(Image credit Scott Rovak / USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick
I know it is a week late but during the NFL Honors, the 2022 NFL Hall of Fame Class was officially revealed. There are a total of 8 new inductees in this class who will be entering the Hall of Fame. So I thought why not take a look at who is entering the Hall of Fame and give a retrospective on their careers.
It wasn’t a matter of time before Richard Seymour got into the NFL Hall of Fame. Seymour spent a total of 12 seasons in the NFL. 8 seasons with the New England Patriots (2001-2008) and 4 seasons with the Oakland Raiders (2009-2012). Seymour was a part of the New England Patriots Dynasty during his time with the team and won three Super Bowls with the Patriots. He was a part of Super Bowl XXXVI, XXXVIII, and XXXIX. Seymour went to 7 Pro Bowls, was a 3-time first-team All-Pro, and a 2-time Second-Team All-Pro. Seymour was also a part of the NFL 2000’s All-Decade Team. In his career had a total of 57.5 sacks, 496 total tackles, and recovered 8 fumbles. While he was not the best in Oakland he still was a solid contributor to their defense. Fun Fact: Did you know Richard Seymour before he retired from the NFL almost signed with the Atlanta Falcons. It would have been weird to see him as an Atlanta Falcon but Seymour definitely has the resume of a Hall of Famer.
As a fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars, all I have to say is finally. Tony Boselli after all this time got into the NFL Hall of Fame. He spent seven seasons in the NFL six seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars (1995-2000) and one season with the Houston Texans (2001) During his career, he went to five Pro Bowls and was an All-Pro three times. Tony Boselli was the first-ever NFL Draft pick in Jacksonville Jaguars history. I say the pick paid off as he was one of the best offensive tackles during his time. He was the blindside protector for Mark Brunell and helped give him time to make the Jaguars successful for many years due to his excellent play to open opportunities for the running back and Mark Brunell to make a play. Unfortunately, injuries occurred with him for many years which absolutely shortened his career. Boselli would later be taken by the Houston Texans in their expansion draft but would only last the season retiring due to injuries. But you can’t deny the impact Boselli had on the Jacksonville Jaguars and absolutely deserved to go into the hall of fame.
There were many years I thought Bryant Young was going to enter the hall of fame but unfortunately he didn’t. Well, the wait is over as Bryant Young will be entering the 2022 Hall of fame. Bryant Young spent 14 seasons in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers. He was a First-Team All-Pro, 3 time Second-Team All-Pro, went to the Pro Bowl 4 times, and is a part of the NFL 1990’s All-Decade Team. Bryant Young was a part of the 49ers Super Bowl XXIX win against the San Diego Chargers. This was not mentioned but did you know that Bryant Young was a coach in the NFL. Yes, he was with the Atlanta Falcons as a defensive line coach from 2017 to 2019. But Bryant Young absolutely deserves to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.
I am not a Saints or Panthers fan but I am glad that the NFL put Mills into the Hall of Fame. Sam Mills spent 12 seasons in the NFL 9 with the New Orlean Saints and 3 with the Carolina Panthers. Mills also was a part of the USFL’s Baltimore/Philadelphia Stars and CFL’s Toronto Argonauts. He was a first-team All-Pro, a 2-time Second-team All-Pro, and a 5 time Pro Bowler. Sam Mills statistically had 1,319 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 11 interceptions.
It's not only Sam Mills playing career that was great but his coaching career. He was the linebacker’s coach for the Carolina Panthers in 1998-2004. I remembered in their Super Bowl XXVIII run he was an inspirational force for the team. In August of 2003, he was diagnosed with cancer but decided to keep coaching the Carolina Panthers. What happened during the 2003 season well he helped coach the Panthers into that Super Bowl. He was the main reason why the phrase “Keep Pounding’’ is such a part of the Panthers organization. He created the motto that is still being used today. Sam Mills even won the George Halas Courage Award, Unfortunately Sam Mills lost his fight with cancer and passed away on April 18th, 2005 because I would have loved to see Sam Mills on the stage giving his hall of fame speech. Sam Mills deserves this hall of fame nod.
I am shocked that it took this long for the NFL to induct LeRoy Butler to the Hall of Fame as he was a big part of the Packers defense in the ’90s. LeRoy Butler spent 12 years in the NFL all with the Green Bay Packers. LeRoy Butler was a part of the Green Bay Packers Superbowl XXXI victory against the New England Patriots. He was a 4-time First-Team All-Pro and went to 4 Pro Bowls. Butler is also a part of the NFL 1990’s All-Decade Team. He statistically had 726 total tackles, 20.5 Sacks, 28 interceptions, and 8 fumble recoveries.
Dick Vermeil (Coaching Inductee)
Dick Vermeil was a good coach in the NFL. He made his mark in 1969 as the special teams coach for the Los Angeles Rams. Then returned in 1971 after a quick stint in UCLA he became the QB coach for the Rams and in 1973 got promoted being the Special Teams coach as well. He became the head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles (1976-1982), St. Louis Rams (1997-1999), and Kansas City Chiefs (2001-2005) While Dick Vermeil coached 15 years in the NFL he actually coached 29 years in the sport of Football. He coached three seasons of high school football and 12 years of college football as well. Vermeil helped all teams turn around and get them to the postseason. His most memorable tenure was coaching the St.Louis Rams and winning Superbowl XXXIV. It was the first Super Bowl in franchise history for the Rams and they did it with the greatest show on turf. Vermeil absolutely deserves to go into the hall of fame.
Cliff Branch (Senior Inductee)
It's about time Cliff Branch got into the Hall of Fame. Especially as Cliff Branch was one of the main contributors to the Raiders dynasty where Tom Flores was the Head Coach and Jim Plunkett was the quarterback. Cliff Branch spent a total of 14 seasons in the NFL all with the Los Angeles Raiders/Oakland Raiders from 1972-1985. At the time he set records in 1974 leading the NFL with 1,092 yards and 14 TDs. In all of the 22 playoff games Cliff bench played in, he caught 73 passes for 1,289 yards. Cliff Branch was also a three-time All-Pro and went to the Pro Bowl 4 times. I also want to add that Branch also played with the Arena Football League team called the Los Angeles Cobras. Unfortunately, Cliff Branch passed away on August 3rd, 2019 which is a shame because I would have loved to see Cliff Branch on the stage giving his hall of fame speech. But Branch absolutely deserves a hall of fame nod and should have gotten in many years ago.
Art McNally (NFL Contributor/Referee)
Even though the Refs in current days have had their reputation take a hit there is no denying how big of an impact that they have had in the game of football. They have helped change and restructure the game to help improve the game and players on the field. One ref that had a tremendous impact is Art McNally. Especially as McNally has had 56 years of experience working with the NFL. He was an NFL Official for 9 years but then got promoted to being the Supervisor of NFL officials in 1968. Something interesting about McNally is that he actually created and put in a formal film study program for training and evaluation of football officials. It was the first system ever used which is really cool and his nickname was the “Father of Instant Replay’’ I got to admit it is a nickname well deserved as he was one of the contributors that made instant replay what it is today He absolutely deserves a nod for the hall of fame due to his contributions to the game.
As always I want to congratulate each and every person entering the Hall of Fame. I am always happy to see anyone get in and will be excited to see their speech in Canton, Ohio.