Peyton Manning, Calvin Johnson, Charles Woodson headline Hall of Fame finalists

USA TODAY Sports

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the 15 modern-era finalists for the Class of 2021.

Six of the 15 are finalists for the first time.

Jared Allen, Calvin Johnson, Peyton Manning and Charles Woodson are a vote away from Canton in their first year of eligibility.

In addition, Ronde Barber and Clay Matthews Jr., who previously were eligible, made the list for the first time. Matthews, who played for the Browns from 1978-93 and Falcons from 1994-96, is in his 20th year of eligibility. Barber, who played for the Bucs from 1997-2012, is in his fourth season of eligibility.

The selection committee will consider the 15 modern-era finalists for election into the Hall of Fame during the annual meeting. The meeting usually is held in-person the day before the Super Bowl, but this year, selectors will meet virtually Jan. 19.

The committee will elect a maximum of five modern-era players, who must receive a positive vote of at least 80 percent for election.

Coach Tom Flores, contributor Bill Nunn and seniors candidate Drew Pearson also are up for election in the Class of 2021.

The 2021 Modern-Era Player Finalists with their positions, years and teams:

Jared Allen, Defensive End – 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers
Ronde Barber, Cornerback/Safety – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tony Boselli, Tackle – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve)
LeRoy Butler, Safety – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers
Alan Faneca, Guard – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals
Torry Holt, Wide Receiver – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars
Calvin Johnson, Wide Receiver – 2007-2015 Detroit Lions
John Lynch, Safety – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning, Quarterback – 1998-2011 Indianapolis Colts (injured reserve 2011), 2012-15 Denver Broncos
Clay Matthews Jr., Linebacker – 1978-1993 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons
Sam Mills, Linebacker – 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers
Richard Seymour, Defensive End/Defensive Tackle – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders
Zach Thomas, Linebacker – 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys
Reggie Wayne, Wide Receiver – 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts
Charles Woodson, Cornerback/Safety – 1998-2005, 2013-15 Oakland Raiders, 2006-2012 Green Bay Packers

62 responses to “Peyton Manning, Calvin Johnson, Charles Woodson headline Hall of Fame finalists

  1. Hoping Eric Allen, Tasker or Darren Woodson would have advanced. No Patrick Willis or Hines Ward either … congrats to Seymour, Mills and Matthews making it.

  2. LeRoy Butler and Charles Woodson are obvious choices to get in the Hall.

    It will remain a absolute travesty until Sterling Sharpe also gets in The Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

  3. If Willie Anderson played for a better team or in a big market he would already be in. Best RT in the league for a decade.

  4. Peyton Manning’s HOF speech being disrupted by Covid would be a freakin downer. Just wouldn’t be the same over Zoom.

  5. Seeing Holt and Wayne on this list makes me feel old. Feels like yesterday they were rookies.

  6. Anyone who thinks Calvin Johnson doesn’t belong in the HOF just does not understand football.

  7. Mr. Clay Matthews Jr.
    Better ‘stats’ than more that are already in
    Tough as nails
    Long overdue…

  8. A special thanks to PFT for posting the list when writing a story about a list. Unlike a certain website which may or may not be located near Bristol, CT., you have the wisdom to include the list in the story, rather than asking us to read word spam that describes the list in paragraph from — which is possibly the lowest form of editorial quality. Praise to you. As for the finalists, I say Allen only gets in if his bust includes the full mullet.

  9. I may be in the minority here, but I think they put way too many guys into the Hall Of Fame. I’m having trouble saying yes definitely to anyone on this list not names Manning or Woodson. Don’t get me wrong, they were all good, but I’ve forgotten some of these guys even existed.

  10. LeRoy Butler is better than Lynch. He’s better than Atwater, who is already in. The irony is Woodson could keep Butler out for another year. My view:

    Manning
    Woodson
    Faneca (way overdue)
    Butler (way overdue)
    Matthews Jr. (I’m old, trust me on this one)
    Flores or Nunn; my preference would be Nunn, who is a unique historical figure in the league, although Flores is also way overdue

    Zach Thomas and Megatron both deserve a long look as well.

