Today, Super Bowl Eve, is the day the Pro Football Hall of Fame announces its newly-elected members.
Honored today were, in chronological order of their careers:
Jack Butler, cornerback, 1950s Pittsburgh Steelers.
Chris Doleman, defensive end, 1980s Minnesota Vikings.
Cortez Kennedy, defensive tackle, 1990s Seattle Seahawks.
Dermontti Dawson, center, 1990s Steelers.
Curtis Martin, running back, 1990s New England Patriots and 2000s New York Jets.
Willie Roaf, offensive tackle, 1990s New Orleans Saints and 2000s Kansas City Chiefs.
All are still alive (Butler is 84), and all were deserving. As to who is deserving but is not yet in, that's a post for another time.
Here is a list of the living members of the Hall, located in Canton, Ohio, supposedly on the site of the Hupmobile showroom where the founding team owners met to start the league on September 17, 1920.
Inductees are listed with a team if they played, or coached, or were an executive, with them for at least 4 seasons.
I have divided moved teams accordingly (i.e., Johnny Unitas never took a snap for the Indianapolis Colts). “Sure future Hall-of-Famers” are not included, because, as we have seen in baseball, there is no such thing anymore. Coaching/executive tenure not counted unless they were elected as such.
Ties in the rankings are broken by more players (as opposed to other categories), and then by time in the league (a team with 3 players in 50 years is ahead of one with 3 players in 80 years).
1. Pittsburgh Steelers, 14: Jack Butler, Joe Greene, Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Mel Blount, Jack Ham, Rod Woodson, Dermontti Dawson, Dan Rooney (owner) and Chuck Noll (coach).
2. Washington Redskins, 13: Chris Hanburger, Bobby Mitchell, Sonny Jurgensen, Sam Huff (Sonny & Sam have also been broadcasters for the team), Charley Taylor, Paul Krause, Ken Houston, John Riggins, Russ Grimm, Art Monk, Darrell Green, Bruce Smith and Joe Gibbs (coach).
3. Oakland Raiders, 11: Jim Otto, Willie Brown, Fred Biletnikoff, Dave Casper, Ted Hendricks, Art Shell, Mike Haynes, Marcus Allen, Howie Long, Jerry Rice and John Madden (coach). Note that owner Al Davis died a few months ago and is no longer on tihs list, and also that I’m making an exception to my one-city-only rule for the Raiders, treating them as a continuous Oakland franchise, since they did return, even though their Los Angeles edition became a cultural icon (and not for good reasons). Madden has also been elected as a broadcaster.
4. Dallas Cowboys, 11: Bob Lilly, Mel Renfro, Rayfield Wright, Mike Ditka, Roger Staubach, Randy White, Tony Dorsett, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders.
5. Buffalo Bills, 10: Billy Shaw, O.J. Simpson (had to list him), Joe DeLamiellure, James Lofton, Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Marv Levy (coach), Ralph Wilson (owner) and Van Miller (broadcaster).
6. San Francisco 49ers, 10: Hugh McElhenny, Bob St. Clair, Y.A. Tittle, Dave Wilcox, Jimmy Johnson (the cornerback, not the coach), Joe Montana, Fred Dean, Ronnie Lott, Jerry Rice and Steve Young.
7. Minnesota Vikings, 10: Carl Eller, Paul Krause, Randall McDaniel, Alan Page, Fran Tarkenton, Ron Yary, Gary Zimmerman, Chris Doleman, John Randle and Bud Grant (coach).
8. Miami Dolphins, 9: Nick Buoniconti, Larry Csonka, Bob Griese, Jim Langer, Larry Little, Paul Warfield, Dan Marino, Dwight Stephenson and Don Shula (coach).
9. Green Bay Packers, 9: Herb Adderley, Willie Davis, Forrest Gregg, Paul Hornung, Bart Starr, Jim Taylor, Willie Wood, Jan Stenerud and James Lofton.
10. Kansas City Chiefs, 8: Bobby Bell, Len Dawson, Willie Lanier, Emmitt Thomas, Marv Levy (coach), Jan Stenerud, Marcus Allen and Willie Roaf.
11. Cleveland Browns, 7: Jim Brown, Bobby Mitchell, Leroy Kelly, Mike McCormack, Paul Warfield, Joe DeLamiellure and Ozzie Newsome.
12. Chicago Bears, 7: Doug Atkins, Mike Ditka (player & coach), Dick Butkus, Gary Sayers, Richard Dent, Dan Hampton and Mike Singletary.
