Following the 2021 NFL Hall of Fame Game, the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio. Who are the eight members of the 2021 class, and when is the ceremony taking place?
Who is being inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2021?
There are eight members in the 2021 Hall of Fame class. Who is each inductee, and what did they do in the NFL?
Peyton Manning, QB (1998-2015)
The embodiment of a first-ballot Hall of Famer, Peyton Manning retired as the NFL’s all-time career leader in passing yards (71,940) and touchdowns (539). His 55 passing touchdowns in 2013 still stand as the most ever in a single season.
Manning won an astonishing and league-leading five MVPs while playing on the Indianapolis Colts (1998-2010) and Denver Broncos (2012-2015). He was the first starting QB to win a championship with two different franchises. Moreover, Manning’s success on the Broncos came off a 2011 season in which he did not play. He underwent neck surgery due to a debilitating herniated disc.
Calvin Johnson, WR (2007-2015)
Nicknamed “Megatron” for his physically imposing play and figure, Calvin Johnson Jr. thrived on a Detroit Lions team that generated just two winning seasons in his career. Paired with Matthew Stafford beginning in 2009, Johnson was a three-time All-Pro, six-time Pro Bowler, and a representative of the NFL’s All-2000s roster.
The Lions wideout led the league in receiving twice. Johnson finished the 2012 season with 1,964 yards — the highest single-season total in NFL history.
Drew Pearson, WR (1973-1983)
Drew Pearson is the only member of the offense from the NFL’s All-1970s Team that is not yet inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He received three All-Pro mentions and is famously the recipient of the league’s first successful Hail Mary pass. Pearson aided the Dallas Cowboys in reaching three Super Bowls, seven NFC Championship Games, and a Super Bowl XII victory.
Alan Faneca, OL (1998-2007)
A Pittsburgh Steelers legend, Alan Faneca made nine Pro Bowls, earned six All-Pro selections, and was named to the 2000s All-Decade Team in his 13-year career. He played an integral part on the Steelers’ 2005 Super Bowl-winning roster and the New York Jets’ 2009 AFC Championship attempt.
Further adding to Faneca’s lore is missing just two games throughout his career — one due to injury, and the other when Bill Cowher sat his starters late in the 2005 season as Pittsburgh clinched a playoff spot.
Charles Woodson, DB (1998-2015)
Following a collegiate career in which he became the first and only defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy, Charles Woodson terrorized opposing offenses in the NFL. Throughout his career, Woodson earned Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, four All-Pro selections, nine Pro Bowls, and headlined the NFL’s All-2000s Team.
Not only did he receive individual accolades, but Woodson contributed on two Super Bowl rosters. His first appearance came on an Oakland Raiders team that fell to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII. In a losing effort, he snatched an interception and recorded 8 total tackles. Woodson’s second Super Bowl appearance concluded on a happier note, as the Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010.
John Lynch, DB (1993-2007)
Before becoming the current general manager of the San Francisco 49ers, John Lynch tore it up on the field. On the opposite end of Woodson’s sorrows, Lynch was pivotal to a Buccaneers defense that defeated the Raiders in the 2002 Super Bowl. He earned nine Pro Bowls in his 14-year career as a safety. After retiring in 2008, Lynch began a career as a commentator for FOX Sports until the 49ers hired him as GM in 2017.
Tom Flores, Coach
Tom Flores was not only the first Latino quarterback in the NFL, but he was the first Latino head coach to win a Super Bowl. He took over as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 1978 after John Madden’s retirement. He spent the previous seasons as an assistant, aiding the franchise to its first Super Bowl victory over the Minnesota Vikings 32-14 in 1977.
Flores led the Raiders to another Super Bowl win in 1980. That year, they became the first Wild Card team to win the big game in the sport’s history. Oakland and Flores secured one more Super Bowl win in 1984. They knocked off the heavily favored and defending champion Washington squad 38-9.
Bill Nunn, Contributor
The last 2021 NFL Hall of Fame inductee, Bill Nunn broke out into the football industry as a sportswriter and editor at The Pittsburgh Courier. Many viewed the publication as one of the most influential in the country. He created a yearly “Black College All-America Team” to bring light to players around the nation. Nunn joined the Steelers as an assistant personnel director in 1968.
Analysts and fans credit him with piecing together the team that enjoyed a dynasty in the 1970s. He brought it players such as Joe Greene, Mel Blount, L.C. Greenwood, Dwight White, Ernie Holmes, Frank Lewis, John Stallworth, Donnie Shell, and Joe Gilliam, among many more. Thanks to his impressive talent evaluation skills, Nunn became known as the Steelers’ “Super Scout.”
When is the 2021 Hall of Fame ceremony?
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the 2020 Hall of Fame class did not receive a ceremony last season. Thus, they will join the 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame class and be enshrined this year. 2020’s 20-member cohort will be honored from August 5-8 and the 2021 inductees August 6-9. The official enshrinement ceremony for the class of 2021 will be on Sunday, August 8, at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.
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