Tomlinson made the cut in the first year he was eligible to do so. His career hit its apex in the 2006 season, when he led the league in rushing yards with 1,815 and set an NFL record that still stands with 28 rushing TDs. He led the league in those two categories again the next season with 1,474 and 15 and finished his career fifth and second all-time in those areas. Tomlinson topped 1,100 yards rushing in each of his first eight seasons in the league.
RB Terrell Davis: Broncos (1995-2001)
Davis’ inclusion is a bit of a surprise. His numbers pale in comparison to Tomlinson’s, but he was amazing in his first four years before knee injuries limited him to just 17 games in his final three seasons. A sixth-round draft choice, Davis ran for 1,117 yards as a rookie and increased that number to 1,538, 1,750 and 2,008 in his next three years. He was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXII and was a world champion again the next season. He topped 100 yards rushing in all seven of his playoff games those two seasons and led the league with 2008 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns in 1998 before injuries struck in 1999.
DE Jason Taylor: Dolphins (1997-2007, 2009, 2011), Redskins (2008), Jets (2010)
Taylor is another first-ballot Hall of Famer. He helped define the idea of a hybrid end-linebacker edge rusher and ranks seventh all-time with 139.5 career sacks. He went to six Pro Bowls and reached his peak in 2006, when he was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Four years earlier, he led the league in sacks with a career-high 18.5. Taylor played most of his career with the Dolphins and then returned for two more one-season stints with them after leaving for the Redskins and Jets.
Andersen joins Jan Stenerud as the second pure placekicker to be honored in the Hall of Fame. Anderson is the NFL’s all-time leader in points with 2,544 and was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection during his 25 seasons in the league.
QB Kurt Warner: Rams (1998-2003), Giants (2004), Cardinals (2005-09)
Warner went from undrafted free agent to two-time NFL MVP. He also won a Super Bowl with the Rams and led the Rams and the Cardinals to another. Best known for his “Greatest Show on Turf” years with the Rams, Warner led the league with 4,830 passing yards and 36 TDs in 2001.
Getty ImagesRonald Martinez
DB Kenny Easley: Seahawks (1981-87)
Easley was this year’s senior finalist, nominated as a player whose career ended more than 25 years ago. He went to five Pro Bowls in seven seasons and led the league with 10 interceptions in 1984.
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Owner Jerry Jones: Cowboys (1989-present)
Jones was one of two contributor finalists along with former commissioner Paul Tagliabue. He purchased the Cowboys in 1989, when they were the worst team in the league, and quickly turned them into a three-time Super Bowl winner in the 1990s. In addition to his work with his own team, he is one of the league’s most innovative and influential owners.