, not in the inflated pass-happy stats of the years since.

    Speaking of Toronto, but not of Joe, the NHL Hall of Fame has a Builders wing. It actually makes sense. Voting for a person who contributed immensely to the game off the field just isn’t the same. It’s an apples-to-oranges comparison that should be taken up by specialists who understand the contributions make outside the playing field. NFL coaches, owners, GMs, etc who contribute to the game via endless preparation or work in making decisions that have made this the most popular league in American Sporting – and one of the most globally popular leagues – just can’t be evaluated intelligently compared directly to all of the players we see on TV. Few of us know what goes into the decisions that make this league, we just know our favorite team is on and root for a victory. The Builders wing should use people who understand the behind-the-scenes work involved in creating the multi-billion dollar product that is the NFL and have them vote on those individuals. There shouldn’t be a lot of them, but there’s reasons for having a separate process for Contributors.

  58. citiciti says: Aug 2, 2014 8:39 AM


  59. macbull says: Aug 2, 2014 9:00 AM

    Roger Goodell and the NFL are determined to find a way to get Art Modell into the Football Hall of Fame…

    …even if Roger has to devise some convoluted and shameful process to see that Art’s bust is on display.

    Here’s an idea Roger…you and your boys start your own Hall Of Fame, locate it in NY, near NFL Hqts.

    But don’t derogate or defame the Players and Coaches, HALL OF FAME, located in Canton, Ohio.

  60. billswillnevermove says: Aug 2, 2014 9:48 AM

    joetoronto says:Aug 2, 2014 4:38 AM

    Tagliabue was horrible but if Andre Reed can get in, anybody can.
    Enjoy your Maple Laughs JoeBonJovi. Only thing you guys will ever have.

  61. ytownjoe says: Aug 2, 2014 9:56 AM

    Enshrine Modell and Robert Irsay in a new Benedict Arnold wing of the Hall of Fame.

    Come children, let’s go see the men who made millions from their team’s fans and cruelly abandoned them to seek more millions.

  62. purpleppleeaters says: Aug 2, 2014 10:43 AM

    As much as I appreciate a guy like Sabol, if you are going to go that far, you may as well elect the guy that created buffalo wings, and the genius that developed beer, as well.
    Oh……………….and Suzie………….1986 Raiderette captain.

    Or, we could just limit the HOF to players and coaches. That’d be fine too.

  63. cornerstone2001 says: Aug 2, 2014 11:34 AM


    There should be a hot CHEERLEADERS Hall of Fame.

    I’ve been writing to the NFL on this for 2o years!

  64. largent80100 says: Aug 2, 2014 12:06 PM

    Aka their excuse to induce Tagliabue, Goodell and Jerruh.

  65. joetoronto says: Aug 2, 2014 12:50 PM


    I don’t need stats, I know who he is and remember him well.

    He doesn’t belong in the HOF.

  66. hawkforlife says: Aug 2, 2014 12:54 PM

    This is the front door, go around back!

  67. 1phd says: Aug 2, 2014 1:10 PM

    The shape of the building and its location is all you need to know about the IHOF. It’s only more important than the IHOP down the street because of the hype and ego connected to it. When all is said and done, it’s ONLY a game and all they really need are some trophies to hand out at the end of each season.

  68. riverhorsey says: Aug 2, 2014 2:24 PM

    Some fans and fan groups deserve to be in the HOF as contributors as well.

    Without them there wouldn’t be a HOF.

  69. simonator917 says: Aug 2, 2014 4:15 PM

    I long for the days when Tagliabue was commissioner.

  70. raji1824 says: Aug 2, 2014 4:43 PM

    It’s not stupid. Finally a person like Gil Brandt can be recognized.

  71. seadawgs72 says: Aug 2, 2014 4:50 PM

    I don’t claim to know all that Art Modell did for the game but the single act of taking his team out of Cleveland should not only keep him out it should strike his name from any association with the league. Just my opinion.

  72. bassplucker says: Aug 2, 2014 5:12 PM

    Does $300+ a year for NFL Sunday Ticket count as enough of a “contribution”?

  73. jdog5428 says: Aug 2, 2014 5:29 PM

    Just a way to get a woman in the HOF…

  74. bohste says: Aug 2, 2014 5:59 PM

    Art Modell as a “contributor”? What did he contribute besides being a carpetbagger? He couldn’t even competently run his franchises in Cleveland or Baltimore. If he gets in the HOF as a contributor I hope they give him his own urinal deodorizer in the men’s room in Canton. That would be appropriate.

  75. vickspuppy says: Aug 2, 2014 6:20 PM

    The Minnesota Vikings and their “fan base” directly contribute to my morale every season. I can’t count how many times I’ve laughed during their 50+ year run at abject failure. They’re the Cubs of the NFL…only with worse fans.

    Get some 7XL jackets ready if we start enshrining their fans. 6XL should be good for their ladies.

  76. idpfantasyfootball says: Aug 3, 2014 11:01 AM

    Steve Sabol and Myron Cope should be the first contributor inductees.

    Jim Marshall, Charles Haley, Tim Brown, & Ken Stabler should all have been in the HOF before this year’s class.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!