The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced on Tuesday its list of 25 modern era semifinalists for induction in the Class of 2016. There are three first-year eligible candidates: former Falcons, Packers, Jets and Vikings quarterback Brett Favre; former Steelers, Jets and Cardinals guard Alan Faneca; and former 49ers, Eagles, Cowboys, Bills and Bengals wide receiver Terrell Owens.
The 22 returning semifinalists are as follows, per the Hall of Fame’s press release:
Morten Andersen, K – 1982-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-2000 and 2006-07 Atlanta Falcons, 2001 New York Giants, 2002-03 Kansas City Chiefs, 2004 Minnesota Vikings (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2013-16)
Steve Atwater, S – 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2012-16)
Tony Boselli, T – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve) (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2016)
Isaac Bruce, WR – 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2015-16)
Don Coryell, Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2005, 2010-16)
Roger Craig, RB – 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2009-16)
Terrell Davis, RB – 1995-2001 Denver Broncos (Times as a Semifinalist: 10 – 2007-2016)
Tony Dungy, Coach – 1996-2001 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2002-08 Indianapolis Colts (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2014-16)
Kevin Greene, LB/DE – 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996 and 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers (Times as a Semifinalist: 10 – 2007-2016)
Marvin Harrison, WR – 1996-2008 Indianapolis Colts (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2014-16)
Torry Holt, WR – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2015-16)
Joe Jacoby, T –1981-1993 Washington Redskins (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2005, 2008, 2013-16)
Edgerrin James, RB – 1999-2005 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals, 2009 Seattle Seahawks (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2015-16)
Jimmy Johnson, Coach – 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2014-16)
Mike Kenn, T – 1978-1994 Atlanta Falcons (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2015-16)
Ty Law, CB – 1995-2004 New England Patriots, 2005 and 2008 New York Jets, 2006-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009 Denver Broncos (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2015-16)
John Lynch, FS – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2013-16)
Kevin Mawae, C/G – 1994-97 Seattle Seahawks, 1998-2005 New York Jets, 2006-09 Tennessee Titans (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2015-16)
Karl Mecklenburg, LB – 1983-1994 Denver Broncos (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2012-16)
Sam Mills, LB – 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2016)
Orlando Pace, T – 1997-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Chicago Bears (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2015-16)
Kurt Warner, QB – 1998-2003 St. Louis Rams, 2004 New York Giants, 2005-09 Arizona Cardinals (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2015-16)
Let’s throw it out there: That’s a really impressive list of candidates. It’s offense-heavy, of course. Of the 22 player nominees, 15 of them played offense, six played defense, and one is kicker Morten Andersen. Two of the three nominated coaches (Tony Dungy and Jimmy Johnson) were considered defensive coaches, though, which is mildly interesting in an anecdotal sense. The third coach is Don Coryell, who is of course the creator of the Air Coryell offense, which is still run in some variation by a number of NFL teams.
Tthe wide receiver group alone is ridiculous: TO, Isaac Bruce, Marvin Harrison, and Torry Holt? Sheesh. The contrast between the two eligible QBs is incredibly interesting: Favre is best known for his incredible longevity, while Warner essentially had two different three-year runs of excellence that propelled him onto the list.
There are six offensive linemen (Tony Boselli, Faneca, Joe Jacoby, Mike Kenn, Kevin Mawae and Orlando Pace), three running backs (Roger Craig, Terrell Davis and Edgerrin James), three defensive backs (Steve Atwater, Ty Law and John Lynch), and three linebackers (Kevin Greene, Karl Mecklenburg and Sam Mills).
As for how the finalists and inductees will be selected, here’s the relevant section of the Hall of Fame’s press release:
The list of 25 semifinalists will be reduced by mail ballot to 15 Modern-Era Finalists in January. That list increases to 18 finalists with the inclusion of the recommended nominees of the Hall of Fame’s Contributors and Seniors Committees. The 2016 Senior Finalists are Ken Stabler (QB – 1970-79 Oakland Raiders, 1980-81 Houston Oilers, 1982-84 New Orleans Saints) and Dick Stanfel (G – 1952-55 Detroit Lions, 1956-58 Washington Redskins). The 2016 Contributor Finalist is former San Francisco 49ers owner (1977-2000) Edward DeBartolo, Jr.
DeBartolo, Stabler and Stanfel will be voted on separately and, like all other finalists, must receive 80 percent positive vote from the full Selection Committee during the annual selection meeting on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016 in San Francisco, the day before Super Bowl 50.
Although there is no set number of enshrinees for any Hall of Fame Class, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s current bylaws stipulate that between four and eight new members will be selected each year. No more than five Modern-Era Finalists can be elected in a given year. Therefore, a class of six, seven, or eight can only be achieved if one or more of the Contributor and Seniors Finalists are elected.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016 will be announced during “NFL Honors,” a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on the eve of the Super Bowl from 9-11 p.m. (ET and PT) on CBS. “NFL Honors” will be taped earlier that evening at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco from 8-10 p.m. (ET) when the 2016 Hall of Fame class will be introduced for the first time. In addition, the NFL and The Associated Press will announce their annual accolades in this awards show with the winners on hand to accept their awards.
The Class of 2016 will be officially enshrined in Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 6 in Canton, Ohio as the main event of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Annual Enshrinement Week.
Source: CBS Sports