Tingelhoff was one of the ironmen of the Vikings, playing 240 games in 17 seasons from 1962-78 – never missing a game along the way and starting in all four of the Vikings’ Super Bowl appearances. For seven straight years, he was named the center on the first-team All-Pro and was named to six straight Pro Bowls.
Tingelhoff ran out of modern-era eligibility several years ago and was nominated this year by the Seniors Committee. Historically, the voters tend to take the recommendation of the Seniors Committee seriously, which will likely be Tingelhoff’s best chance to make it to the Hall of Fame.
However, just as Major League Baseball had four strong candidates named to its Hall of Fame this week, Tingelhoff will be facing some stiff competition for the voters to decide on.
The 15 modern-era finalists include first-year eligible players Orlando Pace, Junior Seau and Kurt Warner. The other 12 finalists include kicker Morten Anderson (who spent his final season with the Vikings), RB Jerome Bettis, WR Tim Brown, coach Don Coryell, RB Terrell Davis, former Vikings defensive coordinator and Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy, LB Kevin Greene, DE Charles Haley, WR Marvin Harrison, coach Jimmy Johnson, safety John Lynch and guard Will Shields.
This will be the first year that Tingelhoff has been a finalist for the Hall of Fame – 32 years after he first became eligible. For those who have championed his cause given his body of work and professional accolades, there is hope that his long wait will end when the Hall of Famer voters convene in Phoenix Jan. 31 to select the Class of 2015. For those who remember Tingelhoff in his playing days, there’s no doubt in most of their minds that he belongs in the Hall.