This year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame class has the sizzle. Next year’s may feature more steak.
With high-profile wide receivers Terrell Owens and Randy Moss elected yesterday, along with first-year eligible linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, it sets the stage for an interesting group of candidates next year. Or at least a larger group.
The players who survive the cut from 15 to 10 but fall short of election are generally among the favorites the following year, and four of the five in that club yesterday were offensive linemen: Tackle Tony Boselli, guards Alan Faneca and Steve Hutchinson, and center Kevin Mawae. Cornerback Ty Law was the little guy among the six-to-10 group.
They’ll be joined by first-year eligibles Tony Gonzalez, Champ Bailey, and Ed Reed next year.
Because they don’t have counting stats or flashy highlights, it’s often hard for the big guys to gain traction with voters, or at least more than one per year.
But the Hall’s selection committee has worked to create a balance, and in the last 10 years of modern-era classes, nine linemen have been selected: Tackle Orlando Pace (2016), guard Will Shields (2015), tackle Walter Jones (2014), guard Larry Allen and tackle Jonathan Ogden (2013), tackle Willie Roaf and center Dermontti Dawson (2012), guard Russ Grimm (2010), and guard Randall McDaniel (2009).