The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the rite of passage for NFL players, coaches, and contributors who have made the greatest impact on the game to enter their football utopia of immortality. While it is occasionally mislabeled as the NFL Hall of Fame, due to the recent dominance of the league, it also rewards accomplishments in other leagues.
The Canadian Football League and Arena Football League both have their own halls of fame, but players have been inducted into Canton for their achievements in the American Football League, All-America Football Conference, and Ohio League. National leagues such as the United States Football League and XFL are not recognized.
As a reward for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, members receive a gold jacket and a bust representing their likeness, the latter of which can be found in the on-site museum.
Are players enshrined as a member of a team?
Unlike the halls of fame for other sports, inductees are not enshrined as a member of a certain team. Instead, every team that they represented are included and given equal prominence.
There are currently 346 members of the Hall of Fame. A full list of members, complete with profiles, can be found on the website.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans, and Carolina Panthers are the only current NFL franchises without a player inducted into the Hall of Fame. They are, however, three of the four newest franchises in the league and will hope to change that fact. Tony Boselli, who was the Jaguars’ first-ever draft pick back in 1995 and the Texans’ first pick in the 2002 expansion draft, was a finalist in 2021.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is in Canton, Ohio. The address is 2121 George Halas Dr. NW, Canton, Ohio, 44708.
The city of Canton was the birthplace of the NFL, which was known as the American Professional Football Association at the time. The city’s close links to the league and the sport, as well as its lobbying and fundraising efforts to ensure that the Hall of Fame was built, are among the reasons that it was chosen.
It is open to the public and guests are able to visit the museum, which is full of exhibits showcasing the biggest names and moments in football.
For more information, make sure to visit their website.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame opened on September 7, 1963. Prior to that, the sport didn’t have a Hall of Fame, unlike baseball, basketball, and hockey. The Canton Repository, a local newspaper, felt that the city should take it upon itself to change that.
The first class had 17 inductees, including Jim Thorpe, the NFL’s first president.
It has had six presidents since that time: Dick McCann, Dick Gallagher, Pete Elliott, John Bankert, Steve Perry, and current incumbent David Baker.
David Baker, president of the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Baker, the former Arena Football League commissioner, has been president of the Pro Football Hall of Fame since 2014.
You may not know the name, but you’ve likely seen footage of the 6-foot-9 Baker knocking on hotel room doors to inform nominees that they will be inducted.
Since taking over, the Hall of Fame has seen unprecedented levels of success. Television ratings for the ceremony have improved significantly while welcoming huge numbers of visitors and experiencing the greatest financial results in its history.
2021 Hall of Fame inductees
The 5 modern-era inductees to the 2021 Hall of Fame are (in alphabetical order):
- Alan Faneca
- Calvin Johnson
- John Lynch
- Peyton Manning
- Charles Woodson
Players and coaches must have been retired for at least five years to be eligible. Of the above players, four of the finalists were in their first year of eligibility: Jared Allen, Calvin Johnson, Peyton Manning, and Charles Woodson.
In addition to the modern-era finalists, Tom Flores will be inducted as a coach, Bill Nunn as a contributor, and Drew Pearson in the senior category.
Up to five players from the modern-era category could be elected into the Hall of Fame. Additionally, they will need a minimum of 80% of the votes if they are to be successful. Flores, Nunn, and Pearson had individual votes, unaffected by the results of the modern-era category.
The centennial class of 2020, which featured 15 additional new members to mark the 100th anniversary of the NFL, will also be enshrined in 2021, although they will be considered part of the 2020 class.
Information on the NFL’s Hall of Fame game for 2021
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Game is an annual exhibition game between two NFL teams. It takes place each year on the weekend of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony.
The 2020 game was canceled but the 2021 game is currently scheduled for August 5, 2021. As a result, the two teams who were supposed to meet in 2020, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys, have agreed to play this year’s installment.
Want more NFL news and analysis?
Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@PFN365) to stay up to date with all things around the NFL. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis concerning the 2020 season and beyond.