Posts Tagged ‘pro football hall of fame’

Six-time All-Pro offensive lineman Joe Thomas, shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis and speedy pass rusher Dwight Freeney headline the list of nine first-year eligible players picked among the 129 nominees for the 2023 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The other first-year eligibles are running back Chris Johnson, offensive lineman Jahri Evans, linebackers NaVorro Bowman and James Harrison; defensive back Kam Chancellor and punter Shane Lechler.

The nine new candidates combined for 52 Pro Bowl berths, 30 first-team All-Pro selections, with five of the nine winning Super Bowls and five making an all-decade team. Johnson also won an Offensive Player of the Year award in 2009 and Harrison was picked as top defensive player in 2008.

Thomas was one of the top tackles in the league over a durable 11-year career that saw him selected first-team All-Pro six times and second team two other times. He had a streak of 10,363 consecutive plays while playing for the Browns his entire career.

Revis, who also came out in the 2007 draft, moved around much more, spending time with the Jets, Tampa Bay, New England and Kansas City.

His best play came in New York where he was a first-team All-Pro from 2009-11 and finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting in 2009 when he repeatedly shut down top receivers by sending them to “Revis Island.”

Revis spent one year in New England, helping the Patriots win the Super Bowl in the 2014 season.

Freeney spent most of his 16-year career in Indianapolis where his speed off the edge and dominant spin move led to 125 1/2 career sacks. He anchored a defense that complemented a high-powered offense led by Peyton Manning and helped the Colts win the Super Bowl following the 2006 season.

The list will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in November and to 15 finalists in January before the selection committee discusses and chooses the class of 2023 that will be enshrined in August.

The 15 finalists will be trimmed to 10 and then five during the selection meeting early next year. The final five candidates will need to get 80% of the votes from the panel to get into the Hall.

The roster of nominees consists of 67 offensive players, 50 defensive players and 12 special teamers.

Finalists from 2022 re-nominated for next year are defensive end Jared Allen, tackle Willie Anderson, defensive back Ronde Barber, returner Devin Hester, receivers Torry Holt, Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne; linebackers Zach Thomas and Patrick Willis; and edge rusher DeMarcus Ware.

The committee will also consider former Chargers and Cardinals coach Don Coryell in the coaching category and three senior candidates: Super Bowl V MVP Chuck Howley and All-Pro defenders Joe Klecko and Ken Riley.

They also will get in if they get support from at least 80% of voters in January.

Three-time All-Pro receiver Cliff Branch and Super Bowl-winning coach Dick Vermeil are finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2022.

Branch is the senior candidate and Vermeil is the nominee in the coaches category picked Tuesday by a five-person committee of Hall of Fame voters. To be elected to the Hall of Fame, Branch and Vermeil must receive 80% of the vote from the entire 49-member selection committee when it meets early next year.

Branch was one of the most dynamic receivers of his era as the speedy deep threat for the Raiders that stretched opposing defenses.

Branch played 14 seasons from 1972-85, ranking in the top five in the NFL in catches (501), yards receiving (8,685) and touchdown catches (67) over that span.

He also played a key role on three Super Bowl champions with 73 catches for 1,289 yards and five TDs in 22 playoff games. Only Jerry Rice, Julian Edelman and Michael Irvin have more yards receiving in the postseason than Branch.

Branch led the NFL in touchdowns twice and eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards twice. He was a first-team All-Pro in 1974, ’75 and ’76.

“He dreamed of this. He wanted this so bad, he could taste it,” Cliff’s sister, Elaine Anderson, said in a call with Hall of Fame President David Baker on Tuesday. “It was all he talked about — when he would go to the Hall of Fame.”

Branch died in 2019 at age 71.

Vermeil won 120 games in the regular season, leading the Philadelphia Eagles (1980) and St. Louis Rams (1999) to Super Bowl appearances. His “Greatest Show on Turf” Rams won the Super Bowl 23-16 over Tennessee.

Vermeil came to the Eagles from UCLA in 1976 and got long-struggling Philadelphia into the playoffs in his third season and Super Bowl two years after that where he lost to Branch and the Raiders 27-10.

He stepped away from coaching following the 1982 season and became a broadcaster before returning to the sideline in 1997 in St. Louis.

