Quarterbacks Benny Friedman, Dan Marino, Steve Young, and halfback Fritz Pollard make up the Class of the 2005 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinees.
The four-man class was elected by the Hall of Fame’s 39-member Selection Committee who met Saturday morning in Jacksonville, Florida. The newest members of the Hall were selected from a list of 15 finalists that had been determined earlier by the committee.
I like Fritz Pollard, but him being the first African American NFL head coach isn't as big a deal as it seems. When the NFL started, there were a fair number of African American players (I don't know the numbers exactly). And coaching from the sidelines was prohibited. So basically, Pollard was the smartest and most-respected player on his team. It wasn't until 1934 that African Americans were banned from football. That basically continued up to 1949. To put it in perspective, after 1934, the first African American head coach was Art Shell, who coached the Raiders in 1989. IMO, Shell is much more important than Pollard, from a groundbreaking perspective.
Not to take anything away from Pollard.
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