It’s never an easy process but the fifteen finalists for the Class of 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame are particularly qualified this year. For the second straight year, the Jaguars Tony Boselli and Jacksonville’s Brian Dawkins are among the final fifteen. That means they’ve made it from the 108 eligible players this year through the semifinal process down to 27 and now to the finalists round of 15. The selection committee will discuss them with the other 13 finalists, the two senior candidates and the contributor finalist on the Saturday before the Super Bowl in Minnesota the first weekend of February.
“My career’s not going to change,” Boselli said of his second year of eligibility. “It’s up to you now,” Tony chided me with a laugh. As the Jacksonville representative on the Hall of Fame committee, I’ll present Boselli’s case for the Hall for the second straight year in front of the full committee.
While it’s true his career isn’t going to change, the decision making of the committee has after last year. In the 2017 class, two players, Kenny Easley and Terrell Davis were included with short careers. Easley played in 89 games, Davis 78. Boselli played in 97 games and was considered the best at his position throughout his career.
That’s a pretty good place to be since four other tackles of that era, Walter Jones, Orlando Pace, Jonathan Ogden and Willie Roaf, are all in the Hall. Boselli was one of the two All-Decade Team tackles of the 1990’s.
If there is a knock against Boselli, it’s only the brevity of his career. But with the admission of Easley and Davis, the committee has admitted that only greatness is necessary for selection to the Hall. Tony checks off every box in that category.
As a second time finalist, Brian Dawkins has the attention of the selection committee. A safety mainly for the Eagles and then the Broncos, Dawkins started four NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl. He was All-Pro five seasons and went to nine Pro Bowls. He’s the first player in the NFL history to record a sack, an interception, a fumble recovery and a touchdown catch in the same game. Brian was also named to the All Decade Team of the 2000’s.
The Class of 2018 will be announced during the NFL Honors show on Saturday night, February 3rd in Minneapolis.
Here is a list of the other Pro Football Hall of Fame Finalists for 2018:
Isaac Bruce, WR - 1994-2007 LA/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco (2)
Alan Faneca, G - 1998-2007 Pittsburgh, 2008-09 NY Jets, 2010 Arizona (3)
Steve Hutchinson, G - 2001-05 Seattle, 2006-2011 Minnesota, 2012 Tennessee (1)
Joe Jacoby, OT - 1981-1993 Washington (3)
Edgerrin James, RB - 1999-2005 Indianapolis, 2006-08 Arizona, 2009 Seattle (2)
Ty Law, CB - 1995-2004 New England, 2005, 2008 NY Jets, 2006-07 Kansas City, 2009 Denver (2)
Ray Lewis, LB - 1996-2012 Baltimore (1)
John Lynch, FS - 1993-2003 Tampa Bay, 2004-07 Denver (5)
Kevin Mawae, C/G - 1994-97 Seattle, 1998-2005 NY Jets, 2006-09 Tennessee (2)
Randy Moss, WR - 1998-2004, 2010 Minnesota, 2005-06 Oakland, 2007-2010 New England, 2010 Tennessee, 2012 San Francisco (1)
Terrell Owens, WR - 1996-2003 San Francisco, 2004-05 Philadelphia, 2006-08 Dallas, 2009 Buffalo, 2010 Cincinnati (3)
Brian Urlacher, LB - 2000-2012 Chicago (1)
Everson Walls, CB - 1981-89 Dallas, 1990-92 NY Giants, 1992-93 Cleveland (1)
Bobby Beathard, general manager/personnel administrator
Robert Brazile, LB - 1975-1984 Houston Oilers
Jerry Kramer, G - 1958-1968 Green Bay Packers