Enshrinees in 1993 are at the head of the classes inducted into the Football Hall of Fame.
As we approach the day — Saturday — when the members of this year’s class of Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinees are announced, this handful of names seem appropriate to keep in mind. They are a standard, a measuring stick, an example of what it means to be chosen as a Hall of Famer.
The five stellar members of the Class of 1993, — Dan Fouts, Larry Little, Chuck Noll, Walter Payton, and Bill Walsh — were one of the most accomplished groups ever enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
This is how The Repository described them 20 years ago:
• “Quarterback Dan Fouts was the main weapon in the ‘Air Coryell’ arsenal. ... Fouts finished his career with 43,040 yards passing, the second highest total in league history.”
• “Bill Walsh had a true eye for talent, a genius many would say.”
• “During Payton’s 13-year career, he rushed for 16,726 yards, an all-time record.”
• “Noll became the only coach in NFL history to win four Super Bowls.”
• “Larry Little was one of the perfect ingredients that helped make up a perfect season.”
Little was an offensive guard on the Miami Dolphins’ undefeated 17-0 season in 1972 — the team that lost only two games in a pair of seasons and only five games in three years. At the enshrinement ceremonies, he stressed that his achievements were team accomplishments.
Fouts, too, thanked others, including his pass-oriented coach with the San Diego Chargers.
“Don Coryell, he’s why I’m here,” Fouts acknowledged.
According to The Repository, “Payton wanted to share his enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame with everyone who helped make it possible.”
“It doesn’t belong to me alone,” said the former Chicago Bears running back.
Noll noted that six members of his dominant Pittsburgh Steelers teams — Joe Greene, Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, and Mel Blount — had made it into the Hall of Fame before him.
Famed San Francisco Coach Bill Walsh was grateful to others for much of the knowledge for which he was credited.
“I also learned so much from a lot of other people,” said Walsh. “But it’s gratifying that people have adopted our style of football, which is simply no more than being able to run and pass.”
Simple skills — running, passing, kicking, blocking, tackling — are exhibited by all professional football players.
Those who earn the right to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame with the Class of 1993 — such as those who will be named this weekend — take it to a new level.
WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
The 17 finalists for enshrinement in 2013 in the Pro Football Hall of Fame were announced by the Hall earlier this month. They are: Larry Allen, Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Chris Carter, Curley Culp, Edward J. DeBartolo Jr., Kevin Greene, Charles Haley, Art Modell, Jonathan Ogden, Bill Parcells, Andre Reed, Dave Robinson, Warren Sapp, Will Shields, Michael Strahan, and Aeneas Williams.
Page 2 of 2 - The maximum number that can be inducted is seven. Which seven (or fewer) would you select for enshrinement? Email your list, along with a brief reason for one or two of your choices, to firstname.lastname@example.org by 9 a.m. Friday. Your responses may be published in The Repository.