CANTON, OHIO – Wide receiver Bob Hayes, guard Randall McDaniel, defensive end Bruce Smith, linebacker Derrick Thomas, owner Ralph Wilson, and defensive back Rod Woodson make up the Class of 2009 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinees.
The six-man class was elected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee who met today in Tampa, Florida. The newest members of the Hall were selected from a list of 17 finalists that had been determined earlier by the committee.
Hayes, a gold medalist track star in the 1964 Summer Olympics, combined his world class speed with great hands. “Bullet Bob,” a three-time All-Pro pick, caught 371 career passes for 7,414 yards and 71 touchdowns.
McDaniel was named All-Pro nine straight seasons and voted to a record 12 consecutive AFC-NFC Pro Bowls during his 14-season career with the Minnesota Vikings (1988-1999) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2000-01).
Smith, the first overall pick in the 1985 draft by the Buffalo Bills, is the NFL’s all-time sack leader with 200 career sacks. A member of both the NFL’s All-Decade Teams of the 1980s and 1990s, Smith was named first-team All-Pro nine times and voted to 11 Pro Bowls.
Thomas amassed more sacks during the 1990s than any other player. He was selected to nine Pro Bowls, named All-NFL three times, and was All-AFC seven times in an eight-year stretch.
Wilson founded the Buffalo Bills in 1959 and has watched his team win back-to-back AFL titles in the mid-1960s and become the only team ever to advance to four consecutive Super Bowls. He was an integral part of the AFL’s success and has also served on a number of important NFL committees over the years.
Woodson, a member of the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team in 1994 and selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s, intercepted 71 passes which he returned for an NFL record 1,483 yards and a record 12 touchdowns. He was named All-Pro six times and voted to 11 Pro Bowls.
The 2009 class will increase to 253 the number of all-time greats permanently honored in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Enshrinement of the Class of 2009 will take place at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, on Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. ET. The Enshrinement Ceremony will be televised live by both ESPN and the NFL Network.
The annual NFL Hall of Fame Game will be played on Sunday, August 9, 2008 at 8:00 p.m. and broadcast live by NBC. The Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills will face off.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival is a multi-day celebration of the enshrinement of the newest Hall of Fame Class. Held in Canton each year, the festival includes 15 special public events and culminates with the Enshrinement Ceremony and NFL Hall of Fame Game. Two other major events are the Enshrinees Dinner (Friday, August 7), and the Enshrinees GameDay Roundtable (Sunday, August 9). It is at the Enshrinees Dinner where each member of the Class of 2009 will be presented his gold Pro Football Hall of Fame Jacket. At the GameDay Roundtable, the members of the Class of 2009 will be featured center stage to share memories of the game and their personal feelings about being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Individual enshrinement tickets and Festival Fan Packages are on sale now. Ticket information can be found on the Hall of Fame’s website at Profootballhof.com.
(Courtesy of the NFL/PFHOF)