The Best NFL Hall of Fame Non-Playing Inductees

The Best NFL Hall of Fame Non-Playing Inductees - partycasino

Everyone remembers the big names who entered the NFL Hall of Fame for their incredible contribution while on the field. However, the Hall of Fame doesn't just recognise players' performances; it also celebrates others in the game who made a memorable contribution in other ways. 

Below, we look at some of the most notable inductees in the Hall of Fame who didn't make it in due to their playing ability.

Don Shula

As the head coach of Baltimore Colts from 1963-1969, followed up by this 26-year stint at Miami Dolphins from 1970-1995, Don Shula's reputation is almost unparalleled. 

Only rivalled by the godlike George Halas, Shula has more than 300 victories to his name with a 347-173-6 (.665) record. Under Shula, the Colts had seven consecutive winning seasons, and in the 26 years at Miami, Shula only dipped below .500 twice. Out of the 33 years, he was coaching, his teams reached the playoffs a phenomenal 20 times. 

Known for his modesty and honest approach, Shula never expected anything from his players that he wasn't prepared to do himself. After practice, he ran gassers with them and believed that communication was the most critical part of being a good coach.

Born in 1930 and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997, Don Shula passed away in 2020.

Steve Sabol

Playing football as running back while at college, Steve Sabol never progressed further with his playing career, but his love of the NFL never dwindled. Joining his father behind the camera straight after graduation, Sabol went on to become one of the most revered filmmakers in the game. 

He was instrumental in creating the NFL Network after founding NFL films, both of which were significant factors in how football is watched today. Contributing as a writer, editor, cameraman and most latterly as a presenter, Steve Sabol won 35 Emmy Awards and had a 60 Minutes documentary made about him. No one else in the history of TV has won so many Emmys in different categories as Steve Sabol. 

His company were the first to wire up players and coaches for sound, and they were also the first to use montage editing and slow motion. His contribution to the NFL meant that he was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Fame and into the NFL Hall of Fame as a Contributor in 2020. Sadly Sabol never lived to enjoy the accolade as he died from an inoperable brain tumour just shy of his 70th birthday in 2012.

Pete Rozzelle

Rarely are the officials of the game recognised for their contribution, but Commissioner Peter Rozzelle was a giant among men. He was in charge of the league through a period of unprecedented growth and had huge enthusiasm about the development of the Super Bowl, sharing his infectious love for the game with all he met. 

His achievements while guiding the NFL still stand today, and his beliefs and calm but firm leadership helped to steer the sport through some rocky waters. He was responsible for persuading the teams to share TV revenue equally, helped to create Monday Night Football and moved the league from a 12 to 16 game schedule. 

Rozzelle helped the league grow to 28 teams and is widely credited for being the most powerful sports commissioner that the US has ever seen. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985 while he was still the commissioner (1960-1989). He passed away seven years after his retirement, in 1996, aged 70.