This year’s class of Pro Football Hall of Famers will be selected and announced on Saturday before they’re inducted in August. There are 15 modern-era finalists to go along with a Senior Finalist, and two contributors.
The headliners of the class are LaDainian Tomlinson, Terrell Owens, Kurt Warner and Terrell Davis, but with only eight spots, not every deserving candidate can get in.
We predicted how things will go on Saturday when the class is selected.
AFP/Getty ImagesMONICA M. DAVEY
Morten Andersen, Kicker: NO
Morten Andersen is arguably the NFL’s best kicker of all time, but there’s only one specialist in the Hall of Fame, and that’s punter Ray Guy. Andersen will stir up debate for years to come considering his track record and his massive gap between he and Adam Vinatieri, No. 3 in points.
Tony Boselli, Tackle: NO
Two offensive linemen are likely to get in this year, but Tony Boselli won’t be one of them. He’ll get in eventually, just not this time around. This is his first year as a finalist.
Getty ImagesStephen Dunn
Isaac Bruce, Wide Receiver: NO
Isaac Bruce was a key part of the Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” era, but he wasn’t the better of the two receivers on his team. Tory Holt likely gets that honor despite Bruce being fourth in career receiving yards (15,208). Bruce will have to wait a little while longer before he gets in.
Don Coryell, Coach: NO
Don Coryell is in his 30th year of eligibility, but unfortunately, this won’t be the year he gets in. He’s garnered increased attention in recent years, but it’s unfortunately not going to happen this time.
Getty ImagesMichael Zagaris
Terrell Davis, Running Back: NO
Terrell Davis’ postseason numbers are what make him among the top candidates, but it’s unclear if they’re enough to get him in. This year, with LaDanian Tomlinson likely to be inducted, Davis probably won’t get in. He has a Super Bowl MVP and NFL MVP to his name, and is sixth in career postseason rushing yards, but that won’t be enough to get him in this year.
Brian Dawkins, Safety: NO
Brian Dawkins was a terrific safety, but he won’t get in before John Lynch. And with Lynch still being up in the air this year, Dawkins will have to wait at least one more year. He finished his career with nine Pro Bowl nods and four first-team All-Pro selections, but the absence of a ring is prominent.
Kenny Easley, Safety: YES
Kenny Easley is this year’s Senior Finalist, who was selected by the Seniors Committee back in August. This pertains to players whose careers ended more than 25 years ago. He’s likely to get in as at least one Senior Finalist has been inducted each year since 1997. Easley spent his entire career with the Seahawks.
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Alan Faneca, Guard: YES
Alan Faneca is a six-time All-Pro with a Super Bowl ring. Yes, he was an offensive lineman, which hurts his candidacy, but the accolades are there for the former Steelers and Jets lineman. He’s far from a lock to get in this year, but with Joe Jacoby likely going, Faneca should too.
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Joe Jacoby, Tackle: YES
With Alan Faneca as the other top offensive lineman among the finalists, Joe Jacoby isn’t a lock to get in. He doesn’t have the accolades and awards that Faneca does, but he helped the Redskins win three Super Bowl rings in the 1980s and ‘90s. He’s a finalist for the second time this year, but he’s been on the ballot for 19 years. It’s time for Jacoby to get in, and this should be his year with a class that’s absent of multiple locks.
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Jerry Jones, Contributor: YES
Jerry Jones is one of two contributor finalists along with Paul Tagliabue. Jones, for his work in changing the landscape of the NFL – from TV deals to bringing the Cowboys to prominence – deserves to be enshrined this year, his first as a finalist to get into the Hall of Fame.
Ty Law, Cornerback: NO
Ty Law was a playmaker for the Patriots with his best moment coming in the 2003 AFC Championship game against Peyton Manning. Few upcoming players can match his 53 interceptions, but as a first-time finalist, Law will have to wait at least one or two more years.
John Lynch, Free Safety: YES
Could John Lynch become a GM and Hall of Famer in the same year? He can, and he should. The new 49ers GM is a finalist for the fourth time, and he’s undoubtedly the top safety on the list this year. Some would argue Brian Dawkins was a more impactful player, but Lynch has a Super Bowl ring, nine Pro Bowl nods and 191 career starts. This is a bit of a weaker class than in year’s past, so now is the time for Lynch to make it.
Getty ImagesAl Messerschmidt
Kevin Mawae, Center/Guard: NO
It’s difficult enough for offensive linemen to get into the Hall, never mind one without a ring. Kevin Mawae was a consistent starter for 16 years, but with Faneca and Jacoby likely going, Mawae will have to wait at least one more year.
Terrell Owens, Wide Receiver: YES
Terrell Owens missed out on getting in last year in his first year of eligibility. This year should be different. Owens will undoubtedly go down as one of the best wide receivers of all time, so why shouldn’t he be a Hall of Famer? Because of his attitude and relationship with the media? He’s second in NFL history with 15,934 yards, seventh in receptions (1,078) and third in touchdowns (153). If not for his personality, Owens would have been a shoo-in last year. He will be this time around.
Paul Tagliabue, Contributor: NO
Paul Tagliabue, former commissioner of the NFL, has plenty of people who completely disagreed with his doings during his tenure in the league office, but he’s generated more consideration in recent years. This year won’t be his to get in, though.
Jason Taylor, Defensive End: NO
Jason Taylor has 139.5 career sacks and one Defensive Player of the Year award, both of which are likely to get him in at some point. It just won’t happen this year, his first of eligibility.
Getty ImagesMarc Serota
LaDainian Tomlinson, Running Back: YES
LaDainian Tomlinson is as close to a lock as anyone on this list. With no other shoo-in candidates this year, Tomlinson is a near certainty to get into the Hall in his first year of candidacy. He finished his career with 13,684 yards and 145 rushing touchdowns, which rank fifth and second all-time, respectively. His 28 rushing touchdowns in 2006 remains an NFL record, and it will almost certainly never be broken with the way the NFL has become a passing league.
Kurt Warner, Quarterback: YES
The complete opposite of Terrell Owens, Kurt Warner’s career path is littered with remarkable stories and overcoming adversity. He went from bagging groceries as a rookie after being released by the Packers to the Arena Football League to a Super Bowl champion. He’s a two-time first-team All-Pro and two-time NFL MVP, as well as the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2008. This is Warner’s third year as a finalist, which should be his last.