Advancing 'Eddie D' toward Hall of Fame

The San Francisco 49ers cannot reasonably complain about the past year, all things considered.

They posted a 13-3 record, won the NFC West, claimed a playoff victory and secured funding for a new stadium. As much as they would have relished watching former owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. win enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, there was no shame in "Eddie D" reaching the round of 15 finalists for the first time.

Having NFL Films on DeBartolo's side can only help his chances in the future.

Jed York, 49ers CEO and nephew to DeBartolo, revealed plans for an NFL Films special on DeBartolo, set to run during the 2012 season.

"A Football Life" will feature former players and coaches reflecting on the role DeBartolo played in building and maintaining the 49ers' five championship teams spread across the 1980s and 1990s. The retrospective will also surely focus on the personal touches that endeared DeBartolo to players and others in the 49ers organization.

DeBartolo's 2000 departure from the 49ers following a one-year NFL suspension damaged his reputation. The passage of time has helped. The 49ers' recent successes under York, who frequently taps his uncle for advice, also should work in DeBartolo's favor.

An assist from NFL Films will return even more of the focus to DeBartolo's accomplishments. We should expect a favorable portrayal heavy on testimonials from former players, with additional details on the lengths DeBartolo would go to show his concern -- as the case was when he helped care for Freddie Solomon during the former receiver's final days.

Earlier: Ira Miller, who helped present DeBartolo's case to Hall selectors, including me, expanded upon DeBartolo's credentials and issues related to considering team owners.