The long wait to be immortalized is over for the legendary former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. He was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. DeBartolo will be inducted in August prior to the annual Hall of Fame preseason matchup.
In September, DeBartolo was selected as the sole candidate for the class of 2016 in the contributor category, which honors individuals who made outstanding contributions to professional football in capacities other than playing or coaching.
Source: Former #49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.— Mindi Bach (@MBachCSN) February 7, 2016
"I don't want to get crazy about this, but those men in that Hall of Fame are immortals. They'll be there forever in Canton, Ohio. It would be the culmination of everything that's good and everything that happened over my lifetime as an owner," said DeBartolo during a January conference call.
DeBartolo's success as the owner of the 49ers is unmatched. After purchasing the team in 1977, he helped the team to five Super Bowl championships and 16 consecutive seasons of 10 or more wins during his 23 years as owner. The five championships the 49ers won in 14 years remains a record total for a single owner.
DeBartolo was beloved by his players, who he treated like royalty as he spared no expense putting together championship teams.
In 1988, after became embroiled in a Louisiana gaming scandal, DeBartolo was barred from active control of the 49ers for one year. Following the ban, he decided to give control of the franchise to his sister, Marie York, in return for other parts of the family business. This situation was viewed as a major reason for DeBartolo's past exclusion from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Many former players and coaches have publicly pleaded for the Bay Area icon's inclusion into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including 49ers greats such as Joe Montana, Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Eric Davis, and Steve Mariucci.
The 49ers recently announced plans to unveil The Edward J. DeBartolo Jr. Super Bowl Gallery at the team's Levi's Stadium museum, honoring the former owner.
Eddie DeBartolo reiterates that his eldest daughter, Lisa, will present him at the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony.— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoCSN) February 7, 2016
Eddie D. on being voted in in San Francisco: "I don't know if anyone could ever write a better script." #49ers— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) February 7, 2016