The National Football Foundation's 2021 induction class for the College Football Hall of Fame was announced on Monday -- and it included some names that should be very familiar to Iowa fans: Andre Tippett and Bob Stoops. The CFB Hall of Fame is about to get a little bit more black and gold, which is always good news.
Tippett was voted in for his playing accomplishments at Iowa, where he was a dynamite defensive end for the Hawkeyes in the early '80s. Tippett was a two-time All-Big Ten first team performer (1980, 1981) and a consensus All-American in 1981. Tippett holds the school record for tackles for loss (20 TFL for 153 yards (!) in 1980) and was the lynchpin of one of Iowa's best-ever defenses, the 1981 unit that allowed just 129 points (10.8 ppg) and 265 yards per game. Defense was the calling card for that team as they won Iowa's first Big Ten title in two decades and made Iowa's first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1959.
Thank you all, this is amazing.. Go Hawks!!! https://t.co/STwEmRvwQe— Andre Tippett (@AndreTippett) January 11, 2021
As good as Tippett was as a collegian, he was probably even better as a pro; during his 12-year tenure with the New England Patriots, he was a five-time Pro Bowler, a two-time NFL All-Pro first team selection, a two-time NFL All-Pro second team selection, the 1985 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and a member of the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 1980s. He was so good he's actually already a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, having been inducted into Canton back in 2009.
Unlike Tippett, Stoops was not elected to the CFB Hall of Fame as a result of his playing days. Stoops was a teammate of Tippett, a key member of those early '80s Iowa teams, and a very good player in his own right, but he's a Hall of Famer for his efforts as a head coach, not a player. Stoops, of course, was famously rumored for the Iowa job back in 1999, but went to Oklahoma instead -- a decision which turned out pretty well for him. Stoops went 190-48 in 18 seasons with the Sooners, winning multiple Coach of the Year awards. He won 10 Big 12 titles with Oklahoma and made it to four national championship games, winning one (over Florida State in 2000). So, yes, Stoops is going into the Hall on the basis of what he did as a Sooner -- but Bob Stoops has always bled black and gold, so we're happy to claim another College Football Hall of Famer with Iowa ties.
The induction of Tippett and Stoops gives Iowa 17 individuals in the CFB HoF with Hawkeye ties. There are five coaches: Howard Jones, Slip Madigan, Eddie Anderson, Forest Evashevski, and Hayden Fry. And nine players: Nile Kinnick, Duke Slater, Gordon Locke, Aubrey Devine, Calvin Jones, Alex Karras, Randy Duncan, Chuck Long, and Larry Station. Stoops will join Earl Banks as a former Iowa player who made it into the Hall of Fame for his coaching contributions away from Iowa; Banks, a player at Iowa from 1946-49, for his efforts as the head coach of Morgan State from 1960-1973.
Tippett's inclusion in the College Football Hall of Fame ranks also carries with it another exciting distinction: it means that there's going to be a new name on the Kinnick Stadium Wall of Honor for the first time since it was established in 2013. In order to be eligible for a place on the Wall of Honor, an individual must meet one of three criteria:
- Member of both the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame and the Helms Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame
- Member of one of the two Hall of Fames listed above and be a consensus All-American
- Two-time consensus All-American
Those are, obviously, some very stiff criteria to meet -- especially since the first option is effectively impossible to achieve now, given that the Helms Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame is no longer active. Tippet qualifies for a Wall of Honor spot by virtue of the second criteria: he was already a consensus All-American and now he's a member of the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame.
The addition of Tippett will give Iowa an even 10 players on the Wall of Honor. He'll join Iowa legends Aubrey Devine, Gordon Locke, Duke Slater, Nile Kinnick, Calvin Jones, Randy Duncan, Alex Karras, Chuck Long, and Larry Station and be immortalized with his placement on the Wall of Honor.
We offer a hearty congratulations to Tippett and Stoops for achieving one of the highest honors available to college football players and coaches -- a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame. They had tremendous careers and their placement in the HOF is richly deserved. As Iowa fans, we're forever indebted to their efforts to rebuild the Iowa program in the early '80s; they achieved success that had been unheard of at Iowa for over 20 years -- and laid the groundwork for even greater success from future Hayden Fry and Kirk Ferentz teams. Thanks for the memories, guys, and welcome to the Hall of Fame.