Atwater, Johnson finalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame

By: Matt Jones
Published: Thursday, January 2, 2020
Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson yells from the sidelines during the fourth quarter at the Super Bowl against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Jan. 30, 1994 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Johnson's Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills 30-13 to win their second consecutive Super Bowl title. (AP Photo/Ron Heflin)
Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson yells from the sidelines during the fourth quarter at the Super Bowl against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Jan. 30, 1994 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Johnson's Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills 30-13 to win their second consecutive Super Bowl title. (AP Photo/Ron Heflin)

— Three Arkansas football players have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Two more could join them this year.

Former Razorbacks Steve Atwater and Jimmy Johnson are finalists for the 2020 class for the Canton, Ohio-based hall of fame. Atwater is a finalist for the third time and Johnson for the first time through an initiative meant to induct a larger-than-normal class this year to commemorate the NFL’s 100th season.

Twenty individuals will be inducted this year - five modern-era players, 10 senior players, three contributors and two coaches. Atwater is one of 15 finalists in the modern era category and Johnson is one of eight finalists in the coaches category.

Atwater, who was also a finalist last year and in 2016 and who has been a semifinalist the past nine years, played 11 NFL seasons as a safety, including 10 with the Denver Broncos. With the Broncos, Atwater won two Super Bowls, was an eight-time Pro Bowler and two-time First-Team All Pro.

Atwater was selected by the Broncos 20th overall in the first round of the 1989 draft. He started 166 games in his career - he only missed five games as a Bronco - and recorded 1,180 tackles and 24 interceptions.

Johnson won two Super Bowls in five seasons as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. He also coached four seasons for the Miami Dolphins.

Hired away from a prolific tenure as head coach at the University of Miami, Johnson turned around the Cowboys from a one-win team in his first season to Super Bowl champions in his final two years. Johnson’s record in Dallas was 44-36 and the team made the playoffs three times.

Johnson previously was a modern-day semifinalist for the hall of fame from 2016-18.

Johnson was the first head coach hired in Dallas by Jerry Jones, his college teammate at Arkansas from 1962-64. Jones was inducted into the hall of fame as a contributor in 2017. Other former Razorbacks previously inducted are Lance Alworth in 1978 and Dan Hampton in 2002.

This year’s hall of fame class will be announced the week of the Super Bowl week in February and inducted in August.

2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame Finalists

Modern-Day

Steve Atwater

Tony Boselli

Isaac Bruce

LeRoy Butler

Alan Faneca

Torry Holt

Steve Hutchinson

Edgerrin James

John Lynch

Sam Mills

Troy Polamalu

Richard Seymour

Zach Thomas

Bryant Young

Reggie Wayne

Coaches

Don Coryell

Bill Cowher

Tom Flores

Mike Holmgren

Jimmy Johnson

Buddy Parker

Dan Reeves

Dick Vermeil

Contributors

Bud Adams

Ralph Hay

Frank “Bucko” Kilroy

Art McNally

Art Modell

Clint Murchison

Steve Sabol

Seymor Siwoff

Paul Tagliabue

George Young

Seniors

Cliff Branch

Harold Carmichael

Jim Covert

Roger Craig

Bobby Dillon

LaVern Dilweg

Ox Emerson

Randy Gradishar

Cliff Harris

Winston Hill

Cecil Isbell

Alex Karras

Tommy Nobis

Drew Pearson

Donnie Shell

Duke Slater

Mac Speedie

Ed Sprinkle

Al Wistert

Discussion

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