Legendary Chicago Bears defensive tackle Steve "Mongo" McMichael has been named as one of three finalists in the Senior category for the 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame, officials said Wednesday.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame released a statement Wednesday confirming McMichaels' had secured a Senior finalist spot, in addition to Oakland Raiders wide receiver Art Powell and Denver Broncos middle linebacker Randy Gradishar.
“Every one of the individual presentations for the 12 candidates by the members of the Seniors Committee participating Tuesday was outstanding, truly creating the possibility that each one could have reached the position of Finalist,” Jim Porter, president of the Hall said in the statement. “I applaud the committee for the thorough discussion and consideration for all 12. The depth of the Seniors pool came on full display once again.”
According to McMichael's wife Misty, McMichael received "the call" Tuesday, but the family was "sworn to secrecy" until Wednesday. A spokesperson for the former Bear's family said a "Team Mongo" petition and letter writing campaign to the Hall of Fame was launched in 2022 to advocate for the fan favorite to be inducted.
Earlier this month, McMichael, 65, who suffers from ALS, was admitted to the ICU unconscious with sepsis and put on two IV antibiotics. He was later diagnosed with pneumonia, the spokesperson confirmed.
"He needs to see himself enshrined in the Hall of Fame," his wife Misty said in a statement at the time of the hospitalization. "Please pray for him to get through this."
According to the spokesperson, McMichael's three-year battle with ALS has continued to worsen. "The beloved Super Bowl XX Champion is battling ALS which has progressed to the point of leaving McMichael paralyzed from the neck down, unable to speak, breathe or eat on his own," a release ahead of Wednesday's announcement said. "The hope of being inducted into the Hall of Fame has sustained Steve throughout his three year fight against the debilitating and cruel disease," the release added.
Are any other Chicago Bears in the running for the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
After Devin Hester missed out on his chance to enter the Hall of Fame this year, star defensive tackle Steve McMichael and longtime owner Virginia McCaskey were both named as semifinalists to be inducted next year as part of the senior, coach/contributor categories.
McMichael, known to many as Mongo, was selected as one of 12 Senior semifinalists.
The other senior semifinalists were Ken Anderson, Maxie Baughan, Roger Craig, Randy Gradishar, Joe Jacoby, Albert Lewis, Eddie Meador, Art Powell, Sterling Sharpe, Otis Taylor and Al Wistert.
McMichael played 13 of his 15 seasons for the Bears and was a key cog in the 1985 Super Bowl champion defense. He was a two-time First-Team All-Pro, two-time Second-Team All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowler. McMichael led the defense with 11.5 sacks in 1988, beating out both Richard Dent and Dan Hampton. His 92.5 career sacks with the Bears rank second in franchise history, behind only Dent’s 124.5 sacks.
McCaskey was named among 29 initial semifinalists in the Coach/Contributor category, but the team added that she was not selected to move on in the process.
McCaskey is often considered the matriarch of the NFL, as the daughter of George Halas who founded both the Bears and the league over 100 years ago. When Halas died in 1983, McCaskey became the principal owner of the team. She is the longest tenured owner in the league, yet she’s left the responsibilities of running the team to her family. Regardless of her hands-off approach, Virginia remains the face of the Halas-McCaskey family, and is venerated as an owner of the NFL’s charter franchise. She turned 100 years old earlier this year.
The senior and coach/contributor committees for the Hall of Fame were put in place to ensure players whose careers ended at least 25 years ago, coaches who have been out of the game for at least five years, and others who have left an impact on the game continue to be considered for Canton. Just like the modern-era ballots, the list of semi-finalists will be reduced to a list of finalists. Those finalists then must receive at least 80% of a vote to be elected.