Pro Football Hall of Fame names Class of 2015 finalists
Orlando Pace, Kurt Warner and the late Junior Seau have a chance to be elected in their first year eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame as they lead the list of finalists.
The 15 Modern-Era finalists, who will be considered for election were announced on Thursday evening. The Hall’s selection committee will consider them along with two contributor and a senior finalist when they meet on Jan. 31, which is the day before Super Bowl XLIX.
Multiple first-year eligible finalists have been elected five of the past six classes. The only exception was 2012 when none made it.
Warner is trying to become the first quarterback to be selected since Troy Aikman and Warren Moon in 2006. Warner is a two-time NFL MVP and played in three Super Bowls, leading the Rams to a championship in Super Bowl XXXIV, where he was named MVP. He is the only quarterback to throw for 300 yards or more in three Super Bowls.
Pace, a former Ohio State standout, is trying to become the third straight offensive tackle to make it in his first year of eligibility (Jonathan Ogden and Walter Jones). He was the first offensive lineman selected first overall since 1968 when the Rams selected him in the 1997 draft. He went on to play 13 seasons in the league and was a seven-time selection to the Pro Bowl.
If elected, Seau would become the 22nd person elected to the hall posthumously and the first since Reggie White in 2006 to make it in his first year of eligibility. In 20 seasons, Seau made it to the Pro Bowl 12 times, was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1992 and a member of the NFL’s All-Decade team of the 1990s.
Terrell Davis and Jimmy Johnson are also first-time modern-era finalists. Davis, who rushed for 2,008 yards in 1998 with the Broncos, is in his ninth year of eligibility while Johnson, who coached Dallas to two Super Bowl championships, has been eligible for 16 years. The late Don Coryell, whose Air Coryell offense has been the basis for many offensive philosophies, is a finalist for the first time since 2010.
They all join returning finalists wide receivers Marvin Harrison (second) and Tim Brown (sixth), linebackers Kevin Greene (fourth) and Charles Haley (sixth), offensive guard Will Shields (fourth), running back Jerome Bettis (fifth), kicker Morten Andersen (second), safety John Lynch (second) and coach Tony Dungy (second).
In his 32nd year of eligibility, former Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff is the Seniors finalist while general managers Bill Polian and Ron Wolf are the Contributors finalists. Tingelhoff, Polian and Wolf are also first-time finalists.
To be elected, a candidate must receive at least 80 percent of the votes from the 46-member selection committee.