The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the remaining inductees for its Centennial Class of 2020 on Wednesday, and among the final 13 names revealed was former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who helped expand and elevate the league during his 17-year tenure.
Over the weekend, two coaches -- former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach and current CBS analyst Bill Cowher and former Dallas Cowboys head coach and current FOX analyst Jimmy Johnson -- were surprised with the news during live playoff broadcasts.
The remaining members -- 10 seniors and three contributors chosen by a special "Blue-Ribbon Panel" last Wednesday -- were announced live during "Good Morning Football" on NFL Network.
During Tagliabue's tenure from 1989-2006, the NFL expanded to 32 teams, 20 new stadiums broke ground and the commissioner helped secure the largest television contracts in entertainment history, totaling $25 billion, and establish the NFL as a global brand.
The Senior candidates selected include former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Harold Carmichael, former Chicago Bears tackle Jim Covert, former Green Bay Packers safety Bobby Dillon, former Cowboys safety Cliff Harris, former New York Jets tackle Winston Hill, former Detroit Lions defensive tackle Alex Karras, former Steelers safety Donnie Shell, former Cleveland Browns receiver Mac Speedie, former Bears defensive end Ed Sprinkle, and two-way lineman Duke Slater, an African-American pioneer in the early years of the NFL.
Also in the contributor category are former New York Giants general manager George Young and NFL Films executive Steve Sabol. Young worked under Tagliabue in the league office and also was a front-office executive for the Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins before taking the helm for New York, which won two Super Bowls under his guidance. Sabol, part of NFL Films from 1964-2012, won more than 40 Emmy Awards and oversaw 107 Emmy wins for NFL Films.
"Our charge was to scour 100 years of professional football and find the most deserving candidates who have slipped through the cracks," said veteran Hall of Fame selector Rick Gosselin in a news release.
"All 38 finalists for the Centennial Slate were Hall of Fame worthy but we could only choose 15. I am proud to be a part of this process that honors these men who shaped the NFL in its first century."
The 38 finalists included eight coaches, 10 contributors and 20 senior players.
The 2020 Hall of Fame class will also include the traditional group of five modern-era players, who will be selected from 15 finalists on Feb. 1, the day before the Super Bowl. The 15 finalists, announced earlier this month, include longtime Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, who is in his first year of eligibility.
--Field Level Media