Finalists for Centennial Hall of Fame Class include Paul Tagliabue but not Robert Kraft

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The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the finalists for the Centennial Class of 2020 on Thursday afternoon. The list includes some familiar names like Roger Craig, Drew Pearson, Donnie Shell, Jimbo Covert and Cliff Branch.

The list of 10 contributor finalists, though, does not include Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who was most recently passed over as a 2017 finalist, did make the list.

Mike Holmgren, Jimmy Johnson, Bill Cowher and Tom Flores are among the eight finalists in the coaches’ category.

A special Blue-Ribbon Panel, which includes Bill Belichick, reduced the initial list of nearly 300 candidates to 38 — eight coaches, 10 contributors and 20 seniors. The Blue-Ribbon Panel will meet in Canton, Ohio, in early January to elect the 15-member Centennial Class.

The panel will elect 10 seniors, three contributors and two coaches to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2020.

Below are the finalists for three categories:

COACHES (eight finalists) — Coaches who last coached more than five seasons ago

Don Coryell – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers

Bill Cowher – 1992-2006 Pittsburgh Steelers

Tom Flores – 1979-1987 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-94 Seattle Seahawks

Mike Holmgren – 1992-98 Green Bay Packers, 1999-2008 Seattle Seahawks

Jimmy Johnson – 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins

Buddy Parker – 1949 Chicago Cardinals, 1951-56 Detroit Lions, 1957-1964 Pittsburgh Steelers

Dan Reeves – 1981-1992 Denver Broncos, 1993-96 New York Giants, 1997-2003 Atlanta Falcons

Dick Vermeil – 1976-1982 Philadelphia Eagles, 1997-99 St. Louis Rams, 2001-05 Kansas City Chiefs

CONTRIBUTORS (10 finalists) — An individual other than a player or coach

Bud Adams, Owner – 1960-2013 Houston Oilers/Tennessee Oilers/Titans

Ralph Hay, Owner – 1918-1922 Canton Bulldogs

Frank “Bucko” Kilroy, Scout/General Manager/Executive – 1960-61 Philadelphia Eagles, 1962-64 Washington Redskins, 1965-1970 Dallas Cowboys, 1971-2006 New England Patriots

Art McNally, Official/Administrator – 1959-2015 National Football League

Art Modell, Owner – 1961-1995 Cleveland Browns, 1996-2011 Baltimore Ravens

Clint Murchison, Founder/Owner – 1960-1983 Dallas Cowboys

Steve Sabol, Administrator/President – 1964-2012 NFL Films

Seymour Siwoff, Owner/President – 1952-2019 Elias Sports Bureau

Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner – 1989-2006 National Football League

George Young, Contributor/General Manager – 1968-1974 Baltimore Colts, 1975-78 Miami Dolphins, 1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League

SENIORS (20 finalists) — A player who last played more than 25 seasons ago

Cliff Branch, WR – 1972-1985 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders

Harold Carmichael, WR – 1971-1983 Philadelphia Eagles, 1984 Dallas Cowboys

Jim Covert, T – 1983-1990 Chicago Bears

Roger Craig, RB – 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings

Bobby Dillon, S – 1952-59 Green Bay Packers

LaVern Dilweg, E – 1926 Milwaukee Badgers, 1927-1934 Green Bay Packers

Ox Emerson, G/LB/C – 1931-37 Portsmouth Spartans/Detroit Lions, 1938 Brooklyn Dodgers

Randy Gradishar, LB – 1974-1983 Denver Broncos

Cliff Harris, S – 1970-79 Dallas Cowboys

Winston Hill, T – 1963-1976 New York Jets, 1977 Los Angeles Rams

Cecil Isbell, TB/DB/HB – 1938-1942 Green Bay Packers

Alex Karras, DT – 1958-1962, 1964-1970 Detroit Lions

Verne Lewellen, HB – 1924-27, 1928-1932 Green Bay Packers, 1927 New York Yankees

Tommy Nobis, LB – 1966-1976 Atlanta Falcons

Drew Pearson, WR – 1973-1983 Dallas Cowboys

Donnie Shell, S – 1974-1987 Pittsburgh Steelers

Duke Slater, T – 1922 Milwaukee Badgers, 1922-25 Rock Island Independents, 1926-1931 Chicago Cardinals

Mac Speedie, E – 1946-1952 Cleveland Browns [AAFC/NFL]

Ed Sprinkle, DE/LB/E – 1944-1955 Chicago Bears

Al Wistert, OT/DT/G – 1943 Phil-Pitt, 1944-1951 Philadelphia Eagles

89 responses to “Finalists for Centennial Hall of Fame Class include Paul Tagliabue but not Robert Kraft

  1. Art Modell needs to be in the hall of fame.

    Sorry brownies and modell haters but maybe by allowing this deserving man to make the hall of fame the curse over your putrid franchise could be lifted. Not saying you’ll make the playoffs in the future but maybe a winning record here and there. Heck you forgave Levbron and looked how that turned out.

