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NEW ORLEANS — Larry Allen, Warren Sapp, Jonathan Ogden, Cris Carter and Bill Parcells were voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2013.
In addition, senior-committee candidates Curley Culp and Dave Robinson also secured enshrinment.
Parcells was the longest-discussed candidate. The committee took almost an hour to go through his credentials, according to committee member Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News. Parcells helped turn around four franchises — the Giants, Patriots, Jets and Cowboys — as a coach and administrator, winning two Super Bowls (XXI and XXV) and being named NFL Coach of the Year twice, in 1986 and 1994. He was the first coach to lead four teams to the playoffs in NFL history.
“This is unbelievable. It’s exhilarating,” Parcells said. “I am just grateful for the men who were named before me. They are the ones who paved the way for me and other coaches to get in.”
Parcells was on the ballot for the first time last year, when he came up short of getting into Canton.
“This year was a little less stressful than last year. I thought I had a good chance to get in,” he said. “I was kind of hoping it would happen. Things didn’t work out, but I am happy to join now. It’s great.”
“I’m very happy for Bill. This is long overdue,” Giants president and CEO John Mara said. “He’s one of the best coaches in NFL history. He turned our franchise around. We went through a long period in the 1960’s and 70’s when we were a laughing stock. When Bill took over in 1983, he survived a very difficult first year, but then turned us into a perennial playoff contender and won two Super Bowls for us. He coached three other teams and everywhere he went, he had great success. I’m very happy that he will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
"Congratulations to Coach Parcells on his election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame," said Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "It is well deserved. As a Patriots fan, I will always appreciate the credibility he brought to our franchise as a two-time Super Bowl champion. We had never had a head coach with those credentials. I am very happy for Bill and look forward to his enshrinement ceremonies."
The eight-time Pro Bowler Carter caught 130 TD passes and played in 234 career games in a 16-year career. He had eight straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons and amassed 42 100-yard receiving games. In 2000, Carter became just the second player ever to collect 1,000 catches in a career.
“The Vikings are thrilled that Cris has been selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Vikings owner and chairman Zygi Wilf said. “For over a decade Cris entertained Vikings fans with his trademark great catches and competitiveness, as he became one of the most beloved players in franchise history. Cris represented the Vikings organization in a first-class manner both on and off the field. We appreciate his place in Minnesota Vikings history, and we look forward to seeing him enshrined in Canton later this year.”
Allen spent 14 seasons blocking for Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin, and was one of a handful of players to make two NFL All-Decade teams — in the 1990s and 2000s. Allen played every position on the offensive line except for center and was a member of three Super Bowl-winning teams. He spent 12 years with the Cowboys before spending the final two with the 49ers.
“I just broke down and started crying (when the announcement was made),” Allen said.
An intimidator for much of his career, Allen was asked to describe his style of play in the NFL.
“My thought process when I played was I wanted to make the guy quit,” Allen said. Tap out.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will give Allen's induction speech. “He’s like a father to me,” Allen said.
Sapp was the premiere three-technique defensive tackle in the NFL for much of the late 1990s and early 2000s. He was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1999, when he registered 12.5 sacks, 54 tackles and three forced fumbles. Sapp was a four-time All-Pro member.
"This is a proud day for the Buccaneers organization and Bucs fans everywhere," Buccaneers co-chairman Bryan Glazer said. "Warren played the game with incredible ability and passion. He was a leader on one of the best defenses in NFL history and helped to redefine the defensive tackle position. It is a fitting honor that he will be recognized as one of the greatest to ever play, and we could not be happier for him."
Ogden was the inaugural pick of the Ravens’ franchise after moving from Cleveland in 1996. He was named to 11 Pro Bowls and was a member of the Ravens’ Super Bowl XXXV-winning club in 2001. Ogden was named All-Pro in 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2006.
“It’s such a nerve-racking thing, waiting for the (announcement),” Ogden said. “It’s really a unique experience. It was stressful.
“Obviously, it would have been great if Art Modell had gotten in. He drafted me.”
Ogden was drafted in the same class as Ray Lewis, who will play in Sunday’s Super Bowl vs. the 49ers.
Culp was an undersized nose tackle, predominantly with the Oilers and Chiefs, who made six Pro Bowls and was one of the best 3-4 interior forces in his era.
“Curley was a dominating force on the defensive line for the Super Bowl IV championship team and one of many great players that helped build the tradition and foundation of the Kansas City Chiefs,” Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said. “We look forward to seeing him take his rightful place in Canton.”
Robinson was a key member of Vince Lombardi’s Packers teams in the 1960s and was named to the All-Decade team for those years.
Sixty-eight current Hall of Famers entered the Hall on their first ballot. There have never been four first-time candidates get in during a single vote. Allen and Sapp were the only first-time candidates to make it this year.
Seventeen finalists — including two senior candidates — were eligible for this year’s class. The 10 finalists included: Allen, Bettis, Carter, Haley, Ogden, Parcells, Reed, Sapp, Strahan and Williams.
Of those, seven (plus two senior candidates) made the final round of cuts: Culp, Robinson, Allen, Ogden, Parcells, Sapp and Carter.
Others who did not make the final 10: Art Modell, Eddie DeBartolo Jr., Tim Brown, Will Shields and Kevin Greene. Modell was second only to Parcells for longest discussion by the committee, but he did not make the second cut.