Tom Flores, Zach Thomas are Hall of Fame semifinalists for first time

Getty Images

As first-year eligible players, Champ Bailey, Tony Gonzalez and Ed Reed are expected to be Hall of Fame finalists. Indeed, they made the initial cut as the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the semifinalists for its Class of 2019.

It’s the presence of two other first-timers that comes as a surprise.

Coach Tom Flores and linebacker Zach Thomas made the list of 25 semifinalists for the first time.

Here is the full list of modern-era semifinalists, including their positions, years and teams:

• Steve Atwater, S – 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2012-19)

• Champ Bailey, CB – 1999-2003 Washington Redskins, 2004-2013 Denver Broncos (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2019)

• Ronde Barber, CB/S – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2018-19)

• Tony Boselli, T – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2016-19)

• Isaac Bruce, WR – 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2015-19)

• LeRoy Butler, S – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2018-19)

• Don Coryell, Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers (Times as a Semifinalist: 11 – 2005, 2010-19)

• Alan Faneca, G – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2016-19)

• Tom Flores, Coach – 1979-1987 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-94 Seattle Seahawks (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2019)

• Tony Gonzalez, TE – 1997-2008 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009-2013 Atlanta Falcons (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2019)

• Torry Holt, WR – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2015-19)

• Steve Hutchinson, G – 2001-05 Seattle Seahawks, 2006-2011 Minnesota Vikings, 2012 Tennessee Titans (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2018-19)

• Edgerrin James, RB – 1999-2005 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals, 2009 Seattle Seahawks (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2015-19)

• Jimmy Johnson, Coach – 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2014-19)

• Ty Law, CB – 1995-2004 New England Patriots, 2005, 2008 New York Jets, 2006-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009 Denver Broncos (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2015-19)

• John Lynch, FS – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos (Times as a Semifinalist: 7 – 2013-19)

• Clay Matthews, LB – 1978-1993 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2012, 2017, 2019)

• Kevin Mawae, C/G – 1994-97 Seattle Seahawks, 1998-2005 New York Jets, 2006-09 Tennessee Titans (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2015-19)

• Karl Mecklenburg, LB – 1983-1994 Denver Broncos (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2012-19)

• Sam Mills, LB – 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2016, 2019)

• Ed Reed, FS – 2002-2012 Baltimore Ravens, 2013 New York Jets, 2013 Houston Texans (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2019)

• Richard Seymour, DE/DT – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2018-2019)

• Zach Thomas, LB – 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2019)

• Hines Ward, WR – 1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2017-19)

• Darren Woodson, S – 1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2015, 2017, 2019)

Selectors started with an initial list of 103 nominees and will pare the list to 15 modern-era finalists, who are announced Jan. 3. The modern-era finalists will join senior finalist Johnny Robinson and contributor finalists Gil Brandt and Pat Bowlen on the ballot.

To earn election, candidates must receive 80 percent positive vote at the Feb. 2 selection meeting in Atlanta before Super Bowl LIII.

89 responses to “Tom Flores, Zach Thomas are Hall of Fame semifinalists for first time

  1. They should allow those that had not made it in like decades go first.It should had and always be that way. But sadly it is all politics and you have to have a SB championship to get in easily. Sad but true.

  2. There is no rule that states you have to enter someone into the HOF every year. Some years there are no worthy candidates. Stop watering it down.

  3. Jimmy Johnson again? C’mon, Jimmy’s a great studio guy but everyone knows he was just the front man for Jerry Jones’ genius football IQ. Jerry calls the shots and is the architect of the most dominant franchise in NFL history! Once again heading for another NFC East crown and beeline to another Lombardi.

  4. The wrong people decide who gets in to the Hall of Fame. It should be the players themselves – because they DO know who was great, and who was very good but not necessarily great. The writer’s have been given this privilege so that they will promote the NFL. Sadly, it is a political thing that the owners drive for money reasons.

    BTW, I see some people giving a thumbs down to the suggestion to induct Clay Matthews. I wonder how many of those giving a thumbs down know that it is not the player on the Packers, but rather his father (who WAS great) that is the semi-finalist.

