2022 Hall of Fame finalists include Andre Johnson, DeMarcus Ware, Devin Hester

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The Pro Football Hall of Fame released the 15 modern-era finalists for the Class of 2022.

Three first-year finalists — Andre Johnson, DeMarcus Ware and Devin Hester — made the list as did two players who previously were eligible but are finalists for the first time. Former 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis is a finalist for the first time in his third year of eligibility, and former Bengals and Ravens offensive tackle Willie Anderson made the list for the first time in his ninth year of eligibility.

The selection committee will meet virtually Jan. 18 to decide the Class of 2022, with the announcement of the inductees announced Feb. 10. The class can have up to five modern-era players, each of whom must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent for election.

In addition, the ballot also includes Dick Vermeil in the coach category, Art McNally in the contributor category and Cliff Branch in the senior category.

The modern-era finalists were determined by a vote of the selection committee from a list of 123 nominees named in September and reduced to 26 semifinalists on Nov. 24.

The modern-era finalists, along with their positions, years and teams are:

• Jared Allen, Defensive End – 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers

• Willie Anderson, Offensive Tackle – 1996-2007 Cincinnati Bengals, 2008 Baltimore Ravens

• Ronde Barber, Cornerback/Safety – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

• Tony Boselli, Offensive Tackle – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve)

• LeRoy Butler, Safety – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers

• Devin Hester, Punt Returner/Kick Returner/Wide Receiver – 2006-2013 Chicago Bears, 2014-15 Atlanta Falcons, 2016 Baltimore Ravens

• Torry Holt, Wide Receiver – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars

• Andre Johnson, Wide Receiver – 2003-2014 Houston Texans, 2015 Indianapolis Colts, 2016 Tennessee Titans

• 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

• DeMarcus Ware, Linebacker/Defensive End – 2005-2013 Dallas Cowboys, 2014-16 Denver Broncos

• Reggie Wayne, Wide Receiver – 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts

• Patrick Willis, Linebacker – 2007-2014 San Francisco 49ers

• Bryant Young, Defensive Tackle/Defensive End – 1994-2007 San Francisco 49ers

94 responses to “2022 Hall of Fame finalists include Andre Johnson, DeMarcus Ware, Devin Hester

  1. Steve Smith didn’t make it, but the 3 WRs on the list are worthy additions. Particularly Andre Johnson who was unguardable in his prime.

  2. Barber, Seymour, maybe Willis. Not the strongest lineup this year. Loved watching Hester but don’t know if kick returners get much Hall of Fame support.

  3. Devin Hester should get in. When he does, it’s time to get Steve Tasker in there as well. Can’t have love for the returners but not the gunners. Both, especially when they’re the best of all time, are game-changers.

  4. Willie Anderson would already be in if he were on a better team. Modern stats would have loved the guy. Devin Hester should get more love. He played a specific position often overlooked but he was better at it than just about one in history.

  5. Not a strong class but Willis and Seymour are deserving, possibly Andre Johnson. The rest are good/very good players but not Hall worthy. No one outside of Tampa ever thinks about Rhonda Barber and the Hall of Fame together.

  6. Willie Anderson deserves it above all the others on that list… best right tackle EVER. Anderson only surrendered 16 sacks in his 13 year career and did not give up a sack between 1999 and 2001. The 11 quarterback pressures he allowed in 2006 were the fourth fewest pressures allowed by an offensive tackle in a season between 2006 and 2011.
    Anderson played nine of the 10 top pass rushers in his 13 seasons in the NFL and surrendered one sack to all nine. It was to Hall-of-Famer Bruce Smith, the all-time leader.

  7. Not sure why more Patriots are not on the short list. McGinest; Seymour; Law; Bruschi; Solder; Harrison; Vrabel. This isn’t right. And I’m a Colts fan.

  8. And still no Steve Tasker? This guy helped bring prominence to the importance of Special Teams. Give me a break.

  9. Leroy Butler is the only player of the all 90s team not in. Compare his stats to HOFer John Lynch. Butler’s stats are better.

