Hall of Fame’s annual embrace of at least one coaching finalist could open floodgates for coaches

Denver Broncos vs Oakland Raiders - November 12, 2006
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Until recently, coaches competed with players for spots in the Hall of Fame. That made it difficult for coaches to get in.

Starting in 2021, the Hall of Fame changed its rules to save one spot per year for a coach. And that could open the floodgates for coaches to get in.

This year, Dick Vermeil is the coaching finalist. He presumably will get enough votes in February to secure enshrinement.

Near-future locks include Mike Shanahan, Mike Holmgren, George Seifert, and Tom Coughlin, each of whom won at least one Super Bowl.

Others who likely will get in based on their total career achievements, despite not winning a Super Bowl, are Marty Schottenheimer, Dan Reeves, and Chuck Knox. Don Coryell didn’t win a Super Bowl, either. He’s been a sentimental favorite to get in for years, given his role in revolutionizing passing games.

Among current coaches, no-brainers include Bill Belichick, Andy Reid, John Harbaugh, Pete Carroll, Mike Tomlin, and Sean Payton. Others who could make it include Bruce Arians and Ron Rivera. Others who will merit some consideration given that they won Super Bowls include Mike McCarthy and Jon Gruden. However, their more recent work undermines their championships. And young-ish coaches like Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay could be on track to get there, eventually.

Then there’s the question of assistant coaches. Peyton Manning argued during his enshrinement speech earlier this month that Tom Moore should get in. Other head coaches who would get a lift if their work as assistants were considered include Wade Phillips and Norv Turner.

Bottom line? The creation of a new track specifically for coaches makes it easier for coaches to get in. One per year will now be put on the tee. The end result will be more busts for coaches.

Unless and until, of course, they change the rules again. Which they could do after the backlog of deserving coaches shrinks.

34 responses to “Hall of Fame’s annual embrace of at least one coaching finalist could open floodgates for coaches

  1. The HOF should look to keep people out instead of trying to open the flood gates. If everyone that did anything in the sport gets in it is no longer special to get in.

  2. There’s no way 1/4 of anything, including coaches, is hall of fame caliber

  3. George Seifert’s won loss record is off the charts. By far the best of all 49ers coaches, and he won two super bowls with 2 different QB’s. There shouldn’t need to be a change to the process for Seifert to get in. He’s been a HOFer for a long, long time. And John McVay, the 49ers’ GM back then. He won five super bowls. No other GM in history comes close to McVay’s success. And his winning spanned two different coaches, and two QB’s. They dominated the draft every year despite picking at the end of each round every year.

  4. main thing is that Branch is finally getting a decent look.. well overdue.. so is Plunkett

  5. Not that some of the names listed are not deserving by I think the NFL HOF is crazy in that a minimum amount of players and coaches have to be inducted every year. As others on this board have written, it is becoming the Hall of Good/Very good.

  6. Holmgren??? No way! He should have won 3 or 4 titles in Green Bay. He under performed. Then didnt win anything in Seattle as a coach and GM. Then tried the front office…failed there too.

  7. All 4 of these guys (Marty Schottenheimer, Dan Reeves, and Chuck Knox. Don Coryell) belong in the HOF. Where is Henry Ellard? He belongs in the HOF.

  8. Mike Munchak. Already in as a player, should go back in for his work as the best O-line Coach in the NFL since he started coaching that position.

  9. Wow, 15 were named who will get in along with a few more possibilities as well as assistant coaches. Are they planning on adding a coaches wing in Canton?

  10. Kyle Shanahan? 3 losing seasons and one winning season does not make a Hall of Fame coach. After 4 seasons he has 29 wins and 35 losses. Plus he was the OC that blew the lead in the Super Bowl. He has a long way to go before he even sniffs the Hall.

  11. I immediately on reading this had one screaming reaction in my head. Jon Gruden is NOT a HOF’er. I’m not sure he’s qualified to do anything at Canton, perhaps act as an usher to guests at enshrinement. He proves the exception to the rule that a SB win makes you a lock. He should be the furthest thing from.