13. Denver Broncos, 6: Willie Brown, Floyd Little, John Elway, Shannon Sharpe, Gary Zimmerman and Charlie Jones (broadcaster).
14. San Diego Chargers, 6: Lance Alworth, Fred Dean, Dan Fouts, Charlie Joiner, Ron Mix, Kellen Winslow.
15. Detroit Lions, 6: Yale Lary, Joe Schmidt, Lem Barney, Dick LeBeau, Charlie Sanders and Barry Sanders (no relation).
16. New York Giants, 6: Frank Gifford, Sam Huff, Y.A. Tittle, Fran Tarkenton, Harry Carson and Lawrence Taylor.
Gifford has also been elected as a broadcaster. So has Pat Summerall, but as a CBS & Fox broadcaster, not as a Giants player or broadcaster.
17. New England Patriots, 6: Nick Buoniconti, John Hannah, Mike Haynes, Andre Tippett, Curtis Martin and Don Criqui (broadcaster). This counts players from their AFL days, when they were officially the Boston Patriots.
18. Philadelphia Eagles, 5: Steve Van Buren, Chuck Bednarik, Sonny Jurgensen, Tommy McDonald and Bob Brown.
19. New York Jets, 4: Don Maynard, Joe Namath, John Riggins and Curtis Martin.
20. Indianapolis Colts, 2: Eric Dickerson and Marshall Faulk. From their Baltimore days, count Raymond Berry, Art Donovan, Ted Hendricks, John Mackey, Gino Marchetti, Lenny Moore and Don Shula.
21. Seattle Seahawks, 2: Steve Largent and Cortez Kennedy.
22. New Orleans Saints, 2: Rickey Jackson and Willie Roaf.
23. Cincinnati Bengals, 2: Charlie Joiner and Anthony Munoz.
24. Tennessee Titans, 1: Bruce Matthews (3 years as a “Tennessee Titan,” but counting 2 as a “Tennessee Oiler,” he qualifies for the Titans). His brother, Clay Matthews Jr. of the Browns and Falcons, should join him in Canton; his nephew, Clay Matthews III of the Packers, might. (Clay Sr. played for the 49ers in the 1950s, but wasn't HOF quality.) From their days as the Houston Oilers, count Elvin Bethea, Earl Campbell, Dave Casper, Ken Houston, Charlie Joiner, Matthews, Warren Moon and Mike Munchak.
25. Baltimore Ravens, 1: Rod Woodson.
26. St. Louis Rams, 1: Marshall Faulk. From their Los Angeles days, count Deacon Jones, Tom Mack, Jackie Slater (who did play their first season in St. Louis), Jack Youngblood, Eric Dickerson and broadcaster Dick Enberg.
27. Atlanta Falcons, 1: Deion Sanders.
From the defunct NFL version of the Brooklyn Dodgers (played 1930 to 1948), 1: Clarence “Ace” Parker. If he makes it to May 17 of this year, he will be 100 years old. He is the oldest living professional football player, and the oldest living Hall-of-Famer in any of the four major sports. He also played Major League Baseball, and is their 2nd-oldest living player, behind 100-year-old Connie Marrero, a pitcher for the 1950-54 Washington Senators (debuted late because of the color barrier). Parker, a native of Portsmouth, Virginia and a Duke graduate, is also the oldest living member of the College Football Hall of Fame. (The oldest living NHL player is Al Suomi, 98, of the 1936-37 Chicago Blackhawks; 94-year-old Elmer Lach is the oldest living Hockey HOFer; and while the NBA has only been around for 65 years, its oldest living player is HOF Bill Sharman, 85.)
28. Houston Texans, none. Not surprising, as they are the newest franchise.
29. Carolina Panthers, none: Not surprising, as they are one of the 4 newest franchises -- 3 if you count the Browns as an established team (and you should, even if they have looked like an expansion team). Mike McCormack was an executive with them, but that’s as close as they come. Reggie White, who played for them in 2000 and died in 2004, is their only former player thus far inducted.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars, none: Also one of the 4 newest franchises.
31. Arizona Cardinals, none: Emmitt Smith wasn’t with them long enough. From their Chicago days, count Charley Trippi. From their St. Louis days, count Larry Wilson, Dan Dierdorf, Jackie Smith and Roger Wehrli.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, none: Their only inductee to date, Lee Roy Selmon, died last year.