On Thursday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Blue Ribbon panel announced their finalists for the 15 special Centennial Class spots next year. The Detroit media quickly identified three out of the 38 names who had ties to the city’s long time franchise. We’ve talked about Alex Karras before, and this time Mongo may finally get the recognition he deserves:
Encouraged three former Lions are candidates on expanded list for Pro FB Hall of Fame: Alex Karras, Buddy Parker, Ox Emerson (Portsmouth Spartans, then Lions).— Mike O'Hara (@MikeOHaraNFL) December 19, 2019
But missing, in my opinion, is Billy Sims. Long, long overdue for serious consideration. Match stats with Gale Sayers.
Although not among the 38 Centennial Slate finalists, Nolan Bianchi at the Detroit News wrote up a great piece on former Lions player Don Doll who had a short but incredible career (four Pro Bowls in six seasons). How incredible were those few years? In his first professional season in 1949, which was not one of the Pro Bowl years, Doll gained 301 yards off interception returns (on eleven picks), which is still the single-season INT yardage record for rookies. The defensive back was a part of Buddy Parker’s 1952 championship team in Detroit and went on to coach at the college and pro ranks for more than three decades.
An interesting note on the Centennial Class selection process was included in the Detroit Free Press’ story by Dave Birkett, who is a Pro Football Hall of Fame voter:
Initially, the Hall of Fame tasked its regular selection committee with voting yay or nay on the entire 15-person class. Faced with the risk of having the entire class voted down, the Hall changed course earlier this year and empowered a panel of selectors to pick 15 enshrinees.
Among the controversial candidates in the contributors category are former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who’s been voted down four times for induction already, and former Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell, who moved the Browns out of Cleveland.
Birkett added a little more context to this on Twitter:
Now, the panel is simply picking the class from the finalists. What many worried about was Tagliabue getting in this way, without an actual vote. We’ll see if he makes the cut— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) December 19, 2019
Per Justin Rogers at the Detroit News, “the list of 38 will be trimmed to 15 for enshrinement on Jan. 8. The final selections will include 10 players, two coaches and three contributors.” These 15 Centennial Slate selections will join five Modern-Era players chosen from a separate list of 15 Modern-Era finalists for an incoming class of 20 inductees in 2020.
And now, on to the rest of today’s Notes:
- Lauren Williams at mlive.com has a heartwarming story about defensive end Trey Flowers delivering gifts to kids at Methodist Children’s Home Society this past Tuesday.
We had a blast spending the evening with Trey and his team! THANK YOU to Trey Flowers, his amazing team and the Flowers of the Future Foundation, Inc. for this exciting Christmas gift to our kiddos!! #fostercare #adoption #foster #adopt #wellness #holiday #christmas #gift pic.twitter.com/kJNJcLrK3P— MCHS (@MCHSchildren) December 18, 2019
- Six Lions players shared holiday memories with Dave Birkett from the Detroit Free Press. Lots of shout-outs to grandparents here, a fleet of bikes, and a big box of candy.
- Last night Fox 2 aired a Dan Miller interview with Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee Devon Kennard. You can watch the video on Fox 2’s site, and remember you can vote for Kennard in the WPMOY Charity Challenge through January 12:
- One draft possibility for the Lions is DT Derrick Brown. Kerryon Johnson told some amusing stories to the media about his experience at Auburn with Brown. Several writers including Justin Rogers at the Detroit News, Dave Birkett at the Detroit Free Press, and Kyle Meinke from mlive.com, reported Johnson said he would be all for the Lions drafting Brownie:
Kerryon Johnson on former teammate Derrick Brown: I used to call him Brownie because he was soft as shit.— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) December 19, 2019
Johnson said he then realized Brown was strong and was worried he would eventually beat him up.
- Rogers looked a little deeper at the list of players the Lions may consider selecting in the first round. In addition to Derrick Brown, he listed nine more for a “tantalizing” menu of options.
- If you thought we were going a regular season week without me posting Xs and Os with Dan Orlovsky on the Friday Notes, you would be wrong: