A look at non-NFL players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Just last week, Buffalo Bills assistant athletic trainer Denny Kellington generated buzz as a potential nominee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame following his life-saving actions to administer CPR to Damar Hamlin.
While Kellington’s window for the next round of inductees has passed, it wouldn’t be unprecedented for a non-player to earn the yellow jacket. In fact, the Hall of Fame is currently filled with people that made a lasting impact on the game without ever suiting up.
Here’s a look at some of the different paths Hall of Famers have taken to Canton.
How many members are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
As of last February with the induction of the class of 2022, there are 362 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. These include former players, coaches, officials, owners, commissioners and various contributors to the league.
What are the requirements to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
For a very elite club, there’s really only one requirement for entry – an inductee must be at least five seasons removed from their last season as a coach or player. For example, a candidate for the upcoming class of 2023 could not have played past the 2017 season.
For non-players and coaches, there is no minimum year requirement.
How many members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame never played in the NFL?
You might be surprised to learn that some of the biggest names in NFL history never put on the pads themselves. This includes former league commissioners Pete Rozelle and Paul Tagliabue, longtime coach and commentator John Madden and a whole slew of coaches and owners such as Paul Brown, Jerry Jones and Vince Lombardi, among others.
The list of Hall-of-Famers who never played in the NFL is below:
George Young (team executive)
Ron Wolf (general manager)
Ralph C. Wilson (founder of the Buffalo Bills)
Bill Walsh (coach)
Dick Vermeil (coach)
Hank Stram (coach)
Don Shula (coach)
Tex Schramm (team executive)
Steve Sabol (co-founder of NFL Films)
Ed Sabol (co-founder of NFL Films)
Pete Rozelle (league commissioner)
Dan Rooney (team owner)
Art Rooney (founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers)
Hugh “Shorty” Ray (league commissioner)
Bill Polian (general manager)
Bill Parcells (coach)
Bill Nunn (sportswriter, scout)
“Greasy” Neale (coach)
Art McNally (referee)
George Preston Marshall (founded the franchise now known as the Washington Commanders)
Wellington Mara (team owner)
Tim Mara (founder of the New York Giants)
John Madden (coach and commentator)
Vince Lombardi (coach)
Marc Levy (coach and executive)
Jerry Jones (team owner)
Jimmy Johnson (coach)
Lamar Hunt (founder of the American Football League)
Paul Tagliabue (league commissioner)
Joe Gibbs (coach)
Weeb Ewbank (coach)
Edward DeBartolo Jr. (team owner)
Al Davis (team executive)
Joseph Carr (league president and executive)
Paul Brown (coach and co-founder of the Cleveland Browns)
Gil Brandt (scout)
Pat Bowlen (team owner)
Charles Bidwel (team owner)
“Bert” Bell (league commissioner)
Bobby Beathard (general manager)
George Allen (coach)
There are a number of other Hall of Famers – particularly in the early days of professional football – that wore a number of hats during their time with the league. These include legends such as Jim Thorpe, George Halas and Earl “Curly” Lambeau.
When is the 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame class announced?
Just last week, the NFL narrowed its list of finalists for the class of 2023 down from 28 to 15. The final round of inductees will be confirmed Feb. 9, right before the Super Bowl.
According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the anticipated induction date is Aug. 5, 2023.