Eight “Heroes of the Game” have been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022. The Hall’s 49-person Selection Committee met virtually Jan. 18 for its annual meeting.
The new class of Enshrinees was just announced during “NFL Honors,” a two-hour primetime awards special that aired nationally tonight on ABC with simulcasts on ESPN+ and NFL Network. The newest members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame are tackle TONY BOSELLI, wide receiver CLIFF BRANCH, safety LeROY BUTLER, official ART McNALLY, linebacker SAM MILLS, defensive end/defensive tackle RICHARD SEYMOUR, coach DICK VERMEIL and defensive tackle/defensive end BRYANT YOUNG.
Boselli, Butler, McNally, Seymour, Vermeil and Young learned of their election when a Hall of Famer knocked on their door in late January. Those encounters can be seen Saturday when NFL Network airs a one-hour special, beginning at 9 p.m. ET. The families of Branch and Mills received the news in a phone call from Hall of Fame President Jim Porter.
“Each member of this great class represents the values of the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Porter said. “We look forward to honoring them in August.”
The annual selection meeting capped a year-round selection process. The newly elected Hall of Famers were chosen from a list of 18 Finalists who had been determined earlier by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee. Representatives of the accounting firm EY tabulated all votes during the virtual meeting.
The Class of 2022 will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 6 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.
PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2022
HOF Finalist: 6 | Year of Eligibility: 16
Ht: 6-7, Wt: 324
NFL Career: 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars
Seasons: 7, Games: 91
College: Southern California
Drafted: 1st Round (2nd Overall), 1995
Born: April 17, 1972 in Modesto, California
Quickly became face of the expansion franchise … Sat out rookie training camp with knee injury, saw first action in Week 4 … First career start came following week in franchise’s first victory … Earned All-Rookie honors … Regarded as an elite tackle in the NFL during career … Noted for superb foot speed and agility … Persevered through numerous injuries … Leader of team that led expansion Jaguars to AFC championship game by second season … Anchored offensive line that helped team to four straight playoff appearances with records of 9-7, 11-5, 11-5 and 14-2 from 1996-99 … Picked as team’s Most Valuable Player in 1998 after helping Jaguars to team’s first division title … Voted to five straight Pro Bowls (1997-2001) … Named First-Team All-Pro three consecutive seasons … Selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s despite only playing in half of the decade … Suffered severe shoulder injury that ultimately ended career and was placed on injured reserve after three games, 2001 … Houston Texans’ first pick of 2002 expansion draft but injury prevented him from playing again.
HOF Finalist: 2 | Year of Eligibility: 32
Position: Wide Receiver
Ht: 5-11, Wt: 170
NFL Career: 1972-1985 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
Seasons: 14, Games: 182
College: Warton County (TX) Junior College; Colorado
Drafted: 4th round (98th player overall), 1972
Born: August 1, 1948 in Houston, Texas
Died: August 3, 2019
A world-class sprinter who set an NCAA championship meet record with a 10-second 100-meter dash out of Colorado … Fourth-round draft pick (98th overall) by the Oakland Raiders … 14-year NFL career, his career stats include 501 catches for 8,685 yards and 67 touchdowns in 182 regular-season games … Branch helped lead the team to three Super Bowl appearances – XI, XV and XVIII – with a victory in each … Led the NFL with 1,092 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns in 1974 … In 22 playoff games, he caught 73 passes for 1,289 yards (17.7 average) – both NFL records at the time of his retirement … Branch received first-team All-Pro nods three times (1974-76) and was voted to four Pro Bowls (1975-77, 1978).
