Marino, Young, Irvin, Thomas Hall of Fame Finalists
Rare air: Marino, Young lead pro Hall finalists (ESPN – AP)
CANTON, Ohio – Quarterbacks Dan Marino and Steve Young and wide receiver Michael Irvin were among 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Tuesday. Marino, who holds many of the NFL’s career passing records, and Young, who led San Francisco to the 1994 NFL title, were among four finalists who made the list in their first year of eligibility. The others were Irvin, a member of the Dallas teams that won three Super Bowls between 1992 and 1995, and Derrick Thomas, who played for Kansas City and died in 2000 of injuries suffered in an auto accident.
Two of the finalists had been determined previously — senior nominees Fritz Pollard and Benny Friedman. Pollard, who played in the 1920s, also was the first black to coach an NFL team. Friedman played for several teams between 1927 and 1934.
The other nominees were linebacker Harry Carson, who played for the Giants in the 1970s and 1980s and was a member of the 1986 NFL champions; defensive end Richard Dent, the MVP for the Bears in the Super Bowl after the 1985 season; defensive end L.C. Greenwood, a member of Pittsburgh’s “Steel Curtain” teams of the 1970s; guard Russ Grimm, a member of Washington’s famed “Hogs,” defensive end Claude Humphrey, who played for Washington and Philadelphia between 1968 and 1981; guard Bob Kuechenberg, who played on Miami’s 1972 undefeated champions, wide receiver Art Monk, a member of three Super Bowl winners with Washington; Roger Wehrli, a cornerback for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1969 to 1982; and George Young, who built two Super Bowl winners as general manager of the Giants. Young died in 2001.
As I noted when the list of nominees came out, all of the first-year finalists are well deserving. I’m always a bit dubious of the Seniors Committee selections, who already missed out in their own eras.