The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2022 was revealed Thursday night at NFL Honors, three days before Super Bowl LVI.
Below are the names of the Class of 2022:
Tony Boselli: The first draft pick in Jacksonville Jaguars history is now the first Hall of Fame player in franchise history. Boselli, a star tackle out of USC, was the second overall pick in the 1995 draft and a sure thing from the start. A member of the 1990s Hall of Fame All-Decade Team, he led the Jags, the upstarts of said decade, to four straight playoff appearances and two AFC title games from 1996-1999, protecting Mark Brunell and paving the way for Fred Taylor. Boselli's career was cut short by a shoulder injury suffered in 2001, but not before he was voted to five Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro three times. Boselli played just 91 games in seven professional seasons, but in his 16th year of eligibility and his sixth as a finalist, a wait nearly as long as his career, Boselli is a Hall of Famer.
LeRoy Butler: LeRoy's long wait to leap into the annals of Canton is over. Butler, who spent the duration of his 12-year career with the Green Bay Packers, is in the Hall of Fame in his 16th year of eligibility. A four-time Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro in Green Bay, Butler was a ball-hawking, hard-hitting safety for the Brett Favre-era Packers. He's the only player in league history with at least three picks and three sacks in three straight seasons, and one of just six with 30-plus interceptions and 20-plus sacks in his career. A Super Bowl champion and member of the 1990s Hall of Fame All-Decade Team, Butler is also fondly remembered as the creator of the Lambeau Leap, a post-touchdown tradition that will live on in Green Bay as long as Butler is enshrined in Canton, which is to say, now, forever.
Sam Mills: A pillar in New Orleans' Dome Patrol defense for nearly a decade, Mills took a circuitous route to Canton. Mills signed with the Browns as a UDFA out of Montclair State, joined the CFL's Argonauts after he was cut from Cleveland and played for the USFL's Stars after he was released from Toronto, before he even made it to an NFL roster in 1986. In Mills' time in New Orleans, the Saints defense ranked in the top five in PPG allowed, YPG, rush YPG allowed and rush TDs allowed. In 1995, he was a founding leader of the Carolina Panthers, playing three seasons with the expansion franchise before retiring after the 1997 season; Carolina retired his No. 51 in 2005. A five-time Pro Bowler and one-time first-team All-Pro, Mills turned to coaching after his retirement, serving as a defensive assistant and linebackers coach with the Panthers from 1998-2004. Mills remained a part of the organization until his death in 2005 following a battle with intestinal cancer. In his 20th year of eligibility, Mills is now enshrined posthumously in football's ultimate resting place.
Richard Seymour: A fixture of this century's defining dynasty, Seymour won three Super Bowls as a member of the New England Patriots. As the sixth overall pick of the 2001 draft. Seymour was in Foxborough from nearly the very start of the Bill Belichick era. While later Patriots teams were regarded as offensive juggernauts, Seymour and New England's defense were the catalysts for the franchise's first few runs at Lombardi. The Patriots were a top-eight scoring defense in six of the defensive lineman's eight seasons with the team -- and top four in four. Seymour spent the final four years of his 12-year career with the Oakland Raiders, sent away by Belichick like so many Patriots greats before him. In all, he recorded 57.5 career sacks and was a member of the 2000s Hall of Fame All-Decade Team. The seven-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro is now in Canton for all time in his fifth year of eligibility and his fourth time as a finalist.
Bryant Young: One of the greatest defensive players in the storied history of the 49ers, Young played the entirety of his 14-year career in San Francisco, starting all 208 of games played. Drafted in the first round by the Niners in 1994, Young contributed immediately on the defensive line in a Super Bowl-winning season. A fixture on the dominant Niners defenses of the 1990s, Young was also a member of the All-Decade Team. His Comeback Player of the Year performance in 1999, following a devastating broken leg suffered in 1998, cemented his legacy. Young retired following the 2007 season with 89.5 career sacks, the most by a 49ers player since 1982. A four-time Pro Bowler and one-time first-team All-Pro, Young enters Canton in his 10th year of eligibility and his second as a finalist.
Cliff Branch: Arguably the greatest receiver in Raiders history is now, finally, a Hall of Famer. Branch, who died in 2019, spent the length of his 14-year career with the Silver and Black. Joining John Madden's Raiders in 1972, Branch broke out in 1974, leading the league in receiving yards (1,092) and touchdowns (13). One of the fastest players in football, he was a critical part of the Raiders' Super Bowl-winning teams in 1976, 1980 and 1983, hauling in 14 catches for 181 yards and catching three scores combined on the biggest stage. A four-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro, Branch was underrated in retirement and failed to reach the Hall of Fame while eligible as a player, though he was a semifinalist in 2004 and 2010. Finally, though, Branch, a Senior Committee finalist, has been rightfully recognized as one of the game's most significant figures.
Art McNally: Known as the "Father of Modern Officiating," McNally served as the NFL's supervisor of officials for 24 years from 1968 to 1991, leading the officiating department through a period in which football reached new heights of popularity. McNally, a Contributor Committee finalist, was a field judge and referee for nine years prior to his promotion. McNally, 96, worked as an assistant supervisor and then observer of officials from 1996 to 2015 before his retirement. McNally's legacy is apparent all over the league. He installed the first formal program for training and evaluation of football officials in professional sports and introduced instant replay system in the NFL in 1986. In 2002, then-Commissioner Paul Tagliabue created the Art McNally Award, presented to a current or former official who embodies professionalism, leadership and sportsmanship. The officiating command center at NFL headquarters even bears his name: Art McNally GameDay Central. Now, McNally's name will be forever included in the halls of the Pro Football Hall of Fame as the first on-field official ever enshrined in Canton.
Dick Vermeil: One of only seven coaches to lead two franchises to the Super Bowl, Vermeil enjoyed a long, storied career as a professional football coach. Starting his coaching career in high school, junior college and the Pac-8, Vermeil first became an NFL head coach in 1976 with the Philadelphia Eagles. In seven years at the helm, Vermeil led the Eagles to a 54-47 record and four consecutive playoff appearances, the franchise's first period of sustained success since the Kennedy administration. Vermeil even took Philly to its first Super Bowl (a loss to Branch's Raiders) in 1980. Vermeil retired from coaching (for the first time) in 1983 and spent the next 15 years in sports broadcasting. But in 1997, Vermeil returned to head coaching to lead the St. Louis Rams. Led by underdog backup QB Kurt Warner and offensive coordinator Mike Martz's Greatest Show on Turf top-scoring offense, Vermeil's Rams shocked the football world by winning the Super Bowl in 1999. Vermeil walked away from coaching again after the victory, only to return for a five-year stint with the Chiefs from 2001-2005. All in all, Vermeil, a Coach Committee finalist, coached three franchises to a combined 126-114 record (including postseason) with his long, strange career landing him a deserved spot in Canton.