With the NFL celebrating its golden anniversary Super Bowl in the Golden State, the Pro Football Hall of Fame elected an eight-man class with a distinctly California vibe.
Former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler and Rams-Steelers-Panthers-49ers outside linebacker Kevin Greene were among the class that included first-ballot quarterback Brett Favre.
The other inductees included former Colts and Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy, Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison, Rams tackle Orlando Pace (who played his career in St. Louis), and Detroit and Washington guard Dick Stanfel (a San Francisco native).
That class came after a nearly nine-hour meeting, which featured both debates long and short. A committee of 46 selectors discussed DeBartolo’s merits for more than 50 minutes, while it took less than 10 seconds to discuss the election of Favre, so obvious was his Hall case.
Linking Dungy and Harrison also lends a special touch to this weekend’s festivities, considering the success they had with the Colts alongside quarterback Peyton Manning, who has a game to play tomorrow.
Candidates who made it to the final 10 but fell just short of induction included coach Don Coryell, running back Terrell Davis, tackle Joe Jacoby, safety John Lynch and quarterback Kurt Warner.
One of the most-debated players in this year’s group of 15 modern-era semifinalists was well-traveled wide receiver Terrell Owens, but he was part of the group reduced in the first cuts to 10. Kicker Morten Andersen, safety Steve Atwater, guard Alan Faneca and running back Edgerrin James were also in that group.
They’ll go back into the pool next year, along with an interesting group of potential first-time eligibles including running back LaDainian Tomlinson, defensive end Jason Taylor, quarterback Donovan McNabb, safety Brian Dawkins and wide receiver Hines Ward.