    See you Sunday.

  2. Why should Robert Kraft go to teh hall of fame?
    It’s all Belichick and Brady.
    Robert Kraft is probably a good owner, but any competent owner with Belichick and Brady would do as well.
    It’s only the moron owners who wouldn’t do well.

  3. Ralph Hay is a finalist?! Are you kidding me?! Ralph, or “Cheap Ralph” as I remember him, was the worst owner in sports. He would charge 25 cents to get in the game and then would try to sell us water from a barrel for 5 cents. Meanwhile, the field was all dirt and the stadium was nothing but wooden bleachers. That’s probably why the Dayton Bulldogs never won anything. Terrible owner. They’re just letting anyone in the Hall of Fame these days.

  4. The man that fired the 2 greatest nfl coaches of all time, and got rid of the greatest running back of all time. And couldn’t make money running an NFL team deserves to be in HOF? Based on what exactly? This entire year has completely devalued the HOF and all involved should be ashamed.

  5. What did Tagliabue do that he deserves to be in the HOF? A person should not be automatic in just because he held the office of commissioner. Someone had to hold the office and he did for awhile. What notable achievements did he do?

  6. All-Decade Players like Harris, Covert, Pearson, Dilweg, Emerson and even Wistert from Philthy deserve to be in the Hall. Ridiculous that they had to wait until now to make this far…

  7. Paul Tagliabue left his post prematurely due to pressure from Goodell. Who does that?

  8. Steve Sabol, above everyone else, deserves to be in. He single handedly served as the NFL’s historian while molding it’s public image and perception through the incredible films and stories he produced during his lifetime. He is why the NFL is the NFL.

  9. Kraft has an argument for the Hall of Fame. His massage parlor thing should not stop people from thinking all the great things he has achieved as an owner. He has the vision and foresight to transform the Patriots franchise to a perennial winning organization. Sure, there are asterisks on the resume, but an impressive one nevertheless. He should definitely be considered.

  10. I’m a Packers fan but why Roger Craig isn’t already in is a mystery to me. Talk about the integral cog in making the West Coast offense work. Aside from Montana and Walsh, he’s the guy.

  11. There is no reason that Art Modell shouldn’t be in already. The TV deals that he was central to made the NFL how popular it is today.

  12. Art Modell with accomplishments

    The owner who fired both Paul Brown and Bill Belichick they were good enough to coach his Browns

    Mood his franchise to Baltimore left a loyal Cleveland Browns fans with no team

    I’m not convinced that the guy who fired both Paul Brown and Bill Belichick is worthy of being inducted into the Hall of Fame

  13. There is no reason that Art Modell shouldn’t be in already. The TV deals that he was central to made the NFL how popular it is today.
    ———————————————————————————
    Art Modell left a permanent stain on the NFL and the cities he ran franchises in. Now if there was a Hall of Shame, he’s be a lock.

  14. Robert Kraft is a hall of famer. He was the one who hired Belichick, allowed him to manage the team and coach players without interference, and was partially responsible for the Patriots becoming the second most valuable franchise in the league.

  15. jamaltimore says:
    Art Modell needs to be in the hall of fame.

    Umm … no.

    Strike 1: Fired Paul Brown, the NFL’s best coach of all time.
    Strike 2: Fired Bill Belichick, the NFL’s second best coach of all time.
    Strike 3: Moved an NFL franchise from a city that actually supported the team, which is unheard of.

  16. Realized today that I’m getting old. The list of finalists of players who haven’t played in over 25 years is made up of many whom I’ve watched play. In fact, it’s hard to believe so many are on the list……

  17. Owners just own the team and hire people to run it for them. See Robert Kraft If they hire the right people they do well and if they don’t they are terrible owner. See Jerry Jones after he got rid of Jimmy Johnson.

