Packers great Bobby Dillon joins Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of Centennial class
Bobby Dillon only briefly got a taste of the Green Bay Packers' golden era, playing just his final season under new head coach Vince Lombardi. The former Packers safety from 1952-59 will instead join many of those legends in Canton, Ohio.
Dillon, who holds the Packers' franchise record for interceptions with 52, was announced Wednesday as a new inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, part of the league's special Centennial Class of 2020.
It's a bittersweet induction given the timing; Dillon died in August at the age of 89 in his hometown of Temple, Texas.
Only one player had more career interceptions in NFL history upon Dillon's retirement. Dillon was named Associated Press All-Pro four times and selected to four Pro Bowls, on his way to induction into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1974.
The Centennial Class was decided on by a panel of coaches, Hall of Famers, historians and football executives. In December, the panel narrowed the list to 38 finalists in three categories, including coach Mike Holmgren and four former Packers players (Dillon, Lavvie Dillweg, Cecil Isbell and Verne Lewellen). Ten "senior" players were chosen.
The Centennial Celebration enshrinement ceremony in Canton will take place from Sept. 16-19, with several events tied to the NFL's 100th birthday. That will be after the annual Modern-Era class enshrinement on Aug. 8. Former Packers safety LeRoy Butler is a finalist for the latter honor.
Dillon enjoyed only one winning season with the Packers — his final year, with Lombardi in his first year — but he led the club in interceptions seven of his eight seasons. That included three years of racking up nine interceptions over the 12-game season.
His 976 return yards on interceptions are also a franchise best, and his four picks in one game (Nov. 26, 1953 at Detroit) is a franchise record he shares with cornerback Willie Buchanon (Sept. 24, 1978 at San Diego).
Dillon was ranked No. 33 on the 100 most outstanding Packers in franchise history list released by Packersnews.com in commemoration of Green Bay's 100th anniversary.
The All-American at the University of Texas played throughout his career with a glass eye after two childhood accidents cost him his vision.
Dillon helped coach the defensive backs in 1957 after assistant coach Tom Hearden suffered a stroke.
Another player selected, offensive tackle Duke Slater, played part of his first season (two games) with the short-lived Milwaukee Badgers before spending the majority of his career with the Rock Island Independents and Chicago Cardinals. Slater was the first known African-American lineman in league history.
Packers in the Hall of Fame
- Herb Adderley (1961-69)
- Tony Canadeo (1941-44, 1946-52)
- Willie Davis (1960-69)
- Bobby Dillon (1952-59)
- Brett Favre (1992-2007)
- Forrest Gregg (1956, 1958-70)
- Arnie Herber (1930-40)
- Clarke Hinkle (1932-41)
- Paul Hornung (1957-62, 1964-66)
- Robert "Cal" Hubbard (1929-33, 1935)
- Don Hutson (1935-45)
- Henry Jordan (1959-69)
- Jerry Kramer (1958-68)
- Earl "Curly" Lambeau (1919-49)
- James Lofton (1978-86)
- Vince Lombardi (1959-67)
- John "Blood" McNally (1929-33, 1935-36)
- Mike Michalske (1929-35, 1937)
- Ray Nitschke (1958-72)
- Jim Ringo (1953-63)
- Dave Robinson (1963-72)
- Bart Starr (1956-71)
- Jim Taylor (1958-66)
- Reggie White (1993-98)
- Ron Wolf (1991-2001)
- Willie Wood (1960-71)
Centennial Hall of Fame class
- Jimmy Johnson (1989-1999 as NFL head coach, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins)
- Bill Cowher (1992-2006 as NFL head coach, Pittsburgh Steelers)
- Jim Covert, OT (1983-1990, Chicago Bears)
- Winston Hill, OT (1963-1977, New York Jets, Los Angeles Rams)
- Harold Carmichael, WR (1971-1984, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys)
- Duke Slater, OT (1922-31 Rock Island Independents, Milwaukee Badgers, Chicago Cardinals)
- Ed Sprinkle, DE/LB (1944-1955, Chicago Bears)
- Alex Karras, DT (1958-1962, 1964-1970, Detroit Lions)
- Bobby Dillon, S (1952-1959, Green Bay Packers)
- Donnie Shell, S (1974-1987, Pittsburgh Steelers)
- Cliff Harris, S (1970-1979, Dallas Cowboys)
- Mac Speedie, End (1946-1952, Cleveland Browns)
- Steve Sabol (1964-2012, Administrator/President of NFL Films)
- George Young (1968-2001, Contributor/General Manager of Baltimore Colts, Miami Dolphins and New York Giants, National Football League employee)
- Paul Tagliabue (1989-2006, NFL commissioner)