Drew Pearson is one step closer to finally receiving the honor he has long coveted.
Pearson, the legendary Dallas Cowboys receiver, was selected Tuesday as the Senior Finalist of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2021 — a designation that creates a clear path for his induction into Canton.
The news was positively received from an emotional Pearson on Tuesday, especially after he was heartbroken to learn he missed out on the Hall’s 2020 class earlier this year.
“Thank you for the call. You made my day, and you made my life,” Pearson told Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker on Tuesday. “How can I thank you? I’m crying, and I haven’t cried in a long time. Happy tears. I’ve been waiting for this call for so long.”
The 69-year-old Pearson was devastated back in January when the Hall of Fame call never came.
“This hurts. They broke my heart,” Pearson said.
Drew Pearson is understandably emotional and frustrated.— Jonah Javad (@JonahJavad) January 15, 2020
The Super Bowl Champ & member of the 1970s All-Decade Team has once again been passed over for the Hall of Fame.#DallasCowboys | @wfaa | #PFHOF20 pic.twitter.com/DjQ9ng5ZM3
Now, Pearson is in a tremendous position to be inducted into Canton via the Hall of Fame’s Senior Committee, which considers players whose careers ended at least 25 years ago. The group of eligible senior candidates was whittled down to a list of 12 before Pearson emerged from the pack.
To be formally elected to the Hall, Pearson must receive 80 percent of the votes from the 48-member selection committee, which is slated to meet on Feb. 6, 2021, the day before Super Bowl LV, in Tampa, Florida. Formal enshrinement is slated for Aug. 8, 2021 in Canton, Ohio.
Pearson will be one of 18 finalists considered. As the lone senior nominee, Pearson is considered a shoo-in for induction. Should it come to fruition, the Hall of Fame nod will be well-earned, too.
Pearson was a three-time All-Pro selection and a member of the NFL’s 1970s All-Decade Team during his time with the Cowboys. Over 11 seasons, he caught 489 passes for 7,822 yards and 48 touchdowns. Pearson thrived on the biggest stages, accumulating 68 receptions and eight touchdowns over 22 playoff games. When the Cowboys won Super Bowl XII in 1977, Pearson led the NFL with 870 receiving yards.
Tom Flores also named Hall finalist
Tom Flores, who coached the Raiders to two Super Bowl victories, was also named a Hall of Fame finalist on Tuesday via the HOF’s Coach Committee.
Flores, after a nine-year NFL playing career as a quarterback, transitioned into coaching in 1971 as the quarterbacks coach for the Buffalo Bills. A year later he returned to Oakland — where he spent the bulk of his playing career — to serve as the Raiders’ wide receivers coach. After seven years in that role, he was promoted to head coach in 1979 after John Madden retired.
In doing so, Flores became the first Hispanic head coach in NFL history. Flores would go on to coach the Raiders to two Super Bowls — one in 1980 and another in 1983. He coached the Raiders until 1987 and later had a three-year stint leading the Seattle Seahawks.
Flores, now 83 years old, has a 97-87 overall record as an NFL head coach. He was chosen out of six final candidates for the 2021 coach finalist.
Like with Pearson, Flores must receive 80 percent of the vote from the Hall of Fame selection committee to be inducted into Canton.
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