  12. One coach per year is too many. Make it every 3-5 years and that should be right.

    The fact is hof should be the best of the best. With this change the coaching pool will be depleted within 5 years and at some point we’ll be considered Marvin Lewis a lock with his 0-everything playoff record.

  13. That’s way too many “no brainers”.

    Hall of Fame should be limited to the ultra best, not just based on longevity or a championship or two.

    To me, Belichick is the only slam dunk on the list. I would also vote for Coryell based on his contributions as noted.

  14. Agree with Peyton completely. Assistants like Tom Moore, Ernie Zampese, and the great Fritz Shurmur should definitely have a path to get in, and get there.
    In many cases, assitants are responsible for the evoloution of schemes and advancement of the game. Long past time they get their just recognition.

  15. are they going to build an addition onto the building for all these borderline coaches…. I thought it was supposed to be selective….

  16. And the devaluation of the hall of fame continues…
    Most of the names listed have long resumes rather than good ones. Longevity really shouldn’t be the significant criteria for induction if that’s their biggest achievement on their record. And while winning a Superb Owl is an accomplishment, rewarding coaches just for having done that will reward some notable retreads and mediocrities.
    Meanwhile guys like Coryell who left a lasting impact on the game are ignored.
    But I guess that’s the new standard after years of inducting players that belong in the Hall of Very Good.

  17. Sean Payton?
    Too many losing seasons (3 straight 7-9 seasons, 4 in 5 years) despite having a hall of fame quarterback, and exactly one NFC championship game appearance since winning the Super Bowl 2010 despite having exceptional rosters for many of those years.
    As for the other locks, the only legitimate no doubter is Belichick. All of the rest have gaps and failures in their record that don’t scream certainty for enshrinement.
    And Gruden or McCarthy should ever be mentioned in the same sentence as Hall of Fame unless it’s reporting on them visiting Canton on vacation. Particularly in January when they usually have nothing to do…

  18. Sorry but Shanahan shouldn’t be on there for several reasons:

    1)Those Bronco titles were stolen thanks to at least two massive salary cap violations (and maybe more). And I do mean massive – outspending the then $54M cap by $29M each time! Plus other cap manipulation abuses to do with dates and terms.

    2) During that double-SB era Broncos committed Slimegate (a copy of the 49ers cheat, to make linemen’s arms difficult to grip).

    3) Through all this time (1995-2008) according to Bronco’s Hugh Millen, Shanahan had helmet radios installed for all the linemen.

    4) And through Shanahan’s era Broncos were the NFL’s worst for PEDs. And he repeatedly broke injury-reporting rules, and purposefully fielded a badly concussed Plummer. He’s a bigger cheat than even The Dirty Don Shula!

  19. If Dick Vermeil makes it I don’t know how they keep anybody out. Wonderful guy but barely above .500 for his career and below .500 with the Rams where his only Super Bowl was won. Meanwhile Coryell was a true innovator and should have been in years ago based just on that. It’s crazy Vermeil might make it but Coryell woouldn’t.

  20. Hall of FAME: how famous you are. Somehow I grew up with the wrong idea that it was the hall of EXCELLENCE: the best of the best, the gold standard like the color of the jackets they receive.

    0.5% of players get in. A similar percentile should apply to coaches. But now for Head Coaches and O/D Coordinators, it is double that. The 8th spot should alternate between coach and contributor. But by definition, it’s not about excellence, it’s about how famous one is.

  21. No way Marty Schottenheimer is a Hall of Fame candidate. He had absolutely no clue about offense. Want proof? In a playoff game against Denver he decided to play Elvis Grbac at QB over Rich Gannon. Gannon, of course, later became the league MVP with the Raiders and made it to the Super Bowl. Marty never did.

  22. Unlike players. I firmly believe a coach should have won a Superbowl to be considered H.O.F. worthy. Players don’t have control of who their teammates are but coaches pick the players so they should have at least one ring to get in.

  23. They could have an entire display case on how Kyle Shanahan lost TWO Super Bowls thanks to clock mismanagement and failing to run the ball. I’m sure that’d be a popular exhibit.

  24. Holmgren should have gone in ahead of Cowher and Dungy.

    More Super Bowls, overhauled two terrible franchises, the original QB whisperer, astounding coaching tree.

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