He once again quickly revived a downtrodden franchise and delivered the Rams their first Super Bowl title in his third season with one of the most prolific offenses led by Hall of Famers Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and Isaac Bruce.

He left the Rams after that Super Bowl and finished his coaching career with a five-year stint in Kansas City starting in 2001.

He posted double-digit wins in six of 15 seasons and had a .524 career winning percentage.

“I am overwhelmed. I’m not sure I belong there,” Vermeil said of the Hall of Fame upon hearing the news of his finalist status from Baker. He said the coach committee had his “deepest appreciation and gratitude.”

The selection committee will also consider 15 modern era finalists and one contributor, who will be named on Aug. 31.

The preliminary list of modern era candidates will be picked in September, then trimmed to 25 semifinalists in November and the 15 finalists in January.

The Class of 2022 will be formally enshrined next summer in Canton, Ohio.

The 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame class was announced Saturday at the NFL Honors award show.

The group features Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson, Calvin Johnson, John Lynch, and Alan Faneca. Manning, Woodson, and Johnson are the group members who’ve obtained a first-ballot induction.

Tom Flores (coaching category), Bill Nunn (contributors category), and Drew Pearson (seniors category) will also join the class of 2021.

Peyton Manning

Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts-Denver Broncos, 1998-2015

It only took FOX59’s Mike Chappell a few seconds to explain why Manning is a Hall of Famer, and it’s not hard to understand why. The former signal-caller changed the city of Indianapolis during his magnificent 14-year tenure with the Colts. He then helped the Broncos appear in two Super Bowls over his four years with the team before retiring with 71,940 yards and 539 touchdowns on his resume. Manning also won two Super Bowls and took home an all-time high five regular-season MVP awards.

Charles Woodson

Defensive back, Oakland Raiders-Green Bay Packers, 1998-2015

Raiders and Packers fans surely won’t forget Woodson’s versatility and playmaking ability. The nine-time Pro Bowler ranks fifth all-time in career interceptions, and his 11 INT-return touchdowns are the second-most ever. The 2009 Defensive Player of the Year earned eight All-Pro berths and led the NFL in interceptions twice throughout his career.

Calvin Johnson

Wide receiver, Detroit Lions, 2007-15

Megatron’s relatively short career ended up not being a major issue to the Hall of Fame selection committee – and rightfully so. The wideout dominated his opponents week after week, topping 1,000 receiving yards in seven of his nine pro years. Johnson also led the NFL in receiving yards twice, including a single-season record of 1,964 yards in 2012. The six-time Pro Bowler also owns the record for consecutive 100-yard receiving games with eight.

Alan Faneca

Guard, Pittsburgh Steelers-New York Jets-Arizona Cardinals, 1998-2010

Faneca will go down as one of the most consistent and versatile offensive linemen in NFL history, playing in 206 out of 208 possible games throughout his career – including 201 starts – and anchoring teams to solid running games year after year. The former first-round pick out of LSU earned eight All-Pro nods and made nine straight Pro Bowl appearances from 2001-09.

John Lynch

Safety, Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Denver Broncos, 1993-2007

Lynch’s wait is finally over in his eighth appearance as a Hall of Fame finalist. The nine-time Pro Bowler was a crucial piece on the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl-winning campaign in 2002 and retired with four All-Pro selections on his resume. The current 49ers general manager is also a member of the Buccaneers Ring of Honor and Broncos Ring of Fame.

Drew Pearson (seniors category)

Wide receiver, Dallas Cowboys, 1973-83

Despite entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 1973, Pearson retired a three-time All-Pro after amassing 489 receptions for 7,822 yards and 48 touchdowns through 156 career appearances. Pearson led the league in receiving yards in 1977, the season he helped Dallas win Super Bowl XII.

Tom Flores (coaching category)

Head coach, Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders-Seattle Seahawks, 1979-94

Flores posted a 105-90 record as a head coach in the NFL. He also won Super Bowls XV and XVIII with the Raiders, becoming the first Hispanic coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl.

Bill Nunn (contributors category)

Scout, Pittsburgh Steelers, 1970-2014

Nunn dedicated decades of his life to the Steelers, and his efforts in Pittsburgh’s front office helped the team win all six of its Super Bowl titles.

Calvin Johnson was announced as an inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility Saturday. The next order of business is repairing his relationship with the Detroit Lions.

