Parcells and DeBartolo Among Top Hall of Fame Finalists in 2012

By Chris Malumphy

The pool of 2012 potential Hall of Fame candidates is unlikely to generate much interest among casual or newer NFL fans. While each of the nominees is worthy of both consideration and selection, there are no marquee names to generate excitement although each nominee is recognizable and stands on his own merits. Ironically, perhaps the two biggest names, and perhaps the top two choices, are non-players: Coach Bill Parcells and Owner Edward DeBartolo, Jr.

Parcells won two Super Bowls with the Giants and got into another with the Patriots, but couldn't find the same magic leading the Jets, Cowboys or Dolphins although he took steps that improved each of those franchises. His teams went 172-130-1 (.570). Unless voters take fault with his penchant for moving on to greener pastures, the selection of Parcells should be a no-brainer.

Edward DeBartolo, Jr. may be the most worthy of all and he never set foot on the field during game time. DeBartolo resurrected what had been a flailing franchise and turned it into a dynasty with five Super Bowls under Bill Walsh and George Seifert. Unfortunately, outside activities sullied his reputation and caused him to lose control of the team.

Running backs Jerome Bettis and Curtis Martin were solid players, but neither were ever really considered the best at their position. Bettis finished with 13,662 yards rushing with a 3.9 yard average, topping 1,000 yards eight times. He was selected to 6 pro bowls and two all pro teams and played on a Super Bowl team. Martin was selected to 5 pro bowls, was all pro once, topped 1,000 yards each of his first 10 seasons, finishing with 14,101 yards and a 4.0 average. Martin led the league in rushing during his tenth and penultimate season and played in one Super Bowl.

Wide receivers Cris Carter, Tim Brown and Andre Reed also had their stellar moments but were never really the top dogs either, standing in the shadow of Jerry Rice. Brown went to nine pro bowls, had 1,094 career receptions, led the league in kickoff returns his rookie year and was an excellent punter returner throughout his career. Reed caught 951 passes, went to seven pro bowls and to four consecutive Super Bowls but never brought home the trophy. Carter had 1,101 receptions went to eight pro bowls and was first-team all pro twice.

Tackle Willie Roaf was an 11 time pro bowler and was first team all pro on three occasions. Unfortunately for Roaf, his first nine seasons were spent with the New Orleans Saints who were 57-87 (.396) and had a winning record only once during his tenure. Roaf appeared on the winning side more frequently after joining the Kansas City Chiefs, coached by Dick Vermiel with Trent Green, Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson in their prime. The Chiefs went 38-26 (.594) during his four-year stay.

Will Shields played guard for the Kansas City Chiefs for 14 seasons, playing in every game and starting in all but one his rookie season. He was selected for the pro bowl each of his last twelve years and was first-team all pro twice.

Dick Stanfel played guard for the Lions and Redskins from 1952-1958 and was selected for the pro bowl and first-team all pro five times each. He played in the NFL championship game each of his first three seasons as a pro with the Lions against the Browns, winning the first two.

Center Dermontti Dawson was a 7-time pro bowler who was first-team all pro six times. played for a string of solid but not great Steeler's teams that went to one Super Bowl.

Chris Doleman, Charles Haley and Kevin Greene were deluxe pass rushers. Greene was selected to five pro bowl and two all-pro teams, lead the leagues in sacks twice and finished with 160 during his career. He had double-digit sacks ten seasons. Doleman finished with 150.5 sacks, reached double digits eight times, was selected to the pro bowl eight times and all-pro two times. Haley had 100.5 career sacks, reach double digits six seasons, was selected to five pro bowls and two all-pro teams.

Defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy was first-team all pro three times and was a pro bowl selection eight times during an 11 year career with the Seattle Seahawks.

Defensive back Aneas Williams played 14 seasons for the Cardinals and the Rams and intercepted 55 passes. He was selected to eight pro bowls and three all pro teams.

Jack Butler played defensive back for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1951-1959 and intercepted 52 passes while going to four pro bowls and being selected to three all-pro teams.

Many of the statistics reported above were taken from Pro-Football-Reference.com which is an excellent source.

2012 Hall of Fame Nominee Finalists
Name Drafted Round Pick Player Team Position College Contribution
Cortez Kennedy1990133SeahawksDTMiami (FL)Seahawks 1990-2000
Chris Doleman1985144VikingsDEPittsburghVikings 1985-1993, 1999;
Falcons 1994-1995;
49ers 1996-1998
Tim Brown1988166RaidersWRNotre DameRaiders 1998-2003;
Buccaneers 2004
Willie Roaf1993188Saints TLouisiana TechSaints 1993-2001;
Chiefs 2002-2005
Jerome Bettis199311010RamsRBNotre DameRams 1993-1995;
Steelers 1996-2005
Dick Stanfel19512519Lions GSan FranciscoLions 1952-1955;
Redskins 1956-1958
Dermontti Dawson198821744Steelers CKentuckySteelers 1988-2000
Aeneas Williams19913459CardinalsDBSouthernCardinals 1991-2000;
Rams 2001-2004
Curtis Martin199531074PatriotsRBPittsburghPatriots 1995-1997;
Jets 1998-2005
Will Shields199331874Chiefs GNebraskaChiefs 1993-2006
Andre Reed19854286BillsWRKutztown (PA)Bills 1985-1999;
Redskins 2000
Cris Carter1987s4 
EaglesWROhio StateEagles 1987-1989;
Vikings 1990-2001;
Dolphins 2002
Bill Parcells19647589Lions TWichita StateCoach Giants 1983-1990;
Patriots 1993-1996;
Jets 1997-1999;
Cowboys 2003-2006
Charles Haley19864149649ersDEJames Madison49ers 1986-1991, 1999;
Cowboys 1992-1996
Kevin Greene198551113RamsLBAuburnRams 1985-1992;
Steelers 1993-1995;
Panthers 1996, 1998-1999;
49ers 1997
Jack Butler19561711204Rams TKentuckySteelers 1951-1959
Edward DeBartolo, Jr. 
Owner 49ers 1977-1999