Dick Stanfel, a guard who finished his career with three seasons with the Washington Redskins in the 1950s, was among the finalists who failed to gain election. Stanfel, like Butler, was a nominee of the seniors committee. Former coach Bill Parcells, former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo, Jr. and former players Cris Carter, Jerome Bettis and Charles Haley were among the modern-era finalists passed over Saturday.
The Hall of Fame selections were made as part of a busy Super Bowl eve on which the major award winners for this season also were announced. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was named most valuable player and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs won the defensive player of the year award.
Martin ran for more than 14,000 yards in 11 seasons for the New England Patriots and New York Jets between 1995 and 2005. He ranks behind only Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton and Barry Sanders on the NFL’s career rushing list.
“I feel tremendously grateful for all the players that I played with and all the coaches that coached me throughout my career,” Martin said. “I guess the bittersweet part of it is Parcells [not being elected]. He meant so much to my career. Without him, my career would not even have been 30 percent of what it was.”
It was a good day for linemen. Doleman, a defensive end, was a relentless pass rusher who had 1501
2 sacks in 15 seasons, 10 of them with the Minnesota Vikings, in the ’80s and ’90s.
“When they call your name, you’re absolutely numb,” Doleman said.
Kennedy was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection as a defensive tackle for the Seattle Seahawks between the 1990 and 2000 seasons.
“It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world,” Kennedy said. “I thought I was supposed to get a call. I didn’t get a call. I had to watch it on TV.”
Dawson played center for the Steelers between 1988 and 2000. He was selected to seven Pro Bowls and played in 170 straight games. He succeeded another Hall of Famer, Mike Webster, as the Steelers’ center.
“I knew I had big shoes to fill,” Dawson said. “I never thought I would be in this position after my career. . . . It was just an honor to learn from Mike my rookie year.”
Roaf was an 11-time Pro Bowler in 13 seasons as an offensive tackle for the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs between 1993 and 2005.
Stanfel played for the Redskins between 1956 and ’58 after beginning his NFL career with four seasons with the Detroit Lions. He and Butler, as the seniors nominees, automatically were included in the final round of voting at Saturday’s selection meeting, but Stanfel failed to get the necessary votes while Butler was elected.