Johnson said Sunday that he and the franchise are beginning to make inroads.

“I know that myself and (Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp) have had some great conversations recently,” Johnson told reporters, including Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. “It’s been good to get to know her and just really sit down and have those face-to-face conversations. So, I think that we’re moving in the right direction, yeah.”

The Hall of Fame receiver retired after the 2015 season following nine years with Detroit. Johnson hung up his cleats with three years remaining on his contract and the franchise asked him to give back $1.6 million of his signing bonus. He also admitted he retired in part because of the Lions’ bleak chances of winning a championship.

Johnson will be inducted alongside Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson, John Lynch, Alan Faneca, Tom Flores, Bill Nunn, and Drew Pearson as part of the Class of 2021.

Former Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson is a Hall of Fame finalist for the first time this year, and he is hoping for immediate induction.  

“Of course, it will feel like a slight, I guess, if you don’t get in the first time and you’re up there, you’re a finalist,” Johnson told NFL Network’s Steve Wyche and Jim Trotter on the Huddle & Flow podcast (h/t Adam Maya of NFL.com). “I can’t say that it wouldn’t, because we’re human, we’re emotional. But it’ll happen. I confidently feel like it’ll happen. Will it happen first time? That would be awesome. Get it out of the way. Why not?”

Perhaps nothing is working against Johnson’s chances of landing in the Hall of Fame on the first ballot more than the historical precedent at his position.

Maya noted only six wide receivers in NFL history have been named first-ballot Hall of Famers. Notable names such as Terrell Owens, Marvin Harrison, Cris Carter and Michael Irvin are among those who weren’t.

There was little doubting Johnson’s status as a Hall of Fame talent during his nine-year career with the Lions.

He surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in seven of those years, led the league in receiving yards twice, made six Pro Bowls and was named a first-team All-Pro three times. In all, he finished with 731 catches for 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns.

It was rather shocking when Johnson did retire considering he went over 1,000 receiving yards in each of his last six seasons and tallied 1,214 in his final one. He was still among the league’s best overall playmakers and a matchup nightmare who was too big and fast for almost every cornerback he went up against.

Whether nine years of dominance will be enough to convince Hall of Fame voters to put him in on his first ballot remains to be seen, and he will find out on Feb. 6 when the class is revealed.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame revealed the 15 finalists for the 2021 class Tuesday.

The group is highlighted by Peyton Manning, Calvin Johnson, Charles Woodson, and Jared Allen, who all made the cut in their first year of eligibility.

Ronde Barber and Clay Matthews Jr. are also first-time finalists, though both were previously eligible for the Hall of Fame. Matthews has been eligible for 20 years, the longest among this year’s finalists.

John Lynch tops all former players on the list with his eighth appearance as a finalist.

The 15 finalists are:

  • Peyton Manning, QB
  • Calvin Johnson, WR
  • Torry Holt, WR
  • Reggie Wayne, WR
  • Tony Boselli, OT
  • Alan Faneca, G
  • Zach Thomas, LB
  • Clay Matthews Jr., LB
  • Sam Mills, LB
  • Richard Seymour, DL
  • Jared Allen, DE
  • Charles Woodson, DB
  • Ronde Barber, DB
  • John Lynch, S
  • LeRoy Butler, S

The Hall of Fame committee will elect up to five former players, and the 2021 class of inductees will be announced before Super Bowl LV in February.

Tom Flores (coaching category), Bill Nunn (contributors category), and Drew Pearson (seniors category) are also candidates for the class of 2021.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced on Wednesday the 130 modern-era candidates for the 2021 class.

Quarterback Peyton Manning, wide receiver Calvin Johnson, and defensive back Charles Woodson – who are in their first year of eligibility – highlight the list.

Manning, a two-time Super Bowl champion, has the most regular-season MVP awards in NFL history with five and holds the single-season record for passing yards (5,477) and touchdowns (55).

The Class of 2021 includes 14 first-year headliners: running back Steven Jackson; wide receivers Wes Welker and Roddy White; tight end Heath Miller; offensive linemen D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Logan Mankins; defensive linemen Jared Allen, Justin Tuck, and Kevin Williams; linebacker Jerod Mayo; and defensive back Charles Tillman.

