Item: Following up on our August article spotlighting Marvin Harrison’s enshrinement as the eighth member of the Syracuse University athletic family to be feted as a Pro Football Hall of Famer in Canton, Ohio, there is no doubt that one day in the future, likely during the early 2020s, Syracuse will see its ninth member elected, a feat accomplished by only three other schools, Notre Dame (13), USC (12), and Ohio State (10). As to whom that next Orange enshrine will be is an interesting question, will it be a player or a coach?
There were three ex-Syracuse players on the list of 94 former players and coaches to be considered by the members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee to eventually vote to make up the class of 2017, including Donovan McNabb in his first year eligibility. Joining McNabb were previous nominees Daryl Johnston and Gary Anderson, and all three figure to stay among those being considered for Hall enshrinement for the next several years, but with other recently retired Hall worthy players expanding that list each season, it’s anyone’s guess as to when, or really if, any of those three players will one day receive a gold jacket.
Other one-time Orange players that may also one day receive Hall consideration are current Atlanta Falcon defensive end Dwight Freeney now in his 15th pro season, and as a Senior Committee Finalist offensive guard Walt Sweeney, who was an All Star or Pro Bowl selection for the San Diego Chargers for nine consecutive seasons from 1964-1972.
One way or another, the almost-lock future selection representing Syracuse University is recently-retired New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin, a two-time Super Bowl champion and successful building-block architect of the 1995 expansion Jacksonville Jaguars for eight seasons.
Spotlighted before last Saturday’s Syracuse-Notre Dame game at MetLfe Stadium with the coin toss honors, the proud SU alum had an opportunity to see many familiar faces, some dating back to his own days on The Hill (1965-67, graduate assistant 1969).
“There’s no question about the legacy (of Syracuse football),” Coughlin crowed as he informally met with the media before kickoff. “I was most fortunate to be a part of that with Ben Schwartzwalder as head coach, and Floyd (Little) being involved, and Larry Csonka (two of the eight ‘Cuse Pro Football HOF members). Those were exciting and fun filled years.”
Having retired following the 2015 season, Coughlin is not eligible for Hall consideration until 2020, but with multiple Super Bowl titles and his work in Jacksonville, he seems to be a shoo-in. As comparison, there are 11 coaching finalists for this year’s class including Don Coryell, a finalist last year, and five coaches who also won Super Bowls, including Jimmy Johnson who like Coughlin also won two championships.
Asked his thoughts on one day joining the other Syracuse greats in Canton, Coughlin stayed true to his longtime coaching form.
“We’ll see how that goes,” he said chuckling.