  5. Edgerrin James should be in if LaDainian Tomlinson, Jerome Bettis and Curtis Martin are in. He was basically similar to Marshall Faulk in his role and although he never won a ring, he was a complete back and had several 2000 yard (rushing/receiving) in the early 2000’s.

    The real crime is that Roger Craig from those great 80’s 49ers teams is still on the outside looking in. He was thr prototype for some of the Thurman Thomas/Marshall Faulk types that came later.

  6. People say coaching the Raiders is near impossible yet the guy who won 2 Super Bowl’s, more than Madden even won, can’t get a sniff. Truly disgusting. Coryell should also been in a long time ago. Hopefully Bruce is the next Great WR in, although the complete bias towards the Steelers probably means Ward will be the next one.

  7. Atwater, Bailey, Reed, Gonzalez, and Mawae should be in like Flint. Ward and Woodson have outside shots. Someone mentioned on Tanier’s tweet collection that NFL HOF is like selecting a pope. Who knows in the end….

  8. If you’re questioning Flores you need to brush up on your football history, far from being a Raider fan, but Flores should receive serious consideration. First Hispanic starting QB in league history. First minority coach to win a SB. Has four SB rings – one as a player, one as assistant coach, and two as head coach. The only other guy to do that was Mike Ditka.

    He didn’t coach very long, and his overall record is tainted by two dismal final years in Oakland, and three ugly years coaching the Seahawks, but he had an impact on the game.

  9. Zach was a good LB, not worthy of the highest honor in football!!!! What are these folks thinking

  10. Tom Flores in the HOF? Hm, don’t think so with this track record. Only 5 out of 11 seasons over .500 (not including the strike shortened season)? Yeah, I don’t think so. Typical over-hyped Raider—who’s next? Gruden?

    Year W L
    1979 9 7
    1980 11 5
    1981 7 9
    1982 8 1
    1983 12 4
    1984 11 5
    1985 12 4
    1986 8 8
    1987 5 10
    1992 2 14
    1993 6 10
    1994 6 10
    97 87

  11. It’s strange. You gain eligibility after being retired for five years. I look at some of these names and swear they were just playing s year or two ago. Where the heck does time go?

  12. snobberknocker says:
    November 20, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    BTW, I see some people giving a thumbs down to the suggestion to induct Clay Matthews. I wonder how many of those giving a thumbs down know that it is not the player on the Packers, but rather his father (who WAS great) that is the semi-finalist.
    —————————————
    Furthermore, makes you wonder how many of them didn’t know you have to be out of the NFL for 5 years before you are even eligible. Didn’t he play on Thursday or is Clay Matthews III on IR or something so they’d at least have that excuse for such bone-headedness? Do you think they know his grandfather, Clay Matthews Sr, also played in the NFL?

  13. What we just saw last night with the Aerial Assault by both team ( Rams and Chief )
    is the direct result of the one coach that isn’t in the Hall of Fame….Yet

    Don Coryell

    The modern passing game we know today was all his

    Air Coryell

    Correct this longtime over site and and induct this this great innovative coach of the passing game

  14. Additionally, if any family should be called NFL royalty it’s the Matthews family, they have it over those Manning pretenders by sheer numbers. What are they at, 8 and counting? Anybody working on the next generation yet?

  15. “cowboysmb3dw28 says: November 20, 2018 at 10:17 pm. It’s strange. You gain eligibility after being retired for five years. I look at some of these names and swear they were just playing s year or two ago. Where the heck does time go?”

    It gets worse. You realize you saw the entire careers of a lot of guys. Didn’t I just see Champ Baily lay someone out?

  16. Reed, Gonzalez, Bailey, Hutch, Coryell, Robinson, Brandt, and Bowlen. Only 8 can get in, others on list deserving.

    I think all the above make this year except Hutch.

    Cliff Branch and Joe Jacoby not being in is an embarrassment to the league.

    And yes the voting process and people doing the voting needs changing. I think they take their task seriously, but too small of a cabal.