  18. Cliff Branch was a great inclusion, one of the best receivers of his era, 3 Super Bowl rings.

    But what about Harold Jackson? The inclusion of Harold Carmichael makes me wonder if the voters are confused with the Harold’s. Carmichael was a tall receiver and was indeed a game changer since he was so much bigger than all of the DBs trying to cover him (everyone saw this and have been drafting tall receivers ever since). But the other Harold, Jackson had 1,400 more yards receiving than Carmichael but because he played on so many teams (5), and may not be remembered. The one year the two played with each other in 1972, Jackson had 1,048 yards, Carmichael had 276.

  19. jamaltimore says:
    December 19, 2019 at 1:08 pm
    Art Modell needs to be in the hall of fame.

    Sorry brownies and modell haters but maybe by allowing this deserving man to make the hall of fame the curse over your putrid franchise could be lifted.

    Seem to remember the Browns beat up on you earlier in the season. Badly.

  20. Those who think Art Modell should be in the Hall apparently haven’t lived on this earth long enough to conjure up an educated opinion.

  21. jamaltimore says:
    December 19, 2019 at 1:08 pm
    Art Modell needs to be in the hall of fame.

    Sorry brownies and modell haters but maybe by allowing this deserving man to make the hall of fame the curse over your putrid franchise could be lifted.

    Seem to remember the Browns beat up on you earlier in the season. Badly.
    —————
    Cmon man. Everyone knows the Ravens would be undefeated if it weren’t for the horrible refs. The refs won that game.

  22. objectivefbfan says:
    December 19, 2019 at 2:21 pm
    jamaltimore says:
    December 19, 2019 at 1:08 pm
    Art Modell needs to be in the hall of fame.

    Sorry brownies and modell haters but maybe by allowing this deserving man to make the hall of fame the curse over your putrid franchise could be lifted.

    Seem to remember the Browns beat up on you earlier in the season. Badly.

    ******
    and the Ravens haven’t lost a game since. Now as for the Browns….Factory of Sadness is adding another wing to their Kingdom of Gloom……

  23. Paul Allen deserves a mention. he kept a franchise IN a city ( thank you sir, RIP), wasn’t a football guy himself but surrounded himself with people who knew what they were doing, and you cannot move in the entire PNW , inc Portland ( blazers ) to see the kind of legacy he has left behind. and a sign of the kind of man he was.

  24. Craig and Sabol definitely. Sabol should be a no brainer. Craig had 8,000+ yards rushing and 4,000+ receiving, first player(and only 1 of 2) that had 1k yards receiving and 1k yards rushing in the same season. Plus, he could give you a concussion with his knees. Dude was the best high stepper in the game.

  25. I have no problem with Kraft not being in. If we are going to hold players to a certain standard, then we have to with anyone else. Multiple game cheating scandals and an obvious rub and tug visit/arrest would have gotten players suspended and would label them bad boys for the Hall. I personally think he should get in, but at least make it equal for everyone.

  26. magnusthe1st says:
    December 19, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    Steve Sabol, above everyone else, deserves to be in. He single handedly served as the NFL’s historian while molding it’s public image and perception through the incredible films and stories he produced during his lifetime. He is why the NFL is the NFL.

    =========================================================

    I couldn’t agree more. Sabol should be enshrined for his outstanding film and narrative work. Aside from a tiny number of coaches a players, he was the true face of the NFL for decades.

    I just don’t think owners belong in the HOF, other than perhaps who pioneered the league during its struggles. That includes Kraft, Jones and everyone else. They think of themselves as Industrial Revolution capitalists, but that’s just conceit. All you have to do is find a good coach, a good GM, a very, very healthy dose of luck, and the sense to not interfere. None of that is HOF worthy.

  27. Kraft will get in later. He should just for privately funding his own stadium instead of ripping off the tax payers or moving the team somewhere else he could do so.

    His model of the stadium with Patriot Place around it full of stores, bars, restaurants and movie theater shows how a team can pay for its own stadium and prosper.

  28. Zach Thomas being snubbed yet again when his numbers are virtually identical to Brian Urlachers who was a 1st rd HOFer is a travesty.

  29. Winston Hill is one of the most underrated LTs in NFL history. Eight AFL All-Star Games/NFL Pro Bowls including every year from 1967-1973. He was a dominant blocker. When Joe Namath went to the LA Rams for his final season, he brought Hill with him.

  30. bbb82 says:
    December 19, 2019 at 2:06 pm
    I wonder if Kraft was left out because of the whole thing where he was soliciting prostitution?

