Steve McMichael, a cornerstone of the 1985 Bears’ legendary defense, stands on the cusp of joining the Pro Football Hall of Fame, alongside some of his iconic teammates.
The revered Bears defensive tackle has been shortlisted as one of the three senior finalists for the forthcoming induction in Canton, Ohio. Alongside him, former Denver Broncos linebacker Randy Gradishar and AFL standout wide receiver Art Powell are in contention. To secure their spots in the Hall of Fame, each will require a nod from 80% of the selection committee, who will cast their votes early in 2024.
McMichael’s prowess as a defensive lineman is noteworthy. Over his 15-year career, he showcased remarkable resilience, never bowing out due to injury. With 227 games under his belt (a franchise record 191 with the Bears), McMichael played a pivotal role in the Bears’ defense, propelling them to their maiden Super Bowl victory in 1985. His impressive tally of 95 career sacks positions him fourth for defensive tackles.
Should McMichael be inducted, he’d join the ranks of fellow Bears like Dan Hampton, Mike Singletary, Richard Dent, Jimbo Covert, and Walter Payton in Canton.
Gradishar, akin to McMichael, was instrumental to a famed defense – the Broncos’ “Orange Crush”. As the driving force behind the Broncos’ 1977 AFC championship, Gradishar’s stellar performance earned him the Defensive Player of the Year title the subsequent season. His ten-year stint in Denver witnessed an impressive seven Pro Bowl appearances.
Powell, transitioning from a defensive back, emerged as a dominant force in the 1960s, cementing his position as a formidable receiver. He clinched the lead in the AFL with 14 touchdowns in just 14 games during his inaugural year as a receiver. Powell’s legacy boasts 81 career touchdowns, equating the records of NFL stalwarts like Steve Smith Sr. and Mike Evans.
Other senior players assessed by the selection committee include Ken Anderson, Maxie Baughan, Roger Craig, Joe Jacoby, Albert Lewis, Eddie Meador, Sterling Sharpe, Otis Taylor, and Al Wistert.
Moreover, the Hall of Fame’s committee spotlighted former Lions and Steelers coach Buddy Parker for potential induction. Along with these legends, the next year’s class will also feature modern-era inductees. Noteworthy first-time eligible candidates include former players Julius Peppers and Antonio Gates.