Three first-year eligible players were among the class of 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which was announced Thursday night.
Quarterback Brett Favre, wide receiver Terrell Owens and guard Alan Faneca join a deep group of players and coaches from previous years, from which only five modern-era candidate can emerge from the vote held the day before the Super Bowl.
The remaining finalists include the five who were reduced in the vote from 10 finalists to five last year, likely giving them an advantage this year: Linebacker Kevin Greene, quarterback Kurt Warner, tackle Orlando Pace, wide receiver Marvin Harrison and coach Tony Dungy.
The rest of the 15-man class of finalists include: Kicker Morten Andersen, safety Steve Atwater, coach Don Coryell, running back Terrell Davis, tackle Joe Jacoby, running back Edgerrin James and safety John Lynch.
Andersen, Coryell, Davis and Lynch made the final 15 last year, while Atwater, James and Jacoby made the finals for the first time.
That group will be voted upon along with this year’s senior finalists (quarterback Ken Stabler and guard Dick Stanfel) and contributor Edward DeBartolo, Jr. Those three are voted upon separately, and need 80 percent of a yes-no vote to be approved.