28 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductees Cap Off A Memorable Weekend

This past weekend, the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrined 28 players, contributors and coaches, including eight members of the class of 2021. Below is an overview of the 2021 class…

Alan Faneca enjoyed a 13-year NFL career as an offensive guard, playing primarily with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1998-2007) during which time he earned six first-team All-Pro selections and won a Super Bowl XL ring. Faneca was named to nine consecutive Pro Bowls from 2001-2009 and finished his playing days with the New York Jets (2008-2009) and Arizona Cardinals (2010). In nine of his 13 years in the NFL, Faneca blocked for a tailback who would go on to eclipse 1,000 yards of rushing on the year. A former first-round NFL Draft pick out of LSU, Faneca is a member of both the Pittsburgh Steelers All-Time Team and the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team.

Tom Floresholds the unique distinction of being only one of two people (the other being Mike Ditka) to win a Super Bowl as a player, assistant coach and head coach. Flores won a Super Bowl IV ring playing quarterback with the Kansas City Chiefs for the 1969 season. From 1972-1978, he was an assistant with the Oakland Raiders, overseeing their wide receivers and helping the team to a win over Minnesota in Super Bowl XI. From 1979-1987, Flores served as head coach of the Raiders, who moved to Los Angeles in 1982. While at the helm, he guided the team to wins in Super Bowls XV and XVIII. Flores later served as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks from 1992-1994.

Calvin Johnson, who played his entire career from 2007-2015 with the Detroit Lions, displayed near superhuman offensive abilities during his playing days, earning him the nickname “Megatron.” Johnson produced seven seasons of 1,000-plus yards of receiving. His 1,681 yards in 2011 led the NFL and the next year, he hauled in an NFL-record 1,964 yards to go along with a league-high 122 catches. A six-time Pro Bowl selection (2010-2015), Johnson earned three straight first-team All-Pro honors from 2011-2013. He is a member of the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team. A highly decorated college athlete at Georgia Tech, Johnson won the Biletnikoff Award in 2006 as the nation’s top receiver, winning first-team All-American and first-team All-ACC accolades to go along with ACC Player of the Year. He was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

John Lynch played safety for 16 years, primarily with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1993-2003), with whom he won a Super Bowl XXXVI ring. Lynch earned nine trips to the Pro Bowl in 1997, 1999-2002 and 2004-2007, and was a back-to-back first-team All-Pro selection in 1999 and 2000. Following his career with the Bucs, Lynch played in the NFL for another five years with the Denver Broncos (2004-2007) and New England Patriots (2008). He is a member of both the Buccaneers Ring of Honor and Broncos Ring of Fame. Since 2017, Lynch has served as the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers. He was named the 2019 NFL Executive of the Year by the Pro Football Writers Association. 

One of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time, Peyton Manning is a two-time Super Bowl-winning (XLI and 50) quarterback whose 71,940 yards of passing ranks third all-time in league history. A five-time NFL MVP (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2013), Manning was named to 14 Pro Bowls during his 18-year career spent with the Indianapolis Colts (1998-2011) and Denver Broncos (2012-2015).

Manning earned seven first-team All-Pro accolades, leading the NFL in passing yards three times, touchdowns four times and passer rating three times.

Both the Broncos and Colts have retired his No. 18 jersey and he is a member of both the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team and NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. A former standout at Tennessee, Manning became a member of the College Football Hall of Fame in 2017.

Bill Nunn was one of the most prolific NFL scouts in league history, spending his entire 47-year career from 1968-2014 with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who inducted him as an inaugural member into their Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011. From 1974-2008, Nunn won six Super Bowl rings with the Steelers (IX, X, XIII, XIV, XL, XLIII) in his capacity as a scout. Nunn played a crucial role in transforming the Steelers from a last-place club to one of the top sports dynasties of the 1970s. 

In particular, Nunn scouted and identified many recognizable players that would lead the Steelers to four Super Bowl titles from 1974-1979, such as wide receiver John Stallworth, cornerback Mel Blount, safety Donnie Shell — all of whom came from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) — and linebacker Jack Lambert.

Drew Pearson played wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys from 1973-1983 and at the time of his retirement, held Cowboys franchise records for receiving yards and receptions. Pearson captured a Super Bowl XII ring for the 1977 season with Dallas, a year in which he also led the NFL in receiving yards (870) as fellow Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach’s favorite target. A member of the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team and Cowboys Ring of Honor, Pearson was named to three Pro Bowls in 1974, 1976 and 1977, earning first-team All-Pro honors for each year as well.

Charles Woodson played defensive back from 1998-2015 with the Oakland Raiders (1998-2005, 2013-2015) and Green Bay Packers (2006-2012), winning Super Bowl XLV in 2011. A nine-time Pro Bowler, Woodson was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 and earned NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 1998. In 1999, 2001, 2009 and 2011 Woodson was named first-team All-Pro. He led the NFL in interceptions twice (2009, 2011) and is a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. Woodson enjoyed a highly successful college career at Michigan, winning the Heisman Trophy, Walter Camp Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Jim Thorpe Award — among many other accolades — in 1997.

In addition to the class of 2021, the Hall of Fame inducted the class of 2020, which was postponed a year due to the pandemic, along with several others that were elected by a panel as part of the NFL’s 100th Anniversary. The 2020 class included Steve Atwater (Denver Broncos), Troy Polamalu (Pittsburgh Steelers), Steve Hutchinson (Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans & Minnesota Vikings), Isaac Bruce (St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams) and Edgerrin James (Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks). The 100th Anniversary inductees were coaches Jimmy Johnson (Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins) and Bill Cowher (Pittsburgh Steelers) along with Paul Tagliabue (NFL Commissioner) and Steve Sabol (NFL Films).

SportsSpeakers 360 has been providing companies and organizations access to thousands of athletes in all major sports for close to 25 years, including many of the newly inducted Hall of Famers. If you’d like to book Peyton Manning, secure a Bill Cowher speaking engagement or a Drew Pearson appearance among others, please contact Sports Speakers 360 today!