SAN FRANCISCO – Brett Favre and the late Ken Stabler, a pair of kindred-spirit QBs who each won a Super Bowl, were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Also voted in for the class of 2016 a day before the Super Bowl were modern-day players Kevin Greene, Marvin Harrison and Orlando Pace, coach Tony Dungy, contributor Ed DeBartolo Jr., and senior selection Dick Stanfel.
The freewheeling Favre, as expected, was a first-ballot entry, a reward for a long and distinguished career, mostly with the Green Bay Packers, that included three consecutive NFL MVP awards from 1995-97 and a championship in the 1997 Super Bowl.
Stabler, a left-hander nicknamed “Snake” for his ability to slither past defenders, goes into the Hall as a senior selection about six months after dying of colon cancer at age 69 – and just days after researchers said his brain showed widespread signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
CTE is a disease linked to repeated brain trauma and associated with symptoms such as memory loss, depression and progressive dementia. It has been found in the brains of dozens of former football players, including one of last year’s Hall inductees, Junior Seau, who committed suicide in 2012 at 43.
Stabler was the 1974 league MVP and helped the Oakland Raiders win the 1977 Super Bowl. He was represented at Saturday’s announcement by two of his grandsons.
Favre played for 20 seasons, eventually retiring – after famously vacillating about whether to walk away from the game – as the NFL’s career leader with 6,300 completions, 10,169 attempts, 71,838 yards and 508 TDs. He never met a pass he was afraid to throw, no matter how ill-advised it might have seemed, and wound up with a record 336 interceptions, the trade-off for his high-risk, high-reward, entertaining style.
Before Green Bay, he briefly was a member of the Atlanta Falcons. Afterward, he had short stints with the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings.
Five nominees were eliminated in the final vote: coach Don Coryell, running back Terrell Davis, offensive lineman Joe Jacoby, safety John Lynch, and quarterback Kurt Warner.
Earlier Saturday, the selection committee reduced the list of 15 modern-day finalists by cutting wide receiver Terrell Owens, running back Edgerrin James, safety Steve Atwater, guard Alan Faneca and kicker Morten Anderson.
A candidate needs 80 percent of the vote to get in.
The induction ceremony is in August in Canton, Ohio.
Greene was a linebacker and defensive end who accumulated 160 sacks while harassing quarterbacks for four teams across 15 seasons. A three-time All-Pro selection, he broke in with the Rams in 1985 and closed his career with the Panthers in 1999.
Harrison, Peyton Manning’s top receiver while with the Indianapolis Colts from 1996-08, holds the record for most catches in a season: a hard-to-fathom 143 in 2002. At the time of his retirement, Harrison ranked second only to Hall of Famer Jerry Rice in NFL history with 1,102 catches and most consecutive games with a catch (190).
Harrison was a six-time All-Pro pick, combining with Manning on 953 completions for 12,766 yards and 112 TDs, all league records for a quarterback-receiver duo.
Pace, like Favre in his first year of Hall eligibility, was an imposing left tackle who blocked for the winners of three consecutive NFL MVP awards during his 13-year career, the first dozen with the Rams. He started all 16 games in seven seasons and was an All-Pro five times.
Dungy coached Manning, Harrison and the rest of the Colts to victory in the 2006 Super Bowl, becoming the first black head coach to win the championship. Indianapolis reached the playoffs during every season he was its coach, from 2002-08. In his previous job, he turned around a woebegone Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise, taking it to four postseason trips in six years.
DeBartolo was elected, fittingly, in the city where he owned the 49ers for nearly a quarter-century. In 1979, two years after buying the team, DeBartolo hired Bill Walsh as coach and drafted quarterback Joe Montana, leading to an unprecedented run of success that included five Super Bowl titles.
DeBartolo became embroiled in the corruption case against former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards and was suspended for the 1999 season by the NFL after being found guilty of failing to report a bribe. After the suspension, DeBartolo gave control of the team to his sister.
Stanfel, who died last year, was a guard for the Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins for a total of seven seasons, earning first-team All-Pro honors five times. While still at top of his game, he retired at age 31 to pursue a coaching career.
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