Sport

Hall of Fame’s annual embrace of at least one coaching finalist could open floodgates for coaches

Until recently, coaches competed with players for spots in the Hall of Fame. That made it difficult for coaches to get in.

Starting in 2021, the Hall of Fame changed its rules to save one spot per year for a coach. And that could open the floodgates for coaches to get in.

This year, Dick Vermeil is the coaching finalist. He presumably will get enough votes in February to secure enshrinement.

Near-future locks include Mike Shanahan, Mike Holmgren, George Seifert, and Tom Coughlin, each of whom won at least one Super Bowl.

Others who likely will get in based on their total career achievements, despite not winning a Super Bowl, are Marty Schottenheimer, Dan Reeves, and Chuck Knox. Don Coryell didn’t win a Super Bowl, either. He’s been a sentimental favorite to get in for years, given his role in revolutionizing passing games.

Among current coaches, no-brainers include Bill Belichick, Andy Reid, John Harbaugh, Pete Carroll, Mike Tomlin, and Sean Payton. Others who could make it include Bruce Arians and Ron Rivera. Others who will merit some consideration given that they won Super Bowls include Mike McCarthy and Jon Gruden. However, their more recent work undermines their championships. And young-ish coaches like Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay could be on track to get there, eventually.

Then there’s the question of assistant coaches. Peyton Manning argued during his enshrinement speech earlier this month that Tom Moore should get in. Other head coaches who would get a lift if their work as assistants were considered include Wade Phillips and Norv Turner.

Bottom line? The creation of a new track specifically for coaches makes it easier for coaches to get in. One per year will now be put on the tee. The end result will be more busts for coaches.

Unless and until, of course, they change the rules again. Which they could do after the backlog of deserving coaches shrinks.