  11. Manning and Woodson=slam dunk

    Megatron’s stats are dominant but he was just stats.

    Other deserving names and some reaches, but nice to be recognized.

  12. Ronde Barber is the greatest nickel CB to ever play the game, damn near invented the position. Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn’t know football. He should have been first ballot….if he doesn’t get in this year the HOF is a joke.

  13. As time goes on, when will Steve Tasker finally get his due. Special teams back then was more difficult than it is now ( with all the new rule changes they put in)…….Steve was an undersized star with a big heart, making big hits on punts and kickoffs, especially his forte of blocking punts. The Hall needs to realize special teams is an important part of the game and it’s a travesty he has not made it in the hallowed walls of Canton yet.

  14. Ronde may not have even been the best Barber. He’s not in. Never thought Leroy Butler was a household name either. Woodson, Manning, Megatron, Faneca, and Matthews. What the heck is Seymour doing in this group? Product of a system in NE.

  15. Have you heard of the Lambeau Leap? Yes? LeRoy Butler invented it. He was an integral part of the 1996 superbowl run and retired the SPLIT second he thought he wasn’t gonna be able to give his team the best. He was also an incredible Cover Safety, which wasn’t really a thing safeties did at the time, but since him? You can’t even play Safety if you can’t break up a pass every now and then. He’s a pioneer of the modern era and is long overdue for enshrinement.

  16. System or not Seymour was a load who played all over the line, even at nose tackle. Interior linemen dont get enough respect and he has a chance to make it.

  17. Not a Lions fan; but, Megatron has been discussed on PFT a few times before. He was the best WR in football for 4-6 years straight on a team without any other players. If Terrell Davis gets in for 4 good/great years with the dirtiest OL in NFL history… Megatron should get in for 6 good/great years with no support.

  18. John Lynch. LOL. He might get in the AwfulAnnouncing.com HOF. But the Pro Football Hall Of Fame? LOL No.

  19. Patrick H says:
    January 5, 2021 at 8:10 pm
    Have you heard of the Lambeau Leap? Yes? LeRoy Butler invented it. He was an integral part of the 1996 superbowl run and retired the SPLIT second he thought he wasn’t gonna be able to give his team the best. He was also an incredible Cover Safety, which wasn’t really a thing safeties did at the time, but since him? You can’t even play Safety if you can’t break up a pass every now and then. He’s a pioneer of the modern era and is long overdue for enshrinement.

    Actually I think it was Robert Brooks who started the Lambeau Leap.

  20. Torry holts hands were some of the greatest of our time no way he doesn’t get in

  21. Hines Ward > Calvin Johnson only because of long term stats and MVP. Megatron shoudl definitely make it at some pont.

  22. It was Butler that started the Leap but Brooks popularized it. A hell of a receiver with a short career. Between Sharpe, Brooks, Freeman, Driver, Walker, Jennings, Nelson, Cobb, Jones and Adams, a lot of accomplished recievers, despite only two championships.

  23. If it’s truly the Hall of Fame and not the Hall of Really Good…..then only Manning and Woodson gets in.

  24. “Torry holts hands were some of the greatest of our time no way he doesn’t get in”

    Holt will get in eventually, but I doubt this is the year.

  25. Hoping this is finally the year for coach Raider coach Tom Flores… first Latino coach to win a Super Bowl then repeat that same feat a couple of years later.

  26. Steve Atwater in the HoF

    Years played: 11
    Interceptions: 24
    TD’s: 1
    Forced Fumbles: 6
    Sacks: 5
    Solo tackles: 334

    LeRoy Butler

    Years played: 12
    Interceptions: 38
    TD’s: 3
    Forced Fumbles: 13
    Sacks: 20.5
    Solo tackles: 474

    Atwater entered the HoF last year and LeRoy didn’t. Rumor is Butler isn’t allowed because too many Packers are already in the the Hall of Fame. If that’s true this is a sad commentary on Canton.

    Butler continues to be part of the Packers organization as a coach in the past and remains active in the Green Bay community.

