The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced their 2014 finalists on Thursday evening, and the San Francisco 49ers have three individuals with ties to the organization. Eddie DeBartolo, Jr., Charles Haley, and Kevin Greene have all advanced to the finalist stage. There are 15 total finalists, and that group will be cut down to the Class of 2014 on Saturday, February 1.
Unfortunately, Roger Craig did not make it through to the finalists stage. It's looking more and more unlikely as the years pass. It's disappointing in my mind because he was such a dual threat as a runner and passer. He was a back in the form of Marshall Faulk and Ladanian Tomlinson before they came along. He really was the perfect running back for the west coast offense.
Mr. DeBartolo is a finalist once again, and hopefully we are reaching the tipping point for his entry into the Hall. The issue for him in part is the idea that owners gaining entry to date have been the older class of owners that were around for the formation of the league. Mr. D was part of the new class that came along after the NFL was in full swing. He was one of the first owners to really run a completely first class operation. He spared no expense for his players, but he also spared no expense for team employees. He was a model for a lot of sports owners today, even beyond football.
Charles Haley split his time between the 49ers and Cowboys, and is the only NFL player on the planet with five Super Bowl rings. He burned bridges with his behavior at times, but there were few pass rush threats in NFL history that brought the heat like Charles Haley.
Kevin Greene only spent one season with the 49ers. The only highlight I remember is when he head-butted Jim Druckenmiller after the 49ers QB had scored a touchdown. It was memorable because Druckenmiller had his helmet on, and Greene was without a helmet, and in fact, I believe was inactive that game. He too was a great pass rusher.
Here is your complete list of finalists for the Class of 2014:
Owner Eddie DeBartolo
DE/LB Charles Haley
DE/LB Kevin Greene
K Morten Andersen
RB Jerome Bettis
LB Derrick Brooks
WR Tim Brown
HC Tony Dungy
WR Marvin Harrison
OT Walter Jones
S John Lynch
WR Andre Reed
G Will Shields
DE Michael Strahan
DB Aeneas Williams
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