The American Football League stopped playing more than a half-century ago but today one of its All-Time Team members finally received well-deserved recognition. Art Powell, who played for three AFL teams in the 1960s before the NFL-AFL merger was finalized, was named earlier today as one of three Senior alumni finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2024 Class.
Powell was joined by the Broncos outstanding linebacker Randy Gradishar and Bears Super Bowl Champion defensive tackle Steve McMichael as the three alumni who now will receive final consideration by the 50-member Selection Committee prior to the Super Bowl early next year.
In 2022, the Hall’s Board of Trustees approved a change in the selection process so outstanding veterans such as Powell, who played in a different era, could be considered one more time for the Hall.
Powell was a four-time AFL All Star (1963-66) and twice led the young league in most receiving yards and receiving TDs. He played for the New York Titans (1960-62), Oakland Raiders (1963-66) and Buffalo Bills (1967). He died in 2015 at age 78.
Gradishar, the 1978 AP Defensive Player of the Year, never missed a game in his 10 seasons (1974-83) with the Broncos. He twice was named All-Pro first team and was selected to two Pro Bowls.
McMichael, a member of the Bears winning Super Bowl XX team in 1985, played 227 games over 15 seasons (1980-94) and never missed a game due to injury. He twice was voted to represent the NFC in the Pro Bowl.
The other Senior candidates who were considered this week but did not receive sufficient votes for the Hall THIS TIME are: Ken Anderson, Maxie Baughan, Roger Craig, Joe Jacoby, Albert Lewis, Eddie Meador, Sterling Sharpe, Otis Taylor, and Al Wistert.
We at NFL Alumni appreciate all that these 12 players did to help make pro football the fans’ favorite sport.