Don Coryell named Hall of Fame finalist

San Diego Chargers
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Don Coryell, one of the best offensive innovators in NFL history, has been named a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Coryell was chosen among 12 semifinalists in the coach/contributor category. The full Hall of Fame Selection Committee will give him an up-or-down vote at its meeting in January, when the entire Class of 2023 will be selected. If at least 80 percent of the voters vote for him, Coryell gets a bust in Canton.

In five seasons as head coach of the St. Louis Cardinals and nine seasons as head coach of the San Diego Chargers, Coryell compiled a record of 111-83-1 in the regular season and 3-6 in the postseason. He never led a team to a Super Bowl, which may count against him with the voters.

Coryell’s “Air Coryell” offenses with the Chargers were particularly noteworthy, with Dan Fouts leading the NFL in passing yards for four consecutive seasons while playing for Coryell. Fouts was on the coach/contributor committee that chose Coryell as a Hall of Fame finalist, which may have helped Coryell’s chances — and may be viewed as a conflict of interests.

The 11 other candidates considered by the coach/contributor committee were Roone Arledge, Mike Holmgren, Frank “Bucko” Kilroy, Robert Kraft, Art Modell, Buddy Parker, Dan Reeves, Art Rooney Jr., Mike Shanahan, Clark Shaughnessy and John Wooten.

22 responses to “Don Coryell named Hall of Fame finalist

  1. Just induct Coryell already! This honor is waaaaaaaay overdue for him. There is no Bill Walsh, Mike Holmgren, Mike Shanahan, Dan Reeves, etc without Don Coryell.

  2. How does Chuck Knox not get considered when he has more wins (186), playoff wins (7) and turned the Bills & Seahawks into winners.? He’s a 3-time NFL Coach of the Year (1973, 1980, 1984).

  3. Holmgren needs to get in.

    He’ll get in.

    I have no problem with Coryell being ahead of him in line. Should have gone in a LONG time ago.

  4. With that group Coryell and Arledge are the only 2 worthy candidates.

    Holmgren has a better resume than Cowher, Dungy and Vermeil.

    So does Mike Shanahan.

  5. With the bar set low for coaches and contributors lately (more of a popularity contest) I have no idea why Coryell isn’t already in.

  6. Ive heard the term “Air Coryell” a few times on NFL Network, but Deion Sanders is 100% correct about the HoF these days, it’s a shame what theyve done by watering down greatness

  7. I’m a little surprised to hear that Coryell isn’t in the Hall.

    Coaching success aside, the fact that there are multiple teams this year that will be using an Air Coryell-style offense counts for a lot in my book. The man has had a far larger impact on the game than just his coaching record.

  8. Coryell was a good coach but a great one? His offense was innovative but it didn’t change the league as much as his supporters want to say. The West Coast offense was the one that changed the league, Coryell’s was a fade. I am for stricter requirements to get in the HOF and there should be people made for not gettingin.

  9. Canton is now becoming the Hall of Good. No head coach deserves enshrinement without first winning two rings. Same goes for the other three sports.

  10. He should well deserved. Unfortunately their D was generally garbage. Had it not been freezer cold in Cincinnati I believe they go on and beat the 9er. Walsh’s young team would not have run with Joyner and Jefferson. And that TE was dang good as well 🙂

  11. BB, I’d have to respectfully disagree. One could easily make a cogent argument in either direction between the West Coast and the Air Coryell offensive philosophies and their impact on the game.

    The bottom line is that the offense for every single team in the league runs one of three styles (with their own wrinkles of course):
    West Coast
    Air Coryell

    There’s no exceptions to this rule. Considering that I’m saying this in 2022 and Don’s last coaching season was 1986, I’d say that’s a heck of a good rationale to put him in the HoF.

  12. The West Coast offense was the one that changed the league, Coryell’s was a fade

    Gibbs was his top aide. He won as many Super Bowls as Walsh. With 3 different QBs.

    The Greatest Show on Turf – Air Coryell
    Early Patriots run – Air Coryell
    Buffalo, K-Gun – Air Coryell

    ^^ Thats every bit as impressive as Walshs’ tree

  13. As a Raider fan, I always thought Don Coryell was a HOF. Well past time to induct him.

  14. HOF HC Bill Walsh, who’s West Coast Offense revolutionized the NFL, has often credited Coryell with many of the ideas he incorporated into his system. Walsh was the Charger QB coach when they drafted and developed HOF QB Dan Fouts. While I agree that some of today’s newer HOFers may be borderline, I think Coryell deserves entry. In general, I think the NFL and many fans don’t properly credit brains as part of the concideration for the HOF. Many defensive captains, like Sam Mills, Luke Kukley and Hacksaw Reynolds contribute beyond their own statical numbers by making the defensive reads and putting others in position to make the play. Coryell’ s influence on the game is underated

  15. I would have had Coryell in a long time ago.
    He’s similar to Joe Namath in that his record or stats aren’t gaudy or eye-popping. It was his total impact on the entire game.

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