NFL.com wire reports
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 5, 2005) -- Dan Marino and Steve Young made it a great day for quarterbacks when both were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Marino, the most prolific passer in NFL history, and Young, whose accuracy and speed made him one of football's most versatile QBs, were joined Saturday by Benny Friedman, an early-era quarterback, and Fritz Pollard.
Each received at least 80 percent of the votes from the panel of sports writers and broadcasters.
Friedman and Pollard were nominated by the senior committee and chosen by the full panel.
Induction ceremonies will be Aug. 7 in Canton, Ohio.
"It's an incredible honor," Marino said. "It's humbling to think of growing up wanting to be a professional football player.
"Let's overrun Canton with Dolphins fans. I invite you all to Canton and to have some fun."
When Marino left the Miami Dolphins after the 1999 season, he had NFL bests of 4,967 completions, 8,358 passes, 61,361 yards and 420 touchdowns. His record of 48 TD passes in a season was recently broken by Peyton Manning.
Although he never won a Super Bowl, Marino was the 1984 league MVP, made three All-Pro teams and nine Pro Bowls. When he retired, he owned 21 NFL marks, including most seasons with 3,000 yards or more passing (13); most yards passing in one season (5,084 in '84, the only year he won a conference championship); and most games with 300 yards or more passing (63).
Young, the first modern-era left-handed quarterback elected, won the 1995 Super Bowl with San Francisco and was the league's most valuable player in 1992 and '94. A clever runner with a strong arm and great field vision, Young made seven Pro Bowls and was a three-time All-Pro. He held the highest passer rating in league history (96.8) when he retired in '99. He also set the highest single-season rating of 112.8, which Manning also broke this season.
"Not many Hall of Famers come out of Greenwich, Conn.," Young said with a chuckle. "I took a unique road, starting with being left-handed. I had a college coach, LaVell Edwards, who took a chance on a wild, crazy left-handed running quarterback from Connecticut."
Pollard not only was the first black head coach in the NFL, in 1921, but a superb player, too. A running back, he led the Akron Pros to the fledgling league's 1920 championship with an undefeated record.
He later organized the Chicago Brown Bombers, an independent team of black players that barnstormed the country from 1927-33.
Friedman played for four teams from 1927-34 and was one of the early NFL's great quarterbacks. A contemporary of Red Grange, he also was a strong draw at the box office. Giants owner Tim Mara purchased the Detroit Wolverines, for whom Friedman played in 1928, not only to get him in New York's lineup but to fill the stands.
"We both appreciate and honor the people who played in another era," Young said, speaking for Marino, as well. "You're talking about having a passion for the game. We're here on the backs of so many other players.
"This is important Fritz Pollard and what he meant for the game. There's a foundation there we are able to join arms with."
Michael Irvin and Harry Carson, the other two finalists, did not get the required votes for induction.