The Class of 2016 will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame during a spectacular ceremony held in Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 6, 7 p.m.
The class includes Ed Debartolo Jr., Tony Dungy, Kevin Greene, Brett Favre, Marvin Harrison, Ken Stabler, Orlando Pace and Dick Stanfel.
This is the first installment in a series highlighting the Class of 2016.
Ed DeBartolo Jr.
Ed DeBartolo Jr. purchased the San Francisco 49ers in 1977 with a vision to create a top-notch organization, on and off the field. He succeeded in his goal as he led the franchise to unprecedented winning during the time of his tenure as the team's Chief Executive Officer.
The transformation was not instant as the 49ers suffered back-to-back 2-14 seasons to close out the decade. In 1979, he hired 47-year-old Bill Walsh as the team's head coach, drafted a quarterback from his alma mater Notre Dame by the name of Joe Montana, and created an atmosphere conducive to winning. The fortunes of the franchise changed soon thereafter.
By 1981, the 49ers finished 13-3 to claim the NFC Western Division title and then won hard fought playoff battles with the New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys and capped the year with a thrilling 26-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI. The season marked just the beginning for a team that would soon completely dominate the decade and continue their winning ways throughout DeBartolo's term as CEO.
DeBartolo, who had a reputation as a "players' owner" created a first-class atmosphere and infused the roster with talent that resulted in San Francisco enjoying an amazing string of winning seasons. The team averaged an astounding 13 wins per season, including playoffs, during a span from 1981 to 1998 (not including the strike-shortened 1982 season).
The 49ers during DeBartolo's reign claimed 13 division titles, made 16 playoff appearances, advanced to the NFC championship game 10 times, and became the first franchise ever to win five Super Bowls.
The other DeBartolo-led 49ers teams that won Super Bowl rings came during the 1984, 1988, 1989, and 1994 seasons. San Francisco defeated Miami in Super Bowl XIX, the Bengals again in Super Bowl XXIII followed by lopsided wins over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV and the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX.
The franchise posted the best winning percentage in the NFL in both the decades of the 1980s and 1990s. DeBartolo was named the NFL Man of the Year by the Football News in 1989 as recognition as the nation's top sports executives.
Aside from his role with the team, DeBartolo was highly respected inside NFL circles and served on the league's realignment and expansion committees.
Tony Dungy, a former NFL defensive back, advanced through the coaching ranks following his playing career. He earned his first head coaching position in 1996 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and over the next 13 seasons, that included seven years with the Indianapolis Colts, he racked up 148 total victories.
Dungy's career in coaching began in 1980 with the University of Minnesota before jumping back to the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1981 where he rose to become the team's defensive coordinator.
Dungy also coached three years for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1989 to 1991 and then was named the defensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings from 1992 to 1995.
Dungy took over a Buccaneers team in 1996 that had suffered 12 double-digit loss seasons in the previous 13 years before his arrival.
The fortunes of the franchise quickly changed under his leadership. By his second season, the team finished 10-6 and earned a playoff berth.
Two seasons later, in 1999, the Bucs posted an 11-5 record and clinched the franchise's first divisional title since 1981.
After six seasons in Tampa Bay, that included four trips to the playoffs, Dungy was relieved of his duties.
Eight days after his dismissal by the Bucs, Dungy was hired by Indianapolis. Under his guidance, the Colts enjoyed success never experienced in the franchise's history.
During Dungy's seven-year reign as Indy's head coach, the Colts posted 12 or more wins in all of those seasons except his first when they finished 10-6. The team claimed five divisional titles and advanced to the playoffs every year of Dungy's tenure as coach.
In 2006, Dungy guided the Colts to an AFC South Division title and capped the season with a thrilling 38-34 win over their arch rival New England Patriots in the AFC championship game and a victory over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI. Dungy became the first African American head coach ever to win a Super Bowl.
Dungy's overall record as a NFL head coach was 148-79-0 and that includes a .668 winning percentage in the regular season (139-69-0).