HOF Finalist: 3 | Year of Eligibility: 16
Ht: 6-0, Wt: 197
NFL Career: 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers
Seasons: 12, Games: 181
College: Florida State
Drafted: 2nd Round (48th Overall), 1990
Born: July 19, 1968 in Jacksonville, Florida
One of the most prolific defensive backs in the Packers’ storied history and among premier safeties of his era … Led the team in interceptions five times … Key member of defense that guided team’s resurgence that included seven playoff appearances in nine-season span … Helped lead Packers to three straight division titles (1995-97) and two Super Bowl appearances … Started at strong safety in three consecutive NFC Championship Games and Super Bowls XXXI and XXXII … Had seven tackles and one sack in Packers’ 35-21 victory over New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI … Intercepted a pass in every season but his last … Career stats: 38 interceptions for 533 yards … Only pick-six came on 90-yard return versus San Diego Chargers, Sept. 15, 1996 … Registered 20.5 career sacks and one fumble recovery for a TD … Selected to four Pro Bowls … All-Pro four times (1993, 1996, 1997, 1998) … Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s.
HOF Finalist: 2 | Year of Eligibility: n/a
Career: 1959-2015 National Football League
Born: July 1, 1925 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Served as an NFL official for nine years (Field Judge, 1959; Referee 1960-67) before he was hired as the NFL’s Supervisor of Officials in 1968 … Upon appointment, installed the first formal film study program for training and evaluation of football officials … Developed standards for the scouting, screening, hiring and grading of the crews that work each NFL game … Headed a department of five individuals who coordinated and directed a staff of 112 game officials … The “Father of Instant Replay,” McNally introduced the system to the NFL through his leadership, instant replay has become an accepted part of the game and has spread to all major sports in America … Retired as the NFL’s Supervisor of Officials in 1991 but quickly accepted a position as Supervisor of Officials for the World League of American Football in 1992 … Returned to NFL office to work as an Assistant Supervisor of Officials during each season and continued in that capacity until 2007 … continued as an NFL Officiating Observer until 2015.
HOF Finalist: 3 | Year of Eligibility: 20
Ht: 5-9, Wt: 229
NFL Career: 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers
Seasons: 12, Games: 181
College: Montclair State
Undrafted. Signed by New Orleans Saints in 1986 after playing three seasons in USFL
Born: June 3, 1959 in Neptune, New Jersey
Died: April 18, 2005.
Played three seasons in USFL before league folded, then signed with Saints in 1986 … Quickly became starter and team leader … Earned first Pro Bowl nod in second season … Led defense that helped Saints establish sustained success for first time in franchise history … During his tenure in New Orleans, the team made four playoff appearances … Signed with expansion Carolina Panthers as unrestricted free agent in 1995 … Key member of defense that helped Panthers claim division title and NFC Championship Game appearance in second season … Recorded five tackles and nine assists and one interception in the 1996 NFC Championship Game … Perennial team leader in tackles for Saints (five seasons) and Panthers (twice) … Named All-Pro and All-NFC three times (1991, 1992, 1996) … Voted to five Pro Bowls … Career statistics include 11 interceptions returned for 119 yards and a TD and three fumble recoveries for touchdowns.
HOF Finalist: 4 | Year of Eligibility: 5
Position: Defensive End/Defensive Tackle
Ht: 6-6, Wt: 317
NFL Career: 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders
Seasons: 12, Games: 164
Drafted: 1st Round (6th Overall), 2001
Born: Oct. 6, 1979 in Gadsden, South Carolina
Integral member of defense that helped Patriots to six division titles over seven-season span … Patriots teams posted 10 or more wins seven times during his eight seasons with team … Led Patriots in sacks twice (2002, 2008) … Registered a career-high 8 sacks in 2008 … Amassed 57.5 career sacks … Recorded 3 or more sacks in every season but one … In games in which he recorded a sack, teams had a record of 46-8 (.852) … Returned fumble a franchise-record 68 yards for TD against Buffalo Bills on Oct. 3, 2004 … Recorded 39 passes defensed, two interceptions in career … Played in four AFC Championship Games and four Super Bowls, including victories in Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII and XXXIX … Selected first team All-Pro three consecutive seasons (2003-05) and second team twice (2006, 2011) … All-AFC five times … Voted to seven Pro Bowls … Named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s.