The group will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in November and to 15 finalists in January.

The selection committee will meet Feb. 6 to elect the Class of 2021. Along with the modern-era finalists, the committee will be presented with senior finalist Drew Pearson, contributor Bill Nunn, and coach Tom Flores.

Here is the full list of modern-era nominees:

Quarterbacks – Drew Bledsoe, Randall Cunningham, Jake Delhomme, Jeff Garcia, Dave Krieg, Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, Steve McNair

Running backs – Shaun Alexander, Mike Alstott, Tiki Barber, Earnest Byner, Larry Centers, Corey Dillon, Warrick Dunn, Eddie George, Priest Holmes, Steven Jackson, Jamal Lewis, Eric Metcalf, Glyn Milburn, Lorenzo Neal, Fred Taylor, Herschel Walker, Ricky Watters

Wide receivers – Donald Driver, Henry Ellard, Torry Holt, Calvin Johnson, Chad Johnson, Derrick Mason, Muhsin Muhammad, Jimmy Smith, Rod Smith, Hines Ward, Reggie Wayne, Wes Welker, Roddy White

Tight ends – Dallas Clark, Ben Coates, Keith Jackson, Brent Jones, Heath Miller, Jeremy Shockey, Wesley Walls

Offensive linemen: Willie Anderson, Matt Birk, Tony Boselli, Lomas Brown, Ruben Brown, Alan Faneca, DBrickashaw Ferguson, Kevin Glover, Jordan Gross, Kent Hull, Olin Kreutz, Logan Mankins, Tom Nalen, Chris Samuels, Jeff Saturday, Chris Snee, Brian Waters, Richmond Webb, Erik Williams, Steve Wisniewski

Defensive linemen – John Abraham, Jared Allen, Ray Childress, La’Roi Glover, Casey Hampton, Leslie O’Neal, Michael Dean Perry, Simeon Rice, Richard Seymour, Justin Smith, Neil Smith, Greg Townsend, Justin Tuck, Kevin Williams, Bryant Young

Linebackers – Cornelius Bennett, Lance Briggs, Tedy Bruschi, London Fletcher, Seth Joyner, Clay Matthews Jr., Jerod Mayo, Willie McGinest, Sam Mills, Joey Porter, Chris Spielman, Takeo Spikes, Pat Swilling, Darryl Talley, Zach Thomas, Patrick Willis

Defensive backs – Eric Allen, Ronde Barber, LeRoy Butler, Nick Collins, Merton Hanks, Rodney Harrison, James Hasty, Albert Lewis, John Lynch, Tim McDonald, Allen Rossum, Asante Samuel, Bob Sanders, Charles Tillman, Troy Vincent, Adrian Wilson, Charles Woodson, Darren Woodson

Punters/Kickers – K David Akers, K Gary Anderson, K Jason Elam, P Jeff Feagles, K Jason Hanson, K John Kasay, P Sean Landeta, K Ryan Longwell, K Nick Lowery, P Rohn Stark, P Matt Turk

Special teams – Josh Cribbs, Mel Gray, Brian Mitchell, Steve Tasker

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Two all-time NFL greats could soon be on their way to Canton.

Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Drew Pearson and two-time Super Bowl champion head coach Tom Flores were selected as finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2021 on Tuesday.

Pearson was selected as a senior finalist, while Flores is the coach finalist picked by the Hall of Fame’s senior and coach committees, respectively.

They now need to receive at least 80% voting support by the 48-member selection committee to earn a bust in Canton.

“You made my day, and you made my life,” Pearson said in a call with Hall of Fame president David Baker. “How can I thank you? I’m crying, and I haven’t cried in a long time. Happy tears. I’ve been waiting for this call for so long.

“I know there is one more hurdle to get over, but this is the closest I’ve been … This is a dream come true,” Pearson added.

Pearson entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 1973 and played 11 seasons for the Cowboys. The three-time All-Pro amassed 489 receptions for 7,822 yards and 48 touchdowns through 156 career appearances. Pearson led the league in receiving yards in 1977, the season he helped Dallas win Super Bowl XII.

Every senior finalist picked by the committee from 2010-19 was inducted into the Hall of Fame. In 2020, the hall expanded the number of inductees to honor the NFL’s centennial season.