    He should be a lock.

  27. Megatron was mostly garbage time stats from a garbage time QB. Never won anything. Neither really belong in the HOF.

  28. Megatron has unimpressive stats for a Hall of Fame receiver. Check again. 31st in yards. 47th in receptions. 23rd TDs. Great receiver, but hardly legendary stuff. If it weren’t for a catchy nickname, no one would or should remember this guy.

  29. I’m getting old……most of these fellows I think of as “youngsters.” Still; impressive list for the most part.

  30. Of the group listed:

    Peyton Manning, Jared Allen, Clay Mathews Jr
    Zach Thomas
    Charles Woodson

    Missing from the list:

    Henry Ellard (3rd all time in receiving yards when he retired)
    London Fletcher (2nd all time in tackles and combined tackles)
    Jessie Tuggle (4th all time in combined tackles)
    Cliff Branch
    Harold Jackson
    Billy Howton
    Stanley Morgan
    Art Powell
    Carroll Dale

  31. This looks more like a list of the Hall of Good than the Hall of Fame.

    We are inducting *WAY* too many players into Canton.

  32. thebeeper says:
    January 5, 2021 at 8:01 pm

    As time goes on, when will Steve Tasker finally get his due.

    * * *

    Steve Tasker autorec. They always TELL us special teams are important. Then they can’t figure out how to put the ST GOAT into the Hall. Shameful.

  33. Any undersized linebacker in high school that thinks they can’t make it to colleg or the pros, needs to watch all Zach Thomas game film, complete beast!!

  34. Richard Seymour is very underrated. Had to play in Belichick’s two-gap system, so he doesn’t have the stats other HOF linemen have. Definitely had to be accounted for by opposing coaches, and allowed Patriot linebackers to do the clean-up work.

  35. Alan Faneca played an unsexy position and is not as big of a name as some of these new names. That being said he deserves to get voted in this year, its been overdue.

  36. Butler is very deserving. Look at his numbers, and his play was critical in the SuperBowl victory. All-Pro four times.

    Next.

  37. Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson, Richard Seymour, and Reggie Wayne will all get in. Not sure about the rest.

  38. Hall of Fame: Show Sam the Love.
    Sam Mills was an outstanding NFL player, great hitter, great instincts, great leader- among the very best ever that played the game. It would be wonderful if he could get in, even if posthumously. 12 years in the NFL and 3 years in the USFL, also as an NFL coach – 5x pro bowls, 3x all-pro, 3x All USFL, arguably the best defensive player in the USFL that had Reggie White in it- yeah go figure. On the Hall of Fame/ring of honor on 2 NFL Teams.
    Number one question about Sam Mills: “He was only 5’9”. Number one quote of any coach who had him on his team:
    “Did you See him Hit?”

  39. Funny how Deion Sanders said too many players were being inducted into the HOF……after he was inducted.

  40. Steve Atwater
    2x 1st Team All-Pro
    1x 2nd Team All-Pro
    1990s All-Decade Team

    Brian Dawkins
    4x 1st Team All-Pro
    1x 2nd Team All-Pro
    2000s All-Decade Team

    Troy Polamalu
    4x 1st Team All-Pro
    2x 2nd Team All-Pro
    2000 All-Decade Team

    LeRoy Butler
    4x 1st Team All-Pro
    1990s All-Decade Team

    John Lynch
    2x 1st Team All-Pro
    2x 2nd Team All-Pro
    NOT on an All-Decade Team

    .. pretty clear which S should go in next.

    Frankly, Atwater jumped Butler in line somehow.

  41. Megatron has unimpressive stats for a Hall of Fame receiver.
    =====

    His averages his final 5 years; 92 rec, 1485 yards, 50 tds, 99 yds/game

    Thats Rice-like.. Moss-like

  42. Leroy Butler:

    – 38 career interceptions
    – 20½ career sacks
    – Four-time first-team All-Pro
    – 1990s All-Decade Team
    – Super Bowl XXXI champion
    – Inventor of the Lambeau Leap

    He is the only member of the 1990s All-Decade Team not in the Hall.

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