  17. great to finally see flores at least some respect. still complete joke coryell is not in yet. reality two spots are gone for sure. Gonzalez and reed. probably bailey unless some prefer law first. leaves likely one lineman.my order would be Hutchison,boselli,faneca,mawae. and a safety lynch or Atwater. last year had two receivers @ linebackers

    my vote would be reed Gonzalez,bailey,hutchison and coryell.

  18. You’re insane if Darren Woodson doesnt belong. Lynch does too. Reed as well. Atwater maybe. Give some dang love to the hitting safeties of teams that the safety truly made a dang difference. Crazy with as poor of safety play there is in today’s NFL, the ones that were studs for over a decade get poo pood.

  19. I am a huge Dolphins fan. If it were even LB to LB, I would actually vote for Mecklenburg before Zach.

    But that Bob Kuechenberg is not in the Hall is ridiculous.

  20. Coryell,Atwater,Mecklenberg – the Albino Rhino,Matthews,Gonzalez,Bosseli, Ed Reed, Hutchinison all belong in the HOF.

  21. Pro Football Hall of Fame, not the Stats Hall of Fame. If a guy or gal contributes to the development, promotion and popularity of the sport, why not elect them or at worse, have them on the ballot. No reason to bellyache about who it is.

  22. goatbubba says:
    November 21, 2018 at 12:13 am
    You’re insane if Darren Woodson doesnt belong. Lynch does too. Reed as well. Atwater maybe. Give some dang love to the hitting safeties of teams that the safety truly made a dang difference. Crazy with as poor of safety play there is in today’s NFL, the ones that were studs for over a decade get poo pood.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________

    Jack Tatum was emulated by all the great hard hitting safeties including Ronnie Lott and isn’t in but should be.

  23. You’re insane if Darren Woodson doesnt belong. Lynch does too. Reed as well. Atwater maybe. Give some dang love to the hitting safeties of teams that the safety truly made a dang difference. Crazy with as poor of safety play there is in today’s NFL, the ones that were studs for over a decade get poo pood.
    =====

    LeRoy Butler was better than 3 of the guys you named.

  24. Complete bias against Zach Thomas. Urlacher and Thomas played the same 12 years. They have nearly identical numbers and Pro-Bowl Selections. The only difference is Urlacher had 40 Sacks and Thomas had 21, BUT… Thomas had more Tackles by over 350, lead in Forced Fumbles and Recoveries (meaning a lot more than a Sack). But Hey, Sacks sell… Urlacher 8 Pro Bowls and Thomas 7. Pretty even I would say. Gonzales and Reed are locks.

  25. LeRoy Butler – 4x 1st team All-Pro, 1990s All-Decade Team, 2 Super Bowls, 38 INTs, 889 tackles, 20.5 sacks

    Darren Woodson – 4x 1st team All-Pro, 3 Super Bowls, 23 INTs, 951 tackles, 11 sacks

    John Lynch – 3x 1st team All-Pro, 1 Super Bowl, 26 INTs, 1054 tackles, 13 sacks

    Steve Atwater – 2x 1st team All-Pro, 3 Super Bowls, 24 INTs, 1180 tackles, 5 sacks

  26. Please accept Sam Mills. A true professional, who’s impact is still having affect on the game. His message of “Keep Pounding” has become the battle-cry for the Panthers organization and for countless others battling hardships.

  27. I am sorry, but the HOF just does not mean as much as it use to. You use to have to be a real bad ass at your position. Now it seems every Tom Dick and Harry can get in. 90% of that list should not even been mentioned as a potential HOF player.Just like the rules in the NFL now days, it is no where near the NFL it use to be.

  28. The HOF lost ALL credibility when they put Terrel Davis in. What a pathetic joke.
    =====

    He was the best running back in teh League for 3 years.. in the same era as Barry, Emmitt, and Marshall Faulk.

    If that’s not a HOF’r, what is?