  10. Thomas should of been in long ago. He has better stats then most LB that played during his time and prior

  11. Ridiculous that Cliff Branch isn’t it yet. I’m a Steeler fan so not being a home team fan here. Guy was ridiculous. Tyreek Hill is the only WR since Branch that I think scares teams as much with his speed. Get him I’m there. Especially the year we lost Madden

  12. Hall of Fame won’t be right until special teams Ace Steve Tasker gets in.

  13. Zach Thomas retired as statistically the greatest MLB in NFL history (at least for guys they had stats for)….. WHY IS HE STILL WAITING?!

  14. just1an2average3sports4fan says:
    December 30, 2021 at 6:23 pm
    Not sure why more Patriots are not on the short list. McGinest; Seymour; Law; Bruschi; Solder; Harrison; Vrabel. This isn’t right. And I’m a Colts fan.
    ——
    Ty Law is already in.

    Seymour- yes
    Bruschi – eventually
    Solder – no
    Harrison- unfortunately no
    Vrabel- no

  15. haughville says:
    December 30, 2021 at 7:40 pm
    Reggie Wayne is a no brainer
    —-
    Dunno about that. Product of his QB imo but he will get in eventually.

  16. Sam Mills and Zach Thomas. Undersized guys who hustled every single play. Loved watching those guys. They were all heart.

  17. Terrell Davis made career statistics meaningless. Apparently 1-2 great years is all you need and all of the players on this list have at least 2.

  18. As for Devin Hester being a punt returner someone recently said this about David Ortiz getting in the baseball HOF as a DH: When you are the best there ever was at your position you are a Hall of Famer.

  19. eremy3186 says:
    December 30, 2021 at 7:18 pm
    Zach Thomas retired as statistically the greatest MLB in NFL history (at least for guys they had stats for)….. WHY IS HE STILL WAITING?!
    ——————————————————————————————————————
    When Zach retired, Ray Lewis already had more tackles, sacks and interceptions. Zach should be in the HoF. Your statement about statistics is wrong though. I didn’t count the seasons after Zach retired and Ray kept playing either.

  20. 2022 should be the year that finally tips the scales in LeRoy Butler’s favor.
    A quality player who dominated at the Safety position for several years.
    A Super Bowl Champion, who also happens to be the only member of the All-90’s team that hasn’t been enshrined already.
    Looking forward to seeing his bust in Canton and his name unveiled among the greats in Lambeau Field.

  21. Why no Vince Wilfork? Why does the HOF hate interior linemen? And more importantly why do they hate the NT position most of all? Kickers get more love than the NT position.

  22. Why Devin Hester:

    Don’t you want the hall to be for guys you want to tell your grandkids about? There are some other good names on this list but none that changed the game like Hester. Consider that THEY DID NOT KICK TO HIM in his age 25 and 26 seasons out of FEAR. He would have had 50 TD returns instead of his record 20 if other teams could not kick the ball out of bounds on purpose.

    The Denny Green “the Bears are who we thought they were” presser came off the heels of Rex Grossman turning it over six times in a victory. Because of Devin Hester.

    No one has ever been a GOAT at their position quite like Hester. Yes, he’s a return specialist and not a marquee position . Who cares. He was electrifying and my favorite player ever to talk about.

  23. Richard Seymour is a hall of famer. I just dont get why he’s not being put into it. Lots of other great players in this list too, but Seymour is the 34DE prototype that ran over so many people while playing in NE. He was their best defensive player on a team that won “defense first” super bowls.

  24. Brian Mitchell should be in before Hester. Just sayin….he was among the leaders in all purpose yards….

  25. This HAS to be the weakest class ever. There is not a single player on that list that is a “no doubter”.

  26. What?! No clue about how holt and Tomas aren’t in?!
    Dude, try no clue s to cliff branch being not in!!! The ORIGINAL speedster.

