The largest induction class in the history of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is about to be part of another milestone. This year, for the first time ever, there will be two separate induction ceremonies honoring the 10 senior inductees, five modern-day inductees, three contributors and two coaches that are part of this year's induction class.
The modern-day inductees, coaches, and contributors will be honored in Canton, Ohio on Saturday, August 8. The 10 senior inductees will be part of a special centennial induction ceremony that will be held on Friday, Sept. 18. Both ceremonies will take place at Tom Benson Stadium.
Tickets for the enshrinement ceremony will go on sale on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 10 a.m. ET, with prices ranging from $29 to $175. The annual Hall of Fame Game will be played on Thursday, August 6. Ticket information and the two teams that will be participating in this year's game will be announced soon.
Below are the 10 individuals who will be part of the August 8 enshrinement ceremony.
- Steve Atwater, free safety (Broncos, 1989-98; Jets, 1999): One of the hardest-hitting safeties in NFL history, Atwater helped the Broncos win back-to-back Super Bowls to close out the 1990s. The 20th overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft, Atwater earned eight Pro Bowl selections over a nine-year span. He was also a two-time All-Pro and is a member of the Broncos' Ring of Honor. His pivotal sack/forced fumble of former Packers quarterback Brett Favre in Super Bowl XXXII helped Denver pull off one of the greatest upsets in Super Bowl history.
- Isaac Bruce, wide receiver (Rams, 1994-2007; 49ers 2008-09): A four-time Pro Bowler, Bruce recorded 1,024 receptions for 15,208 yards and 91 touchdowns during his prolific career. He was one of the key players in St. Louis' "Greatest Show on Turf" offense that took the league by storm from 1999-2001. In Super Bowl XXXIV, his 73-yard touchdown catch-and-run led the Rams to a 23-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans.
- Steve Hutchinson, left guard (Seahawks, 2001-05, Vikings, 2006-12): Hutchinson, one of the best lineman of his era, earned seven straight Pro Bowl selections from 2003-09 that included five All-Pro selections.
- Edgerrin James, running back (Colts 1999-2005; Cardinals 2006-07; Seahawks, 2009): A rushing champion in each of his first two NFL seasons, James retired after 11 NFL seasons with 12,246 rushing yards and 80 touchdowns. James teamed up with Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison to form one of the NFL's all-time offensive triplets during the late '90s/early 2000s.
- Troy Polamalu, safety (Steelers, 2003-14): The greatest strong safety of his era, Polamalu was an eight-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro and the 2010 Defensive Player of the Year. Polamalu helped anchor a Pittsburgh defense that helped the Steelers win two of three Super Bowl appearances from 2005-10. His pick-six late in the 2008 AFC Championship Game helped the Steelers on the path to their then-record sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy.
- Bill Cowher (Steelers, 1992-2006): Cowher was just 34 when he took over for Chuck Noll as the Steelers' head coach in 1992. Six years later, Cowher, a Pittsburgh native, would have five division titles and an AFC championship under his belt while joining Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown as the only coaches in NFL history to lead their teams to the playoffs in each of their first six seasons. In 1995, Cowher's Steelers overcame a 3-4 start to win the AFC before nearly upsetting the favored Cowboys in Super Bowl XXX. Cowher led Pittsburgh to their fifth Super Bowl title a decade later, as the Steelers defeated Seattle in Super Bowl XL while becoming the first team in history to win the Super Bowl as a sixth seed.
- Jimmy Johnson (Cowboys 1989-93; Dolphins 1996-99): Johnson was the architect behind the greatest three-year turnaround in NFL history. In 1989, he inherited a moribund Cowboys franchise that would go 1-15 during his first season in Dallas. But that season, following his infamous Herschel Walker trade, would lay down the foundation for what was to come. Johnson's Cowboys reached the mountaintop in 1992, dominating the Bills in Super Bowl XXVII. The Cowboys would become the sixth team to win back-to-back Super Bowls the following year before Johnson stunned everyone by resigning that offseason. Johnson returned to coaching in 1996, leading the Dolphins to three postseason appearances before stepping away for good after the 1999 season.
- Steve Sabol: The co-founder of NFL Films along with his father Ed (who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011), Steve Sabol played an essential role in the growth and popularity of the NFL during the 20th century.
- Paul Tagliabue: Tagliabue served as the NFL commissioner from 1989-2006. Not only did the league grow immensely under his watch, but there were also no work stoppages during Tagliabue's time as commissioner. Tagliabue was also commissioner when the NFL ushered in free agency during the early 1990s.
- George Young: Young was named the NFL's Executive of the Year five times during his 18-year run as the Giants' general manager from 1979-97. During that time, the Giants won two Super Bowl titles while fielding Hall of Fame talent that included Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson along with Pro Bowlers in Joe Morris, Mark Bavaro, George Martin, Jim Burt, Sean Landeta, Otis "OJ" Anderson and Michael Strahan, among others. Young also hired Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells, who led the Giants to their first two Super Bowl wins.
Below are the 10 members of the senior class that will be part of the Sept. 18 centennial induction ceremony.
- Harold Carmichael, receiver (Eagles, 1971-83; Cowboys, 1984): The Eagles' all-time leading receiver, Carmichael led the NFL in receptions and receiving yards in 1973. A four-time Pro Bowler, Carmichael helped lead the Eagles to their first Super Bowl appearance in 1980.
- Jim Covert, lineman (Bears 1983-90): Dan Marino's lead blocker at the University of Pittsburgh, Covert earned two All-Pro selections during his eight-year career with the Bears. A left tackle, Covert was an intricate part of the Bears' 1985 championship team. His blocking helped Walter Payton set the then all-time career rushing record in 1984.
- Bobby Dillon, safety (Packers, 1952-59): The Packers' sterling safety during the 1950s, Dillon, a Pro Bowler each year from 1954-58, remains Green Bay's all-time leader with 52 interceptions in 94 games.
- Cliff Harris, safety (Cowboys, 1970-79): Harris earned six consecutive Pro Bowl selections during his final six NFL seasons that included three straight All-Pro nods from 1976-78. Harris helped lead the Cowboys to five Super Bowl appearances during the '70s that included victories in Super Bowls VI and XII.
- Winston Hill, lineman (Jets, 1963-76; Rams, 1977): An eight-time Pro Bowler, Hill started at left tackle for the Jets during New York's shocking victory over the Colts in Super Bowl III. Hill helped provide sterling protection for Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath while also creating running lanes for running backs Matt Snell and Emerson Boozer.
- Alex Karras, defensive tackle (Lions, 1958-70): One of the NFL's most intimidating players during the 1960s, Karras, a left defensive tackle, earned three All-Pro selections and four Pro Bowl nods from 1960-65.
- Donnie Shell, safety (Steelers, 1974-87): Nicknamed "The Torpedo," Shell, an undrafted rookie in 1974, won four Super Bowls with the Steelers while recording 51 career interceptions. He was a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro.
- Duke Slater, lineman (1922-31): The NFL's first African American lineman, Slater starred for the Milwaukee Badgers, Rock Island Independents and Chicago Cardinals during the 1920s and early 1930s.
- Mac Speedie, end (Browns, 1946-52): The best end of his era, Speedie led his respective league in receptions four times and receiving yards twice. Speedie was a four-time AAFC champion and 1950 NFL champion.
- Ed Sprinkle, defensive linemen, linebacker, end (Bears, 1944-55): A dominant two-way player, Sprinkle helped lead the Bears to the 1946 NFL title. Sprinkle earned four Pro Bowl selections in a five-year span from 1950-54.