After a long day of meeting, discussing, and voting, former Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison and head coach Tony Dungy have both been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2016.
The full Class of 2016 features Brett Favre, Tony Dungy, Marvin Harrison, Kevin Greene, and Orlando Pace as the modern-era selections, Eddie DeBartolo in the contributor category, and Ken Stable and Dick Stanfel as senior committee selections.
It's a huge honor for the two of them and it's a great day for Colts fans, as two of the biggest contributors in recent franchise history are both heading to the Hall of Fame. They will officially be inaugurated in Canton in early August, when the Hall of Fame ceremony takes place. With Peyton Manning set to play in his fourth Super Bowl on Sunday and Harrison and Dungy both making the Hall of Fame tonight, it's a tremendous and very exciting weekend to be a Colts fan.
A finalist for the past three years, Marvin Harrison finally got in on his third try (though it was still too late). His career with the Colts was simply tremendous, and he will rightfully go down as one of the best receivers in NFL history. Playing 13 seasons with the Colts (1996-2008), he caught 1,102 passes (third all-time) for 14,580 yards (seventh all-time) and 128 touchdowns (fifth all-time), averaging 13.2 yards per catch and 76.7 yards per game (eighth all-time, and second all-time among retired players). He caught a pass in every single game that he played in (190 of them) and holds the single-season record for receptions in a season with 143 (set in 2002). He holds pretty much every significant receiving record in Colts franchise history, including receptions, yards, and touchdowns. Perhaps most impressive, however, is his incredible streak of high-level play over such a long period of time: in eight straight seasons, Harrison recorded at least 1,000 yards and at least 10 touchdowns. That's an insanely good streak and one that put Harrison among the game's very best for a decade. In addition, he made eight Pro Bowls, was a three-time first-team All-Pro, was a part of the NFL All-Decades Team of the 2000s, and is a member of the Colts' Ring of Honor.
Tony Dungy also gets in on his third year as a finalist. In 13 seasons as an NFL head coach, Dungy was 139-69, good for a .668 winning percentage that ranks 12th in NFL history (minimum of 50 games). His teams made the playoffs in eleven of his thirteen seasons as a coach, and his average of 10.7 average wins per season ranks first in NFL history among coaches with at least five seasons of experience. Dungy led the Colts to a Super Bowl championship and in doing so became the first African-American head coach to ever win a Super Bowl. Dungy spent six seasons as the coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1996-2001) and helped turn around one of the league's worst franchises, and then he spent seven years as the coach of the Indianapolis Colts (2002-2008). During his time in Indy, Dungy went 85-27 (.759) and made the playoffs in all seven years, along with five division titles, an AFC title, and Super Bowl XLI. Dungy is a member of the Colts' Ring of Honor and was named as a second-team member of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 2000s (Bill Belichick was ahead of him). He is a member of the Colts' Ring of Honor and now has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Former Colts running back Edgerrin James did not make the Hall of Fame this year despite being one of the 15 modern-era finalists, but that wasn't a huge surprise. He has a strong case to one day be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but he will have to wait at least another year (and, considering the fact that LaDainian Tomlinson will be eligible next year, probably longer), but it's likely that he will one day get in.
Congratulations to both Marvin Harrison and Tony Dungy for making the Hall of Fame as members of the Class of 2016, as they will now be immortalized among the NFL's all-time greats where they belong.