The Pro Football Hall of Fame (HOF) was established in 1963 in the city of the sport’s birth, Canton, Ohio. Players are voted into the Hall of Fame by a 44-person selection committee mostly consisting mostly of sportswriters.

While team executives and owners can be voted into the HOF at any time, players and coaches must be retired for at least five years. The committee decides on a new class every year the day before the Super Bowl by a specific voting process:

  • At least 80 percent support from the board
  • At least four candidates are chosen with a maximum of seven.
  • If fewer than four candidates get 80 percent of the vote, then the top four vote-getters will get in that year.
  • If more than seven get 80 percent, then only the top seven vote-getters will be inducted.

Once selected, the actual induction ceremony takes place in August right before the season starts. Football is different than other major sports in that when a player goes into the HOF, they go in equally with all accomplishments listed. Baseball, for example, allows the inductee to don a specific team hat.