HOF Finalist: 2 | Year of Eligibility: 12
NFL Career: 1976-1982 Philadelphia Eagles, 1997-99 St. Louis Rams,
2001-05 Kansas City Chiefs
College: Napa Junior College, San Jose State
Born: October 30, 1936 in Calistoga, California
Climb to NFL job was a steady ascent that played out in his native California – from high school coach to junior college coach to four years (1965-68) as an assistant at Stanford … In 1969, became the NFL’s first designated special teams coach as a member of Hall of Famer George Allen’s staff with the Los Angeles Rams … mastered the three-year turnaround, leading the Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs to the postseason after years – nearly two decades for the Eagles – on the outside looking in … Led Eagles to NFC title in 1980 and an appearance in Super Bowl XV … Abruptly resigned following the strike-affected 1982 season, citing “burnout” … Rams lured Vermeil back to the sidelines in 1997 … Rams went 13-3 and won Super Bowl XXXIV with “The Greatest Show on Turf” in 1999 … Named NFL Coach of the Year twice by Sporting News (1979,1999) and once by the Associated Press (1999) … Regular season record: 120-109-0, .524 … Postseason record: 6-5, .545 … Overall record: 126-114-0, .525.
HOF Finalist: 2 | Year of Eligibility: 10
Position: Defensive Tackle/Defensive End
Ht: 6-3, Wt: 291
NFL Career: 1994-2007 San Francisco 49ers
Seasons: 14, Games: 208
College: Notre Dame
Drafted: 1st Round (7th Overall), 1994
Born: January 27, 1972 in Chicago Heights, Illinois
Highly touted draft pick earned All-Rookie honors … Amassed 89.5 career sacks … Registered multiple sacks in each of his 14 seasons … Recorded double-digit sack totals in a season twice (11.5 in 1996 and 11.0 in 1999) …Made NFL record-tying two safeties in a season, 1996 … Recovered from broken leg to earn 1999 NFL Comeback Player of the Year after finishing with 42 tackles, three passes defensed, 20 QB pressures and team-leading 11 sacks, 15 tackles for a loss and one safety … Started in two NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl … Recorded three tackles, two assisted tackles and one pass defensed in 49ers’ win over Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX … Won team’s esteemed Len Eshmont Award for “inspirational and courageous play” eight times; no other member of 49ers organization has won it more than twice … First-team All-Pro twice (1996, 1998) … Voted to four Pro Bowls … Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s.
The Coach, Contributor and Senior Finalists were voted “yes” or “no” for election at the annual selection meeting and needed at least 80% support from the Committee to be elected. The Modern-Era Finalists were trimmed during the meeting from 15 to 10, then from 10 to five. They, too, had to receive the same 80% positive vote as the Coach, Contributor and Senior Finalists when they were voted “yes” or “no” to earn election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame’s membership, including the newly elected Class of 2022, now stands at 362.
ENSHRINEMENT WEEK POWERED BY JOHNSON CONTROLS
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls, a multi-day celebration of the enshrinement of the newest Hall of Fame Class, is held each year in Canton. Boselli, Branch, Butler, McNally, Mills, Seymour, Vermeil and Young will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. The ceremony is nationally televised by NFL Network and ESPN.
The 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls kicks off the NFL’s 103rd season with the annual Hall of Fame Game on Thursday, Aug. 4. Other major events complementing the Enshrinees’ Gold Jacket Ceremony (Friday, Aug. 5) and the Enshrinees Roundtable (Sunday, Aug. 7).
Details about the Concert for Legends are being finalized.
For more information, visit https://www.profootballhof.com/enshrinement/
Official Ticket Packages for the 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls are on sale from Hall of Fame Experiences. Head to www.HOFExperiences.com to secure your spot to see the Class of 2022 enshrined. Ticket packages also can be obtained by calling 844-751-0532. Packages range from single-day offerings to four-day experiences that include premium seating, VIP access, exclusive parties and more.
Individual tickets for the Class of 2022 Enshrinement, Gold Jacket Ceremony and Concert for Legends will go on sale in the spring.