Six new members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame were selected today in Indianapolis: Jack Butler, Dermontti Dawson, Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy, Curtis Martin and Willie Roaf.
The 44-member selection committee’s voting process starts with 15 modern-era candidates and two seniors candidates and then eliminates five modern-era candidates at a time until they’re ready to give up-or-down votes to the final five modern-era candidates and the two senior candidates.
The first five nominees eliminated were Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Eddie DeBartolo, Kevin Greene and Will Shields. The next five eliminated were Cris Carter, Charles Haley, Bill Parcells, Andre Reed and Aeneas Williams.
That left this list of modern-era finalists: Dawson, Doleman, Kennedy, Martin and Roaf. They all got in. Also selected was Butler, a cornerback with the 1950s Pittsburgh Steelers. The other seniors candidate, former Lions and Redskins guard Dick Stanfel, was voted down.
It’s notable that all three wide receivers up for selection were voted down. It’s been tough for wide receivers to distinguish themselves in recent years as passing numbers continue to explode and dwarf the numbers put up of receivers in years past. It’s also surprising that Shields was among the first five voted down — he seems to have a strong case as one of the best linemen of his era.
But today is less about the men who were voted down than about the men who were voted in. Six great players have been given the highest honor an NFL player can receive.