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Mike Holmgren, four other Packers named finalists for Canton's 'Centennial Slate'

Hall of Fame’s Blue-Ribbon Panel will select 15 inductees in January

Mike Holmgren
Mike Holmgren

GREEN BAY – Five individuals with Packers connections, including former head coach Mike Holmgren, are among the 20 players, 10 contributors and eight coaches who have been chosen as finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 2020 "Centennial Slate."

In addition to Holmgren, former Packers back/punter Verne Lewellen, end LaVern Dilweg, back Cecil Isbell and safety Bobby Dillon were selected in the category of senior candidates.

Those five names will be among those deliberated by the Blue-Ribbon Panel in January from which 10 seniors, three contributors and two coaches will be elected to the Hall of Fame as part of its Class of 2020.

Holmgren (1992-98) led the Packers to their first Super Bowl title in 29 years; compiled a .670 winning percentage in the regular season, a figure topped only by Vince Lombardi in team history; and finished on the plus side of .500 every year, something the Packers had done only four times over their previous 24 seasons.

Isbell (1938-42) became the first player in NFL history to surpass 2,000 yards passing in a single season during his final year. His 2,021 yards were almost 500 more than Sammy Baugh had ever thrown for at that point. Isbell also owned the NFL record for most touchdown passes in a career with 59. Baugh was second with 56 even though he had played one more season.

Isbell's 24 touchdown passes in a season also set a league record – Baugh ranked second with 16 – as did his 23-game streak of throwing at least one TD pass. That streak stood as the league record until 1958, when Johnny Unitas broke it. It stood as the Packers' record until Brett Favre surpassed it in 2003.

Lewellen (1924-27, '28-32), in addition to his strengths as a punter, scored more touchdowns than anyone else in the NFL in his time and was the second-leading scorer with 307 points. In fact, Lewellen's league record 50 TDs wasn't broken until Don Hutson surpassed him in 1941 and it remained the second highest total for 16 years after his retirement.

Dilweg (1927-34) was widely hailed as the NFL's best two-way end in the pre- Hutson era. He was the epitome of consistency on Packers teams that won three straight league titles from 1929 to 1931. Dilweg played eight seasons in Green Bay and was a consensus all-pro five straight years, from 1927 to 1931. In two of his other three seasons, he was chosen to at least one all-pro second team.

Dillon (1952-59) led the Packers in interceptions in seven of his eight seasons and three times intercepted nine passes in what were then 12-game seasons. When Dillon retired with 52 interceptions, only future Pro Football Hall of Famer Emlen Tunnell, who had played four more seasons at that point, had more. Tunnell finished with 79 interceptions.

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