I’ve had the opportunity to work with some pretty high-level athletic programs. And, one of the things I noticed all the time was that when you had athletes from all over the country, the topic of whose home state, city, high school conference etc had the best players.
Well, I thought it’d be fun to settle this debate once and for all. (Or perhaps just pour more gasoline on the fire)
I made a list of all the current NFL Hall of Famers, including the 2023 class, and jotted down where each guy was from. Then, I simply tallied up the numbers and I have to be honest, I was pretty surprised by some of the results.
Let’s jump right in with the state that has the most current NFL Hall of Famers – Pennsylvania.
1. Pennsylvania (40)
Growing up in Ohio, I knew Pennsylvania had very good (if not underrated) high school football. However, I would not have guessed that Pennsylvania has more current Hall of Famers than any other state.
(For what it’s worth, I guessed the state that ended up second. Program the same one you guessed too.)
Not to mention, 40 is an incredible number. To put that in perspective, there are currently 379 members of the NFL Hall of Fame. That means Pennsylvania has over 10% of the entire Hall!
Notable Pennsylvania Hall of Famers
- Joe Montana
- Dan Marino
- Fred Biletnikoff
- Jim Kelly
- Mike Ditka
2. Texas (37)
It’s well-known how much Texas loves its football. There are high school stadiums in Texas that rival many mid-level D1 college programs.
Add in the fact that Texas is one of the most populous states in the country and my money was definitely on Texas to be the state that the most Hall of Fame players call home.
37 is still an incredible amount of players and a good amount more than the next highest state.
Notable Texas Hall of Famers
- LaDainian Tomlinson
- Michael Strahan
- Eric Dickerson
- Tom Landry
- Earl Campbell
3. Ohio (28)
I knew my home state of Ohio had a good shot of being up toward the top of the list, but I didn’t think we’d be quite this high.
I guess it’s fitting, considering Ohio is home to the NFL Hall of Fame (even more so when you consider Canton sits very close to the Pennsylvania border).
Ohio is considered the ‘Cradle of Coaches’ and that seems to be pretty legit considering the amount of Ohio coaches in the Hall.
Notable Ohio Hall of Famers
- Don Shula
- Paul Brown
- Charles Woodson
- Larry Csonka
- Roger Staubach
4. California (26)
If for nothing else then because of its size, I always assume California will be in the top 3 of lists like this.
Not quite top 3, but California with 26 comes in just two behind Ohio for that third spot.
Notable California Hall of Famers
- Troy Polamalu
- Tony Gonzalez
- Troy Aikman
- Warren Moon
- Bill Walsh
5. Illinois (22)
Illinois was another surprise Midwest state for me. You don’t hear Illinois talked about often as being a football powerhouse, but here we are.
Chicago, perhaps more than any other individual city in the country, is VERY well-represented.
Notable Illinois Hall of Famers
- John Lynch
- Steve Atwater
- Shannon Sharpe
- Dick Butkus
- Ray Nitschke
There are a total of 38 states that have at least one player representing them in the NFL Hall of Fame. Here is a list of the rest of the states, in order, starting with the state with the 6th most players, Alabama.
|Rank||State||Number of Players|
*For our Denver readers, Colorado’s lone Hall of Famer is Dutch Clark from Fowler, Colorado who was inducted in 1963. Dutch Clark, perhaps better known as the “Flying Dutchman” was a force back in the ’30s. Among numerous awards and accolades, he was named the best player in the league in 1935 and 1936.
So, it’s settled, right?
Pennsylvania is officially home to the best football in the country.
Tell us what you think in the comments below!