JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It could be called a simple process. Pare down the eligible players for the Pro Football Hall of Fame through the process of elimination and name five to the Hall. The details make the process a little more difficult.
For the Class of 2018, the Hall announced 108 eligible players and coaches for the maximum of five spots open to what are called “modern day” candidates (a player whose career ended within the last 25 years.)
Among the 108, the selection committee will consider former Jaguars Tony Boselli, Fred Taylor and Jimmy Smith. Boselli was a semi-finalist last year, Smith is eligible as a former Pro Bowl player and Taylor was nominated for the first time.
There are 11 first-year eligible players including wide receiver Randy Moss, and linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher. Other than Taylor, Roger Craig, Eddie George, Edgerrin James and Herschel Walker are among the 10 running backs on the ballot. Isaac Bruce, Donald Driver, Terrell Owens and Hines Ward join Jimmy Smith among the eligible wide receivers. Tony Boselli is a returning finalist among offensive linemen with Kevin Mawae, Joe Jacoby and Alan Faneca. Jeff Saturday and Steve Hutchinson are first year eligibles. There are 21 offensive linemen on the ballot this year.
In November, the PFHOF will announce the 25 candidates remaining after the Selection Committee votes on the preliminary list. The Selection Committee is made up of a representative for each team (of which I’m the Jaguars representative), two members of the Hall of Fame, the president of the Pro Football Writers Association of America, and nine at-large voters.
From those 25 semi-finalists the committee will select the final 15 and discuss those players the Saturday before the 2018 Super Bowl in Minnesota.
Last year, Boselli was among the 15 finalists and made the first cut down to the final 10. He was eliminated in the next round of voting down to five. The entire committee then subjects those five players to a final up or down vote. It takes yes votes totaling 80 percent for selection to the Hall.
So from the 108 eligible and nominated players the cut goes to 25, then to 15, then 10 and 5 and finally an up or down vote.
That’s why it’s so difficult to get into the PFHOF and why the argument of who didn’t get into the Hall can be so difficult. With only five spots available, putting another player in means kicking another player out.
So every year is an adventure and this one won’t be any different. If you consider Ray Lewis and Randy Moss locks, that leaves 13 players for three spots. Is this the year Terrell Owens gets in? If so that leaves 12 players for two spots. What I find out every year (It’s my 23rd on the committee) is that I’m eliminating players I believe are Hall of Fame worthy. If a player makes the final 15, he has about an 88% chance of eventually being selected to the Hall.
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