Dick Vermeil’s long journey to Canton might be winding to a halt as the former-Rams coach is now a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Vermeil has been chosen as the coach finalist, the Hall of Fame announced today. His candidacy will be voted on the day before the Super Bowl, along with a contributor finalist who will be named next week and 15 player finalists who will be named sometime in January.
There’s plenty of time before the HOF committee makes their selection, but Vermeil’s qualifications are unquestioned. Former Kansas City Chiefs President and GM Carl Pederson who was hired by Vermeil in 1976 while he was the head coach of the Eagles, has urged voters in the past to consider him.
“I think that Dick has checked every box that any deserving NFL head coach should check before they were selected as a Pro Football Hall-of-Fame coach,” he said via FanNation. “The man has an unbelievable capacity to (rebuild) destroyed, down-in-the-mouth franchises.”
When Vermeil by Philadelphia, the team was in the midst of nine consecutive losing seasons and hadn’t made the playoffs in 15 years. In three seasons under Vermeil, they reached the playoffs and by his fifth year, they reached Super Bowl XV, losing to the Raiders.
After abruptly retiring in 1982, Vermeil returned to the sidelines in 1997 with the St. Louis Rams. At the time, the Rams hadn’t had a winning season in seven years and won Super Bowl XXXIV in Vermeil’s third year there. Vermeil was named AP NFL Coach of the Year that season for his efforts. Following the championship run, he retired a second time but came back one year last to coach the Chiefs for five additional seasons before retiring for good in 2005.
Vermeil released a statement to the HOF in response to the news saying, “I am overwhelmed. I’m not sure I belong there”. Coach, after all you’ve accomplished in your career, no one is more deserving than you. Rams nation will be forever grateful for your efforts.