Flores posted a 105-90 record as a head coach with the then-Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders and Seattle Seahawks. He also won Super Bowls XV and XVIII with the Raiders, becoming the first Hispanic coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl.

The coach committee picked Flores in a list featuring six candidates.

The Hall of Fame selection committee will now consider 18 finalists and then trim the list to eight names, including five modern-era players (to be determined), one senior player (Pearson), one coach (Flores), and one contributor (to be determined).

The class of 2021 will be unveiled in the first week of February.

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Troy Polamalu, Isaac Bruce, Edgerrin James, Steve Atwater, and Steve Hutchinson comprise the 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame modern-era class.

Polamalu is the only member of the group to obtain induction on the first ballot. The five appointees will join the 15-member centennial class, which features 10 players, two coaches, and three contributors for enshrinement in Canton, Ohio, in August.

Troy Polamalu

Safety, Pittsburgh Steelers, 2003-14

Easy to identify because of his luscious hair, it didn’t take long for Polamalu to become a fan favorite in Pittsburgh. He was one of the most electric and versatile defenders of his era, flying around the field in a way few others would dream of. He was famous for timing snap counts and jumping over or through the line of scrimmage, yet he also possessed the skills and range of a ball-hawk. Polamalu won two Super Bowls, made eight Pro Bowls, and was the 2010 Defensive Player of the Year.

Isaac Bruce

Wide receiver, Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams-San Francisco 49ers, 1994-2009

Bruce was an integral part of a sport-altering offense with the Rams that was coined the Greatest Show on Turf. It featured Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt, and pass-happy coach Mike Martz in the second half of the 1990s. Bruce eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards eight times. He posted a career-high 1,781 yards through the air in 1995 before leading the league the next year with 1,338 yards. He ranks fifth on the NFL’s all-time receiving list (15,208 yards) and 12th in touchdown receptions (91).

Edgerrin James

Running back, Indianapolis Colts-Arizona Cardinals-Seattle Seahawks, 1999-2009

Drafted fourth overall out of Miami in 1999, James exploded onto the scene with a pair of rushing titles to open his career. For years, he and Peyton Manning gave the Colts the most feared backfield in the NFL, and he remains Indy’s franchise leader in rushing yards. “Edge” made four Pro Bowls and was also a factor as a receiver throughout his career.

Steve Atwater

Safety, Denver Broncos-New York Jets, 1989-99

Atwater will be inducted 20 years after he retired. He made eight Pro Bowls, including seven consecutive, and he teamed with Dennis Smith to give the Broncos a legendary safety tandem in the early ’90s. His most memorable highlight came on Monday Night Football in 1990 when he laid out Chiefs running back Christian “Nigerian Nightmare” Okoye, but his best overall performance took place at Super Bowl XXXII, where he won his first of two championships.

Steve Hutchinson

Guard, Seattle Seahawks-Minnesota Vikings-Tennessee Titans, 2001-12

The gold standard at left guard throughout his career, Hutchinson was selected to seven straight Pro Bowls beginning in 2003. He helped open holes for 2005 MVP Shaun Alexander with the Seahawks, then took his talents to the Vikings where he paved pathways for a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Chester Taylor and rookie sensation Adrian Peterson. Hutchinson started all 169 games that he appeared in.

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Deion Sanders believes the Pro Football Hall of Fame has become too lenient with respect to its inductees.

Sanders, a Hall of Famer himself, shared his thoughts on the selection process and how the honor has changed in recent years.

“What is a Hall of Famer now? Is it a guy who played a long time?” Sanders said on “The Dan Patrick Show,” according to Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith. “It’s so skewed now. Once upon a time, a Hall of Famer was a player who changed the darn game, who made you want to reach in your pocket and pay your admission to see that guy play.

“That’s not a Hall of Famer anymore. Every Tom, Dick and Harry, you’re a Hall of Famer, you’re a Hall of Famer, you’re a Hall of Famer. They let everybody in this thing. It’s not exclusive anymore. And I don’t like it.”

At least six new members have been enshrined in every class since 2006 and the league added a centennial class in honor of its 100th season.

The nine-time All-Pro cornerback was inducted into the Hall in 2011 but believes the criteria has allowed undeserving players to be selected.

“It should be based on, ‘Are you that guy?'” Sanders said. “Not just because we have to meet a quota.”