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.