NFL Hall of Fame 2006 Class (Live)

The NFL is about to announce the Hall of Fame Class of 2006.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin was once again snubbed.

The 2006 inductees:

  • Troy Aikman, Quarterback, Dallas Cowboys
  • Harry Carson, Linebacker, New York Giants
  • John Madden, Coach, Oakland Raiders
  • Warren Moon, Quarterback, Houston Oilers, Minnesota Vikings, and Seattle Seahawks
  • Reggie White, Defensive Lineman, Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, and Carolina Packers
  • Rayfield Wright, Offensive Lineman, Dallas Cowboys

The six enshrinees was the maximum allowable under the rules. Aikman and White were simply slam dunk first ballot choices and Moon, also picked on his first year of eligibility, clearly deserved it. The enshrinement of Wright, a member of the 1970s All-Decade Team, corrects one of the great oversights in Canton.

Carson likely deserved to be in, too, although not as much as Irvin. He wasn’t even the best linebacker on his own team.

Madden deserves it on a “contributions to the game” basis but not as a coach. His career with the Raiders was simply too short.

Speeches: Aikman was, as we have come to expect from his broadcasting career, quite eloquent and humble. Wright and Madden, who both waited a very long time to get in, were the most humbled. Madden was so flustered he could barely talk.

Elsewhere: has bios on all the members of the class, via the AP.

Aikman, Wright get Hall call (DMN)

Photo Former Cowboys QB Troy Aikman (left) and offensive lineman Rayfield Wright. Troy Aikman and Rayfield Wright never played together during their careers with the Cowboys, but they will soon be teammates. On Saturday, Aikman and Wright were selected for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, becoming the sixth and seventh players in team history to earn the sport’s highest honor.

For the second straight year, Michael Irvin, the Cowboys’ all-time leading receiver, did not make the final cut and will likely be on the ballot again in 2007.


Aikman is the first player in the Jerry Jones’ Era to make the Hall of Fame, while Wright is the first offensive lineman in team history to be enshrined. They are the first Cowboys to be elected to the Hall of Fame since Mel Renfro in 1996. It will be the first time since 1994 the Cowboys will have two players going into the Hall of Fame in the same year. Tony Dorsett and Randy White were inducted that year.

Aikman’s candidacy was not one of gaudy statistics but of winning. From an 0-11 record his rookie year in 1989 to three Super Bowl wins, no quarterback in any decade in NFL history won more than the 90 games Aikman’s Cowboys won in the 1990s. He led the Cowboys to wins in Super Bowls XXVII, XXVIII and XXX. In Super Bowl XXVII against Buffalo, he was named the game’s Most Valuable Player, throwing for 273 yards and four touchdowns in the 52-17 victory. His career ended because of a series of concussions, but he threw for 32,942 yards and 165 touchdowns, both team records in 12 seasons. He was named to the Pro Bowl six times.

“He’s a Young, Marino, Elway and Bradshaw, a first-year Hall of Famer,” former Cowboys quarterback and Hall of Famer Roger Staubach said earlier this week. “He really resurrected the Dallas Cowboys. He was a spectacular football player when he was asked to be spectacular.”

Two years ago, Wright made it to the final six of the voting process, along with former teammate Bob Hayes, and did not get in. Again a Veterans Committee candidate this year, Wright finally took the place so many of his former teammates, such as Staubach and Calvin Hill and opponents, such as Deacon Jones and Jack Youngblood, felt he had earned. Wright is the only offensive tackle to play in five Super Bowls, and he was selected to six Pro Bowls and was a four-time All-NFL selection. He helped cleared the way for the first five 1,000-yard rushers in franchise history. Somewhat easing his pain from the earlier Hall of Fame snub, Wright was inducted into the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor in 2004.

Despite his 750 career catches and 11,904 yards, Irvin fell short again. He had a well-publicized arrest last November, but off-the-field issues are not supposed to be part of the criteria used by the voters. “It’s the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” former teammate and the NFL’s all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith said Friday. “It’s not the Life Hall of Fame.” Irvin went to five Pro Bowls and holds the NFL record with 11 100-yard receiving games in a season (1995), but he was the heart of a team that won three Super Bowls in four years and played in four straight NFC Championship games. His career came to a premature end because of a back injury in 1999.

