After he was turned away four times in the standard Hall of Fame voting process, Paul Tagliabue finally found his way to Canton.
Tagliabue was among the 13 new Hall of Famers announced Wednesday, along with two other contributor candidates — former NFL Films president Steve Sabol and former Giants General Manager George Young.
Commissioner from 1989 to 2006, Tagliabue presided over a period of continued growth for the league, following the Pete Rozelle era.
But he was also dogged by criticisms of his role in the way the league addressed the concussion issue, and that was a major issue in the four times he was rejected by the regular process.
The Centennial Class was chosen by a special Blue Ribbon Panel put together by the Hall, and it was not subject to review by the usual committee of selectors. Initially, the Centennial Class was supposed to be subject to an up-down vote by the regular committee, but the Hall changed the voting process in mid-stream and made the Blue Ribbon Panel’s decision final.
Sabol joins his father Ed in the Hall, for their groundbreaking work in presenting the game visually, bringing a cinematic flair to the game that contributed to its popularity.
Young joined the Giants in 1979, and hired a coach named Bill Parcells and drafted Lawrence Taylor and Phil Simms, bringing stability to a Giants franchise which hadn’t made the playoffs since 1963. He was a five-time NFL executive of the year, who also worked for the Colts and Dolphins before finishing his career working for the league.