    ————–

    Transgressions outside of Football have never been a disqualifier for the HOF. IF they were, it would be struggling for membership. LT? Michael Irvin, Ray Lewis?

  31. Why do we keep talking about Modell’s moving of the Browns from Cleveland as some slight against its former fan base? The move occurred for the exact same reasons as all other moves in professional sports – the argument around new facilities, and who will pay for those facilities. This shouldn’t be a positive or negative checkmark for Modell in terms of HOF voting.

    His contributions to growing the game through TV absolutely can not be ignored, however.

  32. huge pats fan here. not really sure why kraft is even being considered for the hof. hes an owner. so what. hes done a lot for people outside the nfl, especially in israel, but he wasnt a potential hof owner until he realized he needed to hire a guy to run all the football operations. since he hired the right guy hes had a winning franchise, but im not sure he deserves the hof.

  33. harrisonhits2 says:
    December 19, 2019 at 3:04 pm
    Kraft will get in later. He should just for privately funding his own stadium instead of ripping off the tax payers or moving the team somewhere else he could do so.

    His model of the stadium with Patriot Place around it full of stores, bars, restaurants and movie theater shows how a team can pay for its own stadium and prosper.

    ————————–

    he privately funded it so he could become richer. dont be fooled. charging every patron 40 dollars for parking in stadium parking in a dirt lot he already owns should hold him back. hes made enough money. he was a season ticket holder. how quickly he forgets the cost for the average fan. cut the fans a break and lower stadium parking cost already.

  34. Lockport Lax says:
    December 19, 2019 at 1:27 pm
    Belicheat and kraft will figure out a way to hack into and get him in! 🙂

    ——-

    I’m a Patriots fan and I thought that was funny.

    as a side note though, you should be aware that they own a part of your brain.

  35. thejetssuck2001 says:
    December 19, 2019 at 4:08 pm
    huge pats fan here. not really sure why kraft is even being considered for the hof. hes an owner. so what. hes done a lot for people outside the nfl, especially in israel, but he wasnt a potential hof owner until he realized he needed to hire a guy to run all the football operations. since he hired the right guy hes had a winning franchise, but im not sure he deserves the hof.

    —————————–

    There are already lesser owners in the HOF. Shouldn’t the GOAT be there as well?

  36. Steve Sabol was the one name that jumps off the list. The NFL owes a huge part of its popularity to Sabol, especially for those of us of a certain age. Some of us can still recall when everything was not available with a quick search on your phone. Those NFL films were the way many of us saw highlights and got reviews from the previous season. Without NFL Films, would we have “frozen tundra”, “the autumn wind is a raider”, or any of the other numerous phrases and images that many of us still recall to this day?

  37. “he privately funded it so he could become richer.”

    Of course he did that’s not the point. The point is he didn’t make the taxpayers pay for a billion dollar palace and then still charge them 40 bucks for parking, 15 bucks for beer etc etc, and he didn’t move the team somewhere he could extort the money from the rubes.

  38. For all those who said Modell fired Belicheat we all know the reason for that. Art didn’t like cheaters who lose and video cameras weren’t quite as good as they are today

    FREE ART MODELL!! He brought the game to TV, the game we all love and the cleveland whiners got a new stadium and there terrible team back in no time.

  39. crush22 says:
    December 19, 2019 at 3:58 pm

    When your team is known for cheating, things like this will happen.

    _______________________________________________________

    Every single team in this league has a dirty past. The Broncos circumvented the salary cap in the late nineties, the Jets taped the Patriots signals in 2006, the Broncos taped a 49ers practice in London, the Steelers lied on their injury report about Roethlisberger, the Chiefs lost a few draft picks for tampering, Don Shula flooded fields, Bill Walsh tampered with headsets, Terry Bradshaw took steroids, and Brad Johnson paid people $7,500 prior to Super Bowl XXXVII to have footballs altered. No one cared about sign stealing or air pressure in footballs until it concerned the greatest quarterback and dynasty in the league’s history.

