On Saturday, the 2012 class of inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame will be announced. Just one day before Super Bowl XLVI, Hall of Fame Saturday is the advance notice of which Hall of Fame ballot finalists will be enshrined in the Hall in August. This year's class includes a few candidates with ties to the San Francisco 49ers.
Eddie DeBartolo is a finalist for the first time. As owner of the Niners for 23 years, he oversaw the true glory days of the organization. The man behind the whole show for all five of San Francisco's Super Bowl titles will likely not even be watching the Hall of Fame announcement on Saturday, according to Eric Branch at SFGate.
I have a flag-football game with my eldest grandson, my 8-year-old. I hope that it will be over. I’m obviously very humbled that we have gotten to this point. I don’t know what’s going to transpire Saturday. I have no high expectations, but because of my career in San Francisco and my players, my coaches, my fans, I’m just thrilled beyond belief. Just to be among that 15.
Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated notes that DeBartolo's appearance on the ballot will also serve as a sort of test run or measuring stick for the Hall of Fame "worthiness" of modern-era team owners.
Also among the finalists is defensive end and linebacker Charles Haley, who played with the 49ers from 1986-1991 and finished his career up back in San Francisco in 1999. Between his time with the Niners and the Dallas Cowboys, he remains the only player to be a part of five winning Super Bowl teams. He led the 49ers in sacks six times, was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and a five-time Pro Bowl selection.
Saturday may be a good day for Bay Area football history, as several players with San Francisco and Oakland ties have a chance at being part of the Hall of Fame class. We will have to wait and see.