JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For the third straight year, Tony Boselli was a finalist for the Hall of Fame and for the third straight year, the former Jaguars left tackle missed out on the knock on the door.
While there are no guarantees that Boselli will be a finalist in 2020, chances are good that he will once again be discussed as a candidate for enshrinement in Canton.
So let's size up his chances.
There are some slam-dunk candidates for next year. Steelers safety Troy Polamalu will be eligible for the first time. He was a terrific player and he has the added benefit of having played in Pittsburgh. There is substantially more attention paid to Steelers than Jaguars, after all. He'll get in.
Then you have some very good players, but I'm not sure any of them are first-ballot Hall of Fame material. Colts receiver Reggie Wayne and 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis could both make it eventually, but I don't think they'll do it in their first years.
So let's say Polomolu makes it in. That leaves four spots. Among the others to make the cut to 10 with Boselli are safety Steve Atwater, guards Allan Faneca and Steve Hutchinson and running back Edgerrin James. So three offensive linemen will likely be finalists again in 2020. Will the selectors choose multiple O-linemen? We'll see.
To be fair, I think that if Boselli had played one more full season, he would already be in. And if he played in a bigger media market, he probably would already be in. It's not a conscious Jacksonville bias among the selectors, but they didn't get the kind of exposure to Boselli that they would have if he played in New York, Chicago or Dallas.
One last thing to consider: The following year, 2021, Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson and Calvin Johnson all become eligible. All will be first-ballot selections, in my opinion. That makes 2021 a tough year to make it in for anyone else.