The Detroit Lions have a chance to land a pair of former personalities to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio in 2020.
Thursday, it was revealed that both defensive lineman Alex Karras and former coach Buddy Parker were nominated to be finalists for the centennial slate in 2020. Both Karras and Parker have been seen to be deserving of such an honor for years, and fans may be able to see them finally break through.
Here’s a look at the explanation of what Canton’s 2020 class will look like when all is said and done, and what those who do get enshrined will go through.
“The entire 20-person Class of 2020 will be on hand for the 2020 Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls. The group of Modern-Era players along with contributors and coaches will be formally enshrined on Saturday, Aug. 8. The 10 seniors will take center stage in the once-in-every-other-lifetime Centennial Celebration in Canton on Sept. 16-19, 2020 when they are enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
The Centennial Celebration will feature a multi-day schedule of events celebrating the NFL’s 100th Birthday party including the dedication of the new Centennial Plaza in downtown Canton near the site where the NFL was founded; and a black-tie Centennial Spectacular to kick off the league’s next century in Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium showcasing thousands of NFL Legends who built the game in attendance along with world-class performances from a variety of music icons.”
It will be interesting to see where Karras and Parker stack up when all is said and done.
Alex Karras’ Case for the Hall of Fame
The man they affectionately called Mongo was well known later in life for being a fixture on the airwaves, whether it was his work with Webster or on Monday Night Football. Still, Karras was a serious player during his time in the Motor City.
After being drafted out of Iowa, Karras came to Detroit and put up some massive numbers, cracking 4 NFL Pro Bowls as well as being a 3 time NFL All-Pro. Karras was also a 6 time second team NFL All-Pro, as well as a member of the All-Decade team of the 1960s.
Sadly for Karras, he never got much of the love he deserved given the team he played for. The Lions only made one trip to the playoffs in his playing career which spanned from 1958-1970. Karras retired at 35, but immediately launched into his Hollywood career, appearing in M*A*S*H, Blazing Saddles and The Tonight Show. He has a great personality which was showcased not only on television, but also in the book Paper Lion by George Plimpton.
Folks in Detroit who watched Karras know just how deserving he was of every honor given the tough brand of football he played for the Lions. Seeing him get honored with a trip to the Hall of Fame would be a definite feather in Karras’ cap, even if it would come eight years after his death in 2012.
Buddy Parker’s Case for the Hall of Fame
Parker, arguably the most successful Lions coach of all time, led the team from 1951-1956 and oversaw two NFL Championship teams in the 1950s with Detroit. Parker helped the Lions to the accolade in 1952 and 1953, piling up a 19-5 record over those two seasons with the team. He coached Detroit until he departed for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1957.
Historically in his career, Parker was 107-76-9, a solid .581 winning percentage. Notably, only one Lions coach has come close to touching this mark from Parker, and it is Jim Caldwell, who has a .563 winning percentage as Detroit coach.
Parker, who also played for the Lions in 1935 and 1936, passed away in 1982.
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