How many NFL Hall of Famers have played or coached in the Hall of Fame game?

Super Bowl XLIV
Super Bowl XLIV
Ian Van Roy

During FOX's NFL Hall of Fame broadcast, Mike Tomlin was described as one likely to be a future Hall of Famer.

After watching the first NFL game of the season and seeing Mike Tomlin coaching the game, fans may be wondering which Hall of Famers have participated in the Hall of Fame game over the years.

Here's a look at each of the 14 NFL players and coaches of the 2020 and 2021 classes to have done so.

#1 Steve Atwater, S

If you watched the Broncos during their final runs with John Elway, you might remember Steve Atwater, a dominant safety. He played for Denver from 1989-1999, helping them to two Super Bowl victories.

#2 Isaac Bruce, WR

Isaac Bruce is remembered as one of the top players in Los Angeles Rams' history. He played in the NFL from 1994-2009. When he started his career, personal computers were a rarity. At the end of his career, in 2009, just about everyone had some type of computer. Bruce helped the Rams to a Super Bowl win in 1999.

#3 Harold Carmichael, WR

From 1974 to 1984, Harold Carmichael was one of the most destructive receivers in the NFL. With the exception of a final year with the Dallas Cowboys, Carmichael spent his entire career as a player of the Philadelphia Eagles. While today's top NFL receivers earn over 1000 yards most seasons, Carmichael's three seasons of more than 1000 yards were impressive in an era of run-heavy offenses.

#4 Jimbo Covert, LT

Jimbo Covert was a left tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles. From 1983 through the 1990 season, no one put pressure on Jim McMahon's left side. Covert was instrumental in helping the famous '85 Bears to a Super Bowl title. It remains their last Super Bowl victory, though.

#5 Bill Cowher, Coach

If you watched football back in the mid-2000s, you'd have seen Bill Cowher at work. During the NFL Hall of Fame game, he was seen standing next to Mike Tomlin and setting off goosebumps for long-time Steelers fans. Bill Cowher was 149-90-1, winning a Super Bowl early in Ben Roethlisberger's career.

#6 Cliff Harris, S

Cliff Harris was a free safety for the Dallas Cowboys. From 1970 to 1979, it was a tall order to get any deep shots past him. In his career, he played 141 NFL games and had 29 interceptions.

#7 Alex Karras, DT

Alex Karras was a defensive tackle who played from 1958 to 1970 for the Detroit Lions. He predates the current multi-decade playoff drought the Lions are experiencing today. Karras played in 161 games, where he had four interceptions. As a defensive lineman, interceptions are not an expectation, but Karras got four of them.

#8 Troy Polamalu, CB

Wild Card Playoffs - Baltimore Ravens vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Wild Card Playoffs - Baltimore Ravens vs Pittsburgh Steelers

One of the most famous Steelers of the 21st century, Troy Polamalu was a lockdown cornerback in the NFL. Even today, Polamalu is still landing advertising deals and appearing in commercials. He played in 158 games and had 32 interceptions.

#9 Donnie Shell, S

If it seems there are a lot of Pittsburgh Steelers on the list, it is because there are. Donnie Shell played 14 seasons for the Steelers as a safety. In that period, he played more than 200 games and recorded 51 interceptions. From 1974 to 1987, throwing at Shell was like putting a stack of cash on red.

#10 Alan Faneca, LG

Perhaps the Steelers are simply big fans of trotting out future Hall of Famers in pre-season NFL games. Alex Faneca played ten seasons for the Steelers before playing two with the New York Jets and one final season with the Arizona Cardinals. In total, he played 206 games in his NFL career.


#11 Tom Flores, Coach

While he wasn't the most dominant player in the NFL, Tom Flores was a great coach for the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders, winning two Super Bowls. In total, Flores coached 184 games, ending his career with a 97-87 record.

#12 John Lynch, S

John Lynch is still a very active figure in the NFL, working as the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers. He played with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1993-2003. He spent his twilight years with Denver before retiring after the 2007 season.

#13 Peyton Manning, QB

Super Bowl 50 - Carolina Panthers vs Denver Broncos
Super Bowl 50 - Carolina Panthers vs Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning was one of the defining quarterbacks of the first 15 years of the 2000s. In his career, Manning set the record for touchdowns thrown in a season, won two Super Bowls and played in two more. He was 186-79 in his career, throwing for 539 touchdowns and 251 interceptions. He was the first player to switch teams and win a Super Bowl.

#14 Drew Pearson, WR

Drew Pearson was a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys. From 1973 through 1983, the road to touchdowns was through Pearson. He played in 156 games and had 48 touchdowns in his career. Of course, players today can earn 48 touchdowns in three seasons. However, back then, 48 touchdowns in the NFL was considered a pretty impressive tally.

Edited by Bhargav


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