SAN FRANCISCO — Brett Favre’s yearlong post-career coronation was capped Saturday night, when the former Packers quarterback was placed atop an eight-person Pro Football Hall of Fame class.
Perhaps the class’ biggest surprise, though, had a decided Chicago flavor. The Senior Committee picked the late Dick Stanfel, who coached the Bears’ offensive line from 1981-92.
He was selected for his accomplishments as a player; Stanfel played guard for the Lions from 1952-55 and Redskins from 1956-58.
He was born in San Francisco and died in June in Libertyville at 87.
After retiring from playing at 31, he coached at Cal and Notre Dame before joining the Eagles, 49ers, Saints and finally the Bears.
He built one of the game’s great offensive lines. The Bears led the league in rushing for an NFL-record four-straight years, starting in 1983 and including the 1985 Super Bowl winning season.
“In Chicago, with success, it breeds notoriety,” said his son, Rich, who lives in Deerfield and represented his family at the NFL Honors at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.
“Dad was a pretty modest guy. He never talked about himself. Never said a word about himself. He waited for others.”
He was nominated by the Senior Committee twice before, most recently in 2012. Rich joked that, when he didn’t make it last time, his dad simply asked what was for dinner.
“Coach (Mike) Ditka had a lot of respect for him,” said Rich Stanfel, one of three sons who all live in the northern suburbs. “I think dad demanded perfection out of his players, similar to what he did when he played.”
Tackle Orlando Pace, who played the final season of his career with the Bears in 2009, was named to the Hall. So was wide receiver Marvin Harrison and coach Tony Dungy, who combined to the Bears in the Super Bowl nine years ago.
Pass-rusher Kevin Greene, whose 160 sacks were third-most at the time of his retirement, was the only defensive players selected.
The class had a local feel with 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo, Jr., and the late Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler receiving at least 80 percent of a daylong vote.
Packers fans filled Lambeau Field in July when Favre was placed in the franchise’s hall of fame and had his number retired. He returned to the stadium on Thanksgiving against the Bears, and watched as his name was placed in the team’s ring of honor at halftime.
“I’m well aware of my career and what I’ve done,” he said. “But I’ve never, I don’t know how to put this, I’ve accepted it for what it is.”
Favre is still in awe of the Cowboys he grew up admiring, from Roger Staubach to Ed “Too Tall” Jones, and said it felt strange to be in their club.
“I’m extremely thankful that I’m part of the group,” he said. “But I don’t necessarily feel like part of the group. And I mean that with the utmost respect.”
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