Aikman, Wright elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame (FWST/AP)

Troy Aikman made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s biggest class in years. The guy he threw to – Michael Irvin – will have to wait once again. Reggie White, Warren Moon, Harry Carson, John Madden and Rayfield Wright also were elected Saturday. Not since 2001 had the maximum number of candidates been chosen.

Emmitt Smith, who joined with Aikman and Irvin to win three Super Bowls for the Dallas Cowboys, campaigned vigorously Friday for his two former teammates. But Irvin, plagued by off-the-field troubles in recent years, was left out in his second try.

The late White, the NFL career sacks leader when he retired in 2000, and star quarterbacks Aikman and Moon made it in their first year of eligibility. Moon is the first black quarterback in the Hall. Madden and Wright were seniors committee candidates and Carson was in his seventh year as a finalist.

Hall-elujah — Wright, Aikman Inducted Into Hall of Fame; Irvin Misses Again (Dallas

Photo Troy Aikman and Rayfield Wright become the sixth and seventh former Cowboys into the Hall of Fame. For the first time in 10 years, the Cowboys will have a representative in the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction. In fact, make it two. Former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman and offensive tackle Rayfield Wright were among six players voted into the Hall of Fame Saturday in Detroit, by the 39-person selection committee.

The rest of the 2006 Hall of Fame class will include former Eagles and Packers defensive end Reggie White, former Raiders coach and current NFL broadcaster John Madden, former Giants linebacker Harry Carson and former Oilers quarterback Warren Moon.

However, for the second straight year, former Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin was left out. Unlike last year, Irvin was not among the six finalists. Now, the Cowboys’ all-time leading receiver will have to wait another year.

Wright and Aikman become the sixth and seventh former Cowboys players inducted into the Hall of Fame, joining Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Bob Lilly, Randy White and Mel Renfro, the last player inducted in 1996. Also, Tom Landry and Tex Schramm have been inducted to the Hall of Fame.

Aikman, the Cowboys’ all-time leading passer, led his team to three Super Bowl wins in a four-year span and was named MVP of Super Bowl XXVII. “It’s the greatest individual athletic achievement that’s ever happened in my life,” Aikman said Saturday afternoon, minutes after the announcement in Detroit. “To be considered one of those players that made an impact or somehow helped defined the game itself, it’s a very humbling experience.”

Wright, the first Cowboys offensive linemen to be inducted, played 13 seasons from 1967-79, earning six Pro Bowl selections.



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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He's a widower and father of two young daughers. He earned his PhD from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DaveD says:

    I am going to half-heartedly disagree with you about Madden regarding the coaching statement. He did coach for 10 years. I think that’s a pretty decent tenure.


  2. Gerlad says:

    Carson played five years before LT got there and was a standout. Just because he was not the best on the team is not a reason to keep him out – LT was the best ever. The Steelers of the 70s had multiple d-linemen and linebackers go to the hall of fame – only one at each position was the best on the team.
    Carson played in 9 pro-bowls including the last 7 years of his career.


  3. Gerlad says:

    Plus, Carson started the gatorade over the coach tradition.


  4. James Joyner says:

    Dave: I suppose so. Madden only won one Super Bowl but he was no doubt a terrific coach.

    Gerlad: The 1970s Steelers, great as they were, are over-represented in the HoF compared to comparable teams. I agree Banks deserves to be in — he was a standout — just not on a ballot that excludes Michael Irvin. Irvin was the second best wideout in the league in the 1990s –and Jerry Rice is arguably the best football player, not not WR, ever– and a leader on a team that won three championships.


  5. Dodd says:

    Madden still has the highest regular season winning percentage in history for a coach, even though the League was dominated by the Steelers in that era. And he won a Super Bowl. He earned it on the sidelines, not for being on a video game.

    And it’s hard to see how the Hall could induct Irvin within months of that arrest (which wasn’t his first). They know he’ll be inducted eventually, but they’re senstive to such things. Had they selected him over any of these other guys, the hand-wringing over that one thing would have dominated the coverage, overshadowing the other five guys. No surprise at all he was passed over.


  6. G A PHILLIPS says:



  7. Doug says:

    Irvin should make it next year, as long as he doesn’t get pulled over with a crack pipe in his car again.

    To me, he was the HEART and SOUL of the Cowboys in the 90’s.