Welcome to The NFL Hall of Fame


Peyton Manning (left), Calvin Johnson (middle) and Charles Woodson (right) all were elected to the NFL Hall of Fame this year (Image Courtesy of the NFL)

To the untrained eye, Canton, Ohio is an average town.  But deep within is a valued gem for football fans—the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Even more significant, it holds the legacy of three hundred and forty-six of the most phenomenal players who have helped revolutionize the game of football. This year eight more names will join the ranks of such players.


Who Is Featured in the 2021 Hall of Fame Class?

Typically, the Hall of Fame members are announced during the NFL Honors ceremony, where the best players in the league earn titles like Offensive Rookie of the Year or Comeback Player of the Year.  A few days before the ceremony, players stay in a hotel, and Hall of Fame President David Baker goes door to door, delivering what is called “The Knock.” “The Knock” informs players that they are going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

This year, the tradition was broken.  Due to COVID-19, Baker delivered his knock to the players personally, at different surprise locations.

First up was Wide Receiver, Calvin Johnson, who has racked up 11,619 career receiving yards and eighty-three touchdowns.  Drafted as the #2 overall pick in 2007, he lived up to expectations in his nine-year career with the Detroit Lions.  

Next, was Cornerback Charles Woodson.  Woodson had an exceptional career with the Las Vegas Raiders and the Green Bay Packers, and won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2009 – he also has a remarkable career total of sixty-five interceptions.  

Following Woodson was John Lynch, who spent fifteen years in the league for the Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  He participated in eight Pro Bowls and won the Super Bowl with the Buccaneers in the 2002-2003 NFL season.

Quarterback Peyton Manning is widely recognized as one of the best quarterbacks in league history.  Manning had an illustrious career in the NFL and was the #1 overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft.  He ended up playing for the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos.  He threw for five hundred thirty-nine touchdowns and 71,940 yards.  His final game was Super Bowl 50, in which he led the Broncos to victory.  

As the only Offensive Lineman featured in this year’s enshrinee list, Alan Faneca of the Pittsburgh Steelers set the standard for how important an offensive line is. He won one Super Bowl with the Steelers and had nine Pro Bowl appearances.

The next inductee was Drew Pearson, a Dallas Cowboys’ Wide Receiver.  He helped lead his team to a Super Bowl victory in 1978. Along with that feat, he had 7,822 receiving yards and forty-eight career touchdowns and also became a three-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro player.

As a key contributor to building the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1987-2014, Bill Nunn helped establish the team as a top force in the NFL. His deep roots in the African American college communities allowed him to be a strong figure in NFL circles and cemented him as a trailblazer among football scouts. Nunn won six Super Bowls and is also a part of the Black College Football Hall of Fame.

Finally, the last member inducted into the 2021 NFL Hall of Fame Class was Tom Flores.  Among his fellow inductees, Flores was the only one who was both an NFL player and coach.  As a quarterback for multiple teams, Flores threw for ninety-three touchdowns and coached the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders. He was lucky enough to win a combined three Super Bowls as a player for the Kansas City Chiefs (one title) and as a coach for the Oakland Raiders (two titles).


The Celebration

The inductees’ illustrious careers and contributions to the game will be memorialized at the official Hall of Fame ceremony in Canton on August 5, 2021.  Along with having their names in the record books, they will also receive a bust of their likeness and a golden jacket as a memento of their accomplishments. The ceremony will also celebrate the Class of 2020, as the event was canceled last year due to COVID-19.  

After the event, there is a Hall of Fame Game played.  It is basically a preseason game and gives players, past and present the opportunity to come together. The Hall of Fame Game will feature the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys, in a rivalry matchup that has gone back decades and produced a lot of Hall of Famers.

Being a Hall of Famer, you earn your rights to the top, and for these players featured in this year’s class, they deserve the respect for which they have worked so hard. The Hall of Fame is all about showing people who these amazing players really are.