ATLANTA — A trio of first-ballot inductees headline the 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.
Safety Ed Reed, cornerback Champ Bailey and tight end Tony Gonzalez were the top names in the eight-man class. They all made it in their first year of eligibility.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame voters met on Saturday morning here to debate the finalists and voted on the 2019 class, which will be inducted in Canton on Aug. 3.
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) February 2, 2019
The Pro Football Hall of Fame selection meeting has concluded. Longest discussions for the modern-era finalists were held on Ty Law (27:16), Tony Boselli (26:10), Kevin Mawae (24:52), Don Coryell (22:37) and Tom Flores (18:54). The shortest was Ed Reed (2:20).
— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoNBCS) February 2, 2019
Here are details on the newest Hall of Famers, announced at NFL Honors on Saturday night:
Tight end Tony Gonzalez
Over 17 seasons, 12 with the Kansas City Chiefs and five with the Atlanta Falcons, Gonzalez helped transform the tight end position. Gonzalez finished his career second to only Jerry Rice with 1,325 receptions, he’s sixth all-time with 15,127 yards and eighth with 111 touchdown receptions.
Gonzalez wasn’t the first tight end who was tall, athletic and able to move around the formation to take advantage of his versatility, but he became the prototype for what most NFL teams are looking for in the tight end position.
Cornerback Champ Bailey
From 2000 to 2012, Bailey made the Pro Bowl 12 times. That made his case for the Hall undeniable.
Bailey spent his first five seasons in Washington, then was traded to the Broncos in a blockbuster deal that had running back Clinton Portis head to the Redskins. He spent 10 seasons with the Broncos and was one of the best cornerbacks in the game into his 30s. He had 52 career interceptions, including a league-leading 10 during a phenomenal 2006 season.
Safety Ed Reed
Reed has a good argument as the greatest safety in NFL history. He had a great 11-year run with the Baltimore Ravens before splitting his final season between the Texans and Jets.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) February 2, 2019
When Reed was with the Ravens, he was a versatile superstar whose talents allowed Baltimore to be aggressive in front of him. He had amazing range, and finished his career with 64 interceptions. He was a five-time All-Pro and the 2004 NFL defensive player of the year.
Center Kevin Mawae
Mawae played 16 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets and Tennessee Titans, playing 241 games. He mostly played center and was one of the best in the game, making eight Pro Bowls. He was named All-Pro three times, including in 2008 at age 37.
Cornerback Ty Law
It’s fitting that Law got in, as the Patriots prepare to face the Rams in the Super Bowl. The first time those teams met in a Super Bowl, Law’s pick-six was one of the biggest plays in the Patriots win, which kicked off a dynasty.
Law played 10 seasons with the New England Patriots, two with the New York Jets, two with the Kansas City Chiefs and one with the Denver Broncos. He made five Pro Bowls and finished his career with 53 interceptions.
Safety Johnny Robinson
Robinson was a senior finalist, and finally got into the Hall. He was a star safety for the Dallas Texans and then the Kansas City Chiefs, spending most of his career in the AFL. Robinson started his career as a running back, spending two seasons there before going to defense full time. He ended up with 57 interceptions, snagging a league-leading 10 on two separate occasions.
Vice president of player personnel Gil Brandt
Brandt spent 29 years in the Cowboys front office, and was a key part of their success under coach Tom Landry. Brandt oversaw the drafting of eight Hall of Fame players in his career with the Cowboys. He is now with NFL.com and was enshrined in the Cowboys ring of honor this season.
Owner Pat Bowlen
The Broncos had a long stretch of success under Bowlen’s ownership, culminating in back-to-back Super Bowl wins in the late 1990s. Bowlen was also on many committees, and was instrumental in negotiating the league’s television deals.
“THIS ONE’S FOR PAT!”
The moment the Bowlen family got “The Knock” — and then called Mr. B. pic.twitter.com/8SArOwfm53
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) February 2, 2019
Bowlen stepped away from his ownership duties with the Broncos in 2014 due to Alzheimer’s disease.
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