  40. Dick Vermeil
    Jimmy Johnson
    Steve Sabol
    George Young
    Art McNally
    Al Wistert
    Harold Carmichael
    Roger Craig
    Alex Karras
    Cliff Branch
    Donnie Shell
    Ox Emerson
    Jim Covert
    Winston Hill
    Ed Sprinkle

  41. FootballSeasonRules says:
    December 19, 2019 at 4:48 pm
    Every single team in this league has a dirty past….Terry Bradshaw took steroids
    ——————-
    Mr Bradshaw has stated that he used steroid in the mid to late 70s to help with injuries. Dozens, if not hundreds, of NFL players did the same in the 1970s and early 80s (do some research; you might be surprised to learn where steroid use in the NFL got its start). Steroids were not banned in the NFL until 1983, and testing started before the 1984 season. So, as NE fans love to preach, “No rules were broken.”

  42. It could not have been easy to come up with a list of a few dozen and not have a single one that belongs in the HOF, but they did it.

    Good players, good coaches, good contributors, no HOFers.

  43. I understand Browns fans for the hatred of Art modell
    How would Baltimore fell if Robert Irsay was nominated.

  44. Tagliabue should be permanently barred based on his decision to give Electronic Arts, the actual devil, exclusive rights to publish NFL videogames. Even now, two full generations after it dropped, 2K5 is objectively superior to Madden 2020.

  45. Kraft deserves it, easily, but I can see why he’s not in this group. This is the catch-up group of people with past glories. Kraft will get in later, when Belichick and Brady have retired and that body of work is tied up with a bow.

    It would surprise me more if any the biggest currently-active names were included here. The HOF needs to save as many of those for future classes as possible, to preserve the allure.

    Glad to see Drew Pearson here – that Cowboys era deserves every bit of recognition it can get.

  46. The fact that Ken Anderson and Ken Riley are not at least finalists tells me that it will never be a “Hall of Fame”… just a “Hall of Politics.”

  47. He, along with Jack Kent Cook, kept Baltimore from getting an expansion team, thus, allowing Modell to move and Cleveland gets a new team! The true sports fans in Balt, say “nevermore “ to the “Sun King’s” election to the HOF!

  48. Cowher was a great coach for a long time, but one of the greatest ever? You have to put Tom Flores and Jimmy Johnson (and soon Tom Coughlin) in ahead of Cowher. One championship in about 15 years? I vote no

  49. And by the way, how is Dan Reeves not already in the HOF? As a player, assistant Coach, and head coach, he was involved in about 9 Super Bowls. That’s a lot

  50. Putting owners in the Hall is absurd, with the exception of Paul Brown. Players come from every walk of life. Modern owners come from a miniscule fraction of the population. Letting them essentially buy their way into enshrinement makes a mockery of the dedication, commitment and bodily sacrifice of the players.

    I think it is fair to allow scouts, coaches, league HQ employees etc if they contributed greatly to the game we know today. Otherwise, players only please

  51. ?W? says:
    December 19, 2019 at 3:31 pm
    bbb82 says:
    December 19, 2019 at 2:06 pm
    I wonder if Kraft was left out because of the whole thing where he was soliciting prostitution?

    ————–

    Transgressions outside of Football have never been a disqualifier for the HOF. IF they were, it would be struggling for membership. LT? Michael Irvin, Ray Lewis?
    ————————-

    The haters hold the Pats to untenable standards. The Pats fans do not even hold them to such standards. It’s pretty ironic.

  52. Karma is a real thing.

    Once Cleveland stops blocking Modell from the HOF the “Modell curse” on the Browns will be lifted.

    It would be smart to do it now while there is time, and Baker is still young.

  53. Model actually did a ton for the NFL, but constantly gets blocked by the CLevceland haters. IT’s a shame. He made the NFL what it is today.

    The HOF is all about being able to tell the NFL’s “story.” And you can’t tell the NFL’s story without Modell. Keeping him out is asinine.

    He recognized a very profitable “football town” in Baltimore. And Modell made football HUGELY marketable. He was the League’s Broadcast Chairman from 1962 to 1993, that got all of those huge TV deals that made the owners money. He literally INVENTED Monday Night Football and the NFL as we know it today.

  54. “I understand Browns fans for the hatred of Art Modell. How would Baltimore fell if Robert Irsay was nominated.”

    There’s a huge difference though. Modell actually did important, good things for the NFL. What’s the case for Irsay?

    Most Baltimore people don’t have any opinion on Irsay in Baltimore anymore because we have a team and the vast majority have moved on.

  55. If modell gets elected through this rubber stamp process, aside from the very public black eye from mass demonstrations at the hall and things being thrown during the parade, the most interesting question is:

    What’s the over/under on how long it takes someone to steal the bust and melt it into a urinal?
    Someone stole OJ’s, it would only be a matter of time.

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