There was a heavy Green Bay Packers feel to the list of seniors, coaches and contributors named semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2023, which was announced Thursday.
The most familiar names are former coach Mike Holmgren and wide receiver Sterling Sharpe. Holmgren, along with former GM Ron Wolf, quarterback Brett Favre and defensive end Reggie White, led the turnaround of the franchise in the early 1990s that culminated with a win in Super Bowl XXXI. Holmgren would later go on to coach the Seattle Seahawks to another Super Bowl appearance.
Sharpe was among the best receivers of his era before a neck injury ended his career following the 1994 season. Despite playing just seven years with the team, he currently ranks third in career receptions (595) and yards (8,134), while sitting in fourth in terms of touchdowns (65). He averaged more yards (72.1) per game than anyone in Packers history, is one of only three receivers to top 100 catches for the club and is tied with Davante Adams for the most touchdowns in a single season (18), something he did in his final year.
Others players with Packers ties include end LaVern Dilweg, a member of the NFL’s All-1920s team, and halfback Cecil Isbell, who threw for 61 touchdowns and ran for 10 more in his five season in the late 1930s and early 1940s. In the contributor category, there was former personnel director Jack Vainisi and long-time public relations director Lee Remmel. Vainisi has been credited with helping Vince Lombardi build a roster that won five NFL championships and eventually saw 12 players enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Remmel worked first as a sports writer covering the team before moving into his PR role. The press box at Lambeau Field is named after him.
Up to three senior candidates will be selected for final consideration, while one coach or contributor will have his or her candidacy discussed and voted on.