  29. Flores was a great HC for the Raiders (although not for Seattle). I especially admire what he did with the 1980 Raiders. Al Davis had traded Stabler, Tatum and Casper. Also, Shell and Upshaw were getting up there in age. So the “expert” prognosticators were largely picking the Raiders for last place in the AFCW.

    And yet after Jim Plunkett replaced Pastorini he was superb due to Flores’ coaching. The defense led by Hendricks was also better than expected. And Kenny King was an excellent acquisition. They were called a “Cinderella” team because they exceeded all expectations and went on to win SB 15.

  30. pftcancer says:
    November 20, 2018 at 8:14 pm
    Still don’t know how Edgerrin James gets so much love. I don’t see it…
    _________________________________________________

    EASY. 12,246 career rushing yards and he missed [nearly] a full season in his prime due to a torn ACL. Which he came back from and then had 5 – that’s FIVE consecutive seasons with an average of 1338 yards rushing. His 91 career TD’s don’t hurt either. Edge should already be in with those numbers. Oh, he led the league in rushing twice, too.

  31. Tony Gonzalez and Ed Reed are LOCKS. The rest is up in the air. I will say, anyone who saw Clay Matthews SENIOR play, would know he is a HOFer. That dude was a BEAST.

  32. junkmagnet2013 says:
    November 21, 2018 at 10:51 am
    Flores should have been in a LONG TIME AGO! The guy won two Superbowls. Jim Plunkett too. Ridiculous neither of them have ever made it to the finals.

    ————-

    Flores was mediocre at best. If they let him in then they should let Jon Gruden in.

  33. araidersfan says:
    November 21, 2018 at 10:29 am

    Flores was a great HC for the Raiders (although not for Seattle). I especially admire what he did with the 1980 Raiders. Al Davis had traded Stabler, Tatum and Casper. Also, Shell and Upshaw were getting up there in age. So the “expert” prognosticators were largely picking the Raiders for last place in the AFCW.

    And yet after Jim Plunkett replaced Pastorini he was superb due to Flores’ coaching. The defense led by Hendricks was also better than expected. And Kenny King was an excellent acquisition. They were called a “Cinderella” team because they exceeded all expectations and went on to win SB 15.

    ———————————————————————–

    First wildcard team to ever win a Super Bowl. It would be 17 years before another wildcard won another. Opened up at home defeating Earl Campbell, Snake and the Oilers. Followed that up on the road defeating Brian Sipe, Greg Pruitt and the Cardiac Kids Browns. Then took on Dan Fouts, Kellen Winslow Sr and the Chargers in San Diego and outscored them. Then blew out the Eagles with Ron Jaworski, Wilbert Mongomery at New Orleans in the Super Bowl. I was there and one of the few Raiders fans. Bourbon street was loaded with Eagles fans in their big Eagles hats. That was the game where the night before John Matuszak took on 10-15 New Orleans police officers at 3 in the morning the day of the Super Bowl. Matuszak was released from custody around 5 am and played in the Super Bowl anyway. A great year.

  34. Flores was mediocre at best. If they let him in then they should let Jon Gruden in.
    =====

    94 wins with the Raiders in 9 years.. 2 Super Bowls

    Dungy got in because he was a minority coach. Flores is also a minority coach…. with TWICE as many Titles.

  35. It could be all defensive backs and I’d be fine with that. The five I’d pick would be Boselli, Butler, Gonzalez, Ward, and Reed. Mawae and Hutchinson both would be fine, too. And I’m glad to see Don Coryell get some love. The game we see now owes a lot to what Coryell was doing in St. Louis and San Diego in the 1970s.

  36. Zack Thomas. I know you all have your favourites and probably can’t remember much about him if you don’t follow the Dolphins but this man was a player period. Other than the obvious ” One” Thomas is my favourite all time Dolphin.

  37. pretty crazy that late 90s/early 00s dolphins d had 3 hof caliber players…jason taylor, zach thomas, & sam madison

  38. “pretty crazy that late 90s/early 00s dolphins d had 3 hof caliber players…jason taylor, zach thomas, & sam madison”

    and Richmond Webb and Dan Marino on the other side. Kind of crazy

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.