60ºF

Ex-Jags Tony Boselli, Fred Taylor are semifinalists for Hall of Fame

20 members will be inducted in 2020 Hall of Fame class, celebrating NFL’s 100th season

(Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two names on the semifinalist list for the 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame class will be very familiar to Jaguars fans: Running back Fred Taylor and left tackle Tony Boselli.

It’s Taylor’s first time making the semifinalist list. Boselli is a semifinalist for the fifth straight year, and he was a finalist the last three years.

Of the 32 NFL teams, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans are the only clubs to not have a single member in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Also on the list is Jacksonville native LeRoy Butler, a Lee High School alum, who played for the Green Bay Packers. It’s his third time as a semifinalist.

Boselli

Boselli was the first draft pick in Jaguars’ history, taken with the second overall selection of the 1995 draft from the University of Southern California. Almost immediately, he established himself as the foundation piece of Tom Coughlin’s team. He started the last 12 games of the Jaguars’ inaugural season. By his second season in the league, he was considered one of the best left tackles in the game.

At 6-foot-7, 324 pounds, Boselli was as powerful as any tackle in the league, but his footwork, agility and competitiveness set him apart. In his first playoff game, Boselli dominated future Hall of Famer Bruce Smith in the Jaguars win in Buffalo in the wildcard round of the playoffs after the 1996 season. It would not be the last time Boselli outplayed a future inductee.

Boselli made five Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro three times before injuries cut short his career. Boselli's Pro Bowl seasons were 1996-2000. In 2001, Boselli sustained a shoulder injury from which he never returned.

One knock against Boselli getting a gold jacket is that he played in only 97 career games. However, there are 32 players in the Hall of Fame who have played fewer than 100 games in their careers.

Taylor

Taylor was drafted ninth overall by the Jaguars in 1998. Taylor, who played for the Jaguars from 1998-2008 and for New England from 2009-2010, rushed for 11,695 yards and 66 touchdowns in 13 NFL seasons. He was a Pro Bowl selection following the 2007 season.

Taylor became the fourth inductee into the Pride of the Jaguars on Sept. 30, 2012. Taylor, who started 136 of 140 games, is one of five players along with Brad Meester, Marcedes Lewis, Jimmy Smith and Josh Scobee to play for 11 or more seasons with the Jaguars.

Taylor ranks fourth in franchise history in scoring with 424 points (70 TDs, two two-point conversions) and broke the rookie scoring record with 102 points (17 TDs) in 1998. He rushed for 1,223 his rookie season.

Taylor, the Jaguars’ career rushing leader with 11,271 yards, holds seven of the top 10 single-season rushing totals in team history, with 1,572 yards on 345 carries during the 2003 season. The former Florida Gator rushed for 100-plus yards on 48 occasions, a team record.

Taylor signed a one-day contract on Sept. 2, 2011, to retire as a Jaguar.

New process

The Hall of Fame Board changed the selection rules just for the class of 2020 in honor of the NFL’s Centennial Celebration.

The 2020 class will have 20 members: five players from the semifinalist list announced Tuesday, 10 seniors (players retired for more than 25 seasons), three contributors (not a player or coach) and two coaches.

The 25 modern-day semifinalists will be reduced to 15 finalists on Jan. 2. The selection meeting will be Feb. 1, the day before the Super Bowl in Miami.

The selection committee will pick the five modern-era players for the Class of 2020.

The determination of the seniors, contributors and coaches will be made by a special 25-person Centennial “Blue-Ribbon” Panel comprised of Hall of Fame Selectors, Pro Football Hall of Famers, media members, football historians and industry experts.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020 will be introduced during NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on the eve of Super Bowl.

Inductions will be Aug. 6-9, 2020 during the Enshrinement Week and Sept. 16-19 at the Centennial Celebration at the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.


About the Author: