The Pro Football Hall of Fame will welcome nine new members Saturday night, including a coach who changed the passing game, the dominant offensive tackle of his era and seven defensive players.
Here is a closer look at the class of 2023.
- Accomplishments: Five-time Pro Bowler, three-time first-team All-Pro, two-time second-team All-Pro, 2000s All-Decade Team, Super Bowl champion
- Playing career: Buccaneers (1997–2012)
- Statistics: Played in 240 consecutive regular-season games, 47 interceptions, eight touchdowns
Barber was consistently underrated throughout his career, being surrounded by fellow Hall of Famers Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks and John Lynch. However, Barber was one of the league’s best corners for more than a decade, playing a vital role in coordinator Monte Kiffin’s Tampa-2 defense. Barber is also one half of the best twins combination in league history, alongside his brother, Tiki.
- Accomplishments: 1974 Coach of the Year, six playoff appearances, six double-digit win seasons
- Record: 111-83-1
- Coaching career: St. Louis Cardinals (1973–77), San Diego Chargers (1978–86)
Coryell can’t be measured in stats and accolades, but rather his long-lasting impact. His influence on the passing game has done nothing but accelerate over the decades since he walked away in 1986, with teams using his scheme to look deep and then work checkdowns. In the late ’70s and early ’80s, Air Coryell was the Chargers’ nickname, as they set the single-season passing record three consecutive years.
- Accomplishments: Six-time Pro Bowler, five-time first-team All-Pro, Super Bowl champion, Super Bowl V MVP
- Playing career: Bears (1958–60), Cowboys (1961–73)
- Statistics: 26 unofficial sacks, 25 interceptions
Howley was long known by many as the only player to win Super Bowl MVP honors for the losing team. However, there was so much more. As part of Dallas’s first great teams of the 1960s and ’70s, Howley played in two Super Bowls while winning one, helping anchor the famed Doomsday defense from the second level.
- Accomplishments: Four-time Pro Bowler, two-time first-team All-Pro, second-team All-Pro
- Playing career: Jets (1977–87), Colts (1988)
- Statistics: 78 unofficial sacks, nine fumble recoveries
Klecko remains the only player in NFL history to be named a first-team All-Pro at defensive end, tackle and nose guard. For years, his talents were largely overlooked, chiefly because his best pass-rushing numbers happened before sacks became official in 1982. However, with sack totals (unofficially) now updated through ’60, Klecko’s 20.5 sacks in ’81 show how dominant he was for the famed New York Sack Exchange.
- Accomplishments: Seven-time Pro Bowler, four-time first-team All-Pro, 2010s All-Decade Team, Super Bowl champion
- Playing career: Jets (2007–12; 2015–16), Buccaneers (2013), Patriots (2014), Chiefs (2017)
- Statistics: 139 passes defensed, 29 interceptions, 12 fumble recoveries
So dominant he became known as “Revis Island,” nobody was a better player at the position for a solid decade. In coach Rex Ryan’s aggressive man-cover scheme, Revis was often asked to play without help against the league’s best receivers, and he routinely shut them down. In an era when even the best corners struggled at times with safety assistance, Revis was the exception.
- Accomplishments: First-team All-Pro, two-time second-team All-Pro
- Playing career: Bengals (1969–83)
- Statistics: 65 interceptions, 18 fumble recoveries, five touchdowns
Riley is one of the rare players who never reached a Pro Bowl but finally gained entry into Canton. Playing in national anonymity for most of his career, Riley totaled 65 interceptions, ranking fifth all time. Incredibly, Riley had seven seasons of at least five interceptions, helping the Bengals reach Super Bowl XVI in 1981.
- Accomplishments: Ten-time Pro Bowler, Six-time first-team All-Pro, two-time second-team All-Pro, 2010s All-Decade Team
- Playing career: Browns (2007–17)
- Statistics: 167 consecutive regular-season games
Thomas was unfortunately stuck on a Browns team that was more calamity than contender throughout his 11-year career. Still, nobody was more dominant at left tackle throughout his era, constantly halting pass rushers in their tracks. Despite rarely playing in a prime-time moment, Thomas was a deserved first-ballot pick by the selection committee.
- Accomplishments: Seven-time Pro Bowler, five-time first-team All-Pro, two-time second-team All-Pro, 2000s All-Decade Team
- Playing career: Dolphins (1996–2007), Cowboys (2008)
- Statistics: Ten seasons of 100-plus tackles, two-time NFL leader in tackles, 74 tackles for loss, 20.5 sacks, 17 interceptions
After years of being on the ballot, Thomas finally reached Canton. The biggest reason was his ability to both bring down ballcarriers behind the line of scrimmage while also providing terrific coverage on backs and tight ends. One of the top inside linebackers of his era, Thomas was a consistent force, posting 10 seasons of 100 tackles in an 11-year span.
- Accomplishments: Nine-time Pro Bowler, four-time first-team All-Pro, three-time second-team All-Pro, 2000s All-Decade Team, Super Bowl champion
- Playing career: Cowboys (2005–13), Broncos (2014–16)
- Statistics: 138.5 sacks, two-time NFL leader in sacks, 171 tackles for loss, three-time NFL leaders in tackles for loss, 35 forced fumbles
Ware was dominant almost immediately, earning All-Pro honors in his second year. For seven consecutive seasons, he notched at least 10 sacks, helping the Cowboys become a contender in the NFC. Despite advancing age, Ware helped the Broncos win Super Bowl 50 in his penultimate season, totaling 7.5 sacks in his final Pro Bowl campaign.