ProFootball Hall of Fame Class of 2020: Duke Slater

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North / NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

Frederick Wayman “Duke” Slater (December 9, 1898 – August 14, 1966) was an American football player who will be enshrined posthumously as part of the 2020 Centennial Class in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

In high school in the early 1900’s, he had to choose between buying shoes or a helmet in order to play football. He chose shoes so he played every game of his career at Clinton High School without a helmet. He played the tackle and fullback positions.

In 1918, at the age of 20, he was allowed to enter the University of Iowa and play for four years despite his age due to rules being relaxed during World War I. He earned four letters along with All Big Ten and All-American honors.

He made history when he joined the NFL’s Rock Island Independents in 1922, becoming the first black lineman in NFL history. And that’s just the beginning of this story.

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ProFootball Hall of Fame Class of 2020: Bobby Dillon

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

One of the sad realities of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is that sometimes a man passes away before his enshrinement.

Green Bay Packer legend, safety Bobby Dillon passed away August 22, 2019, so he never got the “Call from the Hall.”

However, he has been included in the Class of 2020 – The Centennial Class. While the ceremonies will have to wait until next year due to Covid-19, his legacy will live on.

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ProFootball Hall of Fame Class of 2020: Ed Sprinkle

Wanda Wiedman,
NFL Reporter

By Wanda Wiedman // @Wandaw63

With the current NFL teams trying all sorts of schemes to gain an edge, we are seeing more and more versatile players on both sides of the ball. Throughout NFL history, players wore different hats.  The newest member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020, Ed Sprinkle is no stranger to playing different positions.

For 12 seasons Ed “The Meanest Man in Pro Football” Sprinkle played for the Chicago Bears, from 1944 to 1955, and was signed by Papa Bear George Halas himself. In the beginning of his career, Sprinkle played both defense and offense. As a tight end he caught 32 passes for 451 yards and seven touchdowns, while alternating as an offensive guard during the life of his career.

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ProFootball Hall of Fame Class of 2020: Donnie Shell

Dayna O’Gorman
Senior NFL Reporter
NFC West/AFC West

By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG

When we were dividing up the inductees of the ProFootball Hall of Fame Class of 2020 for our articles, I immediately asked for safety Donnie Shell.

A highly decorated member of the Pittsburg Steelers Steel Curtain defense, Shell was one of the most decorated players to ever play the game, and I am so thrilled he finally made it to Canton.

You guys know me. I LOVE defense. I love old school, knock ’em in the dirt defense. The Steelers Steel Curtain was the epitome of that type of football, and Shell was a big part of it.

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ProFootball Hall of Fame Class of 2020: Steve Atwater

Wanda Wiedman,
NFL Reporter

By Wanda Wiedman // @WandaW63

Year after year after year, former Denver Bronco safety Steve Atwater has been denied recognition in the ProFootball Hall of Fame. After waiting 16 years, Atwater will finally be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2020.

It’s hard to believe it took this long for Atwater to be recognized for the tremendous player that he was in the NFL. It’s even more surprising that a free safety with such power and impact on a Super Bowl caliber team was denied for so long.

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ProFootball Hall of Fame Class of 2020: Paul Tagliabue

Sonja Greenfield, Senior NFL Reporter NFC North, NFC East

By Sonja Greenfield // @Mom23RN

Commissioner Paul Tagliabue was the first commissioner that I remember. The name just stuck out to me.

After being a nominee for the Hall of Fame in multiple years, Commissioner Tagliabue was voted in as a contributor.

A former DC attorney, Tagliabue is the commissioner who took the NFL from being just another sports league to THE premiere sports league. Under his administration, the NFL signed the biggest television contract in history, expanded to 32 teams, adding the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers, and also introduced the NFL to Europe. The NFL started the World League of American Football which later became NFL Europe.

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ProFootball Hall of Fame Class of 2020: Bill Cowher

Sonja Greenfield, Senior NFL Reporter NFC North, NFC East

By Sonja Greenfield // @Mom23RN

I have the great honor of profiling former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher.

You know, to me, the Steelers have always been that overall very consistent team. Year in and year out, you can always expect them to be in the mix. They’ve had some drama over the years, but have always been able to weather the storm and right the ship.

A lot of that is due to the consistency they’ve had at the head coach position, which we all know. They’ve only had 3 head coaches since 1969.

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ProFootball Hall of Fame Class of 2020: Steve Sabol

Dayna O’Gorman
Senior NFL Reporter
NFC West/AFC West

By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG

If there was ever a person who was considered the historian of the NFL, it was Steve Sabol.

Along with his father Ed, Steve started what would become NFL Films back in 1962 when his father got the rights to the 1962 NFC Championship. From there, these men cataloged all the important and meaningful moments of the NFL, and we as fans could not be more grateful.

From NFL Football Follies (my personal favorite) to the Hard Knocks series, NFL Films has become one of the most popular components of the game. But its not just revered by fans. Sabol has been hailed as one of the most important television entrepreneurs of all time. He was honored in 2003 with the Lifetime Achievement Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for “revolutionizing the way America watches football and setting the standard in sports film making.”

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ProFootball Hall of Fame Class of 2020: Jimmy Johnson

Lisa Johnson
AFC South AFC East Reporter

By Lisa Johnson // @LJ1303

What more could one write that hasn’t already been written about Coach Jimmy Johnson?

Besides building arguably one of the greatest football teams in the history of the NFL, with the players like Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman and all-time NFL rushing leader Emmitt Smith, Coach Johnson led the Cowboys to two Super Bowls, winning back to back titles in 1992-1993.

Those that have known Coach Johnson personally will tell you straight away, that everything Jimmy Johnson does, he does 110%. Failure isn’t an option for this coach. This goes as far back as Johnson’s playing days at the University of Arkansas where he won a National Championship with the team in 1964.

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ProFootball Hall of Fame Class of 2020: Jim Covert

Wanda Wiedman,
NFL Reporter

By Wanda Wiedman // @WandaW63

James “Jimbo” Covert will finally be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, some 20 years after his first PFHF nomination in 1996. The former Pitt All-American left Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka with only one choice in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft. “Jimbo is the guy we wanted from day one, we put him at left tackle and moved on.”

Covert began his collegiate career as a defensive lineman in 1978. After a shoulder injury sidelined him and the additional recommendation of the offensive line coach, Covert switched to offensive tackle.

He had the job of protecting future Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino, who was quoted as saying, “There were games when my uniform never got dirty and games that I never hit the ground. That’s incredible.” In 2003, Covert was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

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