Since the Pro Football Hall of Fame added the contributor category, two owners and two general managers have earned election. The four likely otherwise wouldn’t have gotten in.
“Let’s face it: It’s almost impossible for anybody to compete against let’s say Brett Favre or Tom Brady or Joe Montana,” former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., a member of the Class of 2016, told Pro Football Talk. “How in the hell could anybody compete against them or athletes of their quality?”
General Managers Bill Polian and Ron Wolf earned election in the Class of 2015, DeBartolo in ’16 and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will enter Canton next month in the Class of ’17. Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliable was nominated in the Class of ’17 but did not receive the required 80 percent approval from selectors for induction.
The contributors committee meets next month to decide one nominee for the Class of 2018, with the full body of selectors voting on the candidate the day before the Super Bowl. As Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio pointed out, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen is a strong candidate for the spot. DeBartolo would like to see former Giants general manager George Young get consideration.
Young was the Giants General Manager for 19 seasons, with the team reaching the playoffs eight times, winning the division four times and producing two Super Bowl titles. Before Young was hired in 1979, the Giants had not reached the playoffs since 1963.
“There are so many [good candidates],” DeBartolo said. “I had sort of a kinship to George Young. I think he was a very, very talented man. I didn’t know him well. But the Giants were such a tough, good organization, so if I had to pick out one person in management, I probably would pick George Young.”
DeBartolo also mentioned Bowlen and former Cowboys player personnel director Gil Brandt.
“It’s a difficult decision, because there are so many good candidates who are so deserving,” DeBartolo said.
The Class of 2019 will feature two contributor nominees, but the Class of ’18 will have only one contributor nominee.