    Learn it, live it, speed kills

    THAT is the only player on the entire list who anyone should CONTINUALLY be surprised at NOT being in.

    If not, you simply haven’t paid attention to the growth of the game.

  27. With how difficult it is for kickers and punters to get in – guys that have huge impacts on games – I don’t see how Hester gets in.

  28. Zach Thomas’s numbers are just as good ss Brian Urlacher…look it up so is it about numbers or something else? Maybe nfl politics…..

  29. Hester absolutely deserves to get in. He is the all-time leader in punt/kick return touchdowns, All Decade Team for the 2000s and 2010s, and that does even really begin to describe his impact in games. People tend to forget that he did that while teams actively avoided kicking to him—to the point that teams made their punters kick it out of bounds as often as possible, and would rather eat a penalty on kick offs than allow him to get a shot at returning the ball. The Bears started drives on their 40 often while they had him back there because the other teams didn’t even want to give him a chance. That’s insane and flat-out never happened with any other returner ever. The NFL even moved up kicks in no small part to try and negate his impacts on games—it was referred to *at the time* as the Hester Rule. The NFL changed the rules to try and nerf him. He is absolutely worthy of the Hall.

  30. Rodney Harrisin deserves induction arguably more than anyone on this list he has the 3rd higheat playoff interception total he is a 2time sb champion is 1 of only 2 players in league history as well as the the only db in history who recorded 30 or more sacks and 30or more ints…he was also as sound a tackler as the position has seen and a brutal hitter. The pats upgraded at the position when they parted ways with Milloy in sept03 and made Harrison one of their team captains. There was no player on that pats defense who had a greater or kore consistent positive impact during their back2back championship run and their defense back then was the better half of those SB winning teams. Brady Law and Belichick have all strongly advocated for his induction. His continual absence from the HOF is likely the most significant reason why Belichick has openly questioned the entire HOF voting process and its lack of transparency or consistency of criteria defining/governing what does and doesnt constitute HOF recognition status.

  31. Seth Joyner absolutely needs to be in. Only player in NFL history with 50 sacks and 20 INTs.

  32. I have never understood why there is an “eligibility period” and a finite # of players who can go in each year. The player is either an HOFer or not an HOFer. What also makes it so difficult for Football is that HOF is an individual honor, but the sport is a Team Sport.

  33. The senior committee needs to get bobby dillon into the hall he was one of the finest defensive backs to every play the game and did it with vision in only one eye he was a stallion.

  34. But seriously Zach Thomas was the best linebacker of his time, probably the smallest too; but my goodness he was unbelievable to watch.

  35. Hester is the only absolute on this list. He was the best returner of all time.

    I agree with those saying that Tasker also should be in.

    The rest of the group is a mix.

    Boselli would be obvious except his career was too short.

    Wills should make it eventually.

    None of the rest really stand out.

  36. Holt, Wayne and Johnson

    The other two are tougher. I think Willis was a more dominating player than Thomas and Mills even though I really like all three of them.

    Anderson should probably be over Boselli due to his level of play over a longer period of time even though Boselli was maybe the best ever for a couple of years there.

    I wouldn’t put Barber in over Holt because both were surrounded by hall of fame peers but I think Holt played a bigger role with GSOT then Barber did with Lynch, Brooks and Sapp. At best they are equals.

  37. The NFL HOF hates NTs; therefore, it will not consider any for election. However leaving Fred Smerlas (Bills) out is insane. Ted Washington should get some consideration too. No one, two or even three players could move big Ted from his spot.

  38. haughville says:
    December 30, 2021 at 7:40 pm
    Reggie Wayne is a no brainer
    —-
    Dunno about that. Product of his QB imo but he will get in eventually.

    Name a (any) wide receiver that was never a product of the QB position.

  39. There a bunch of commenters on here who should probably go watch Ronde Barber’s highlight reel .

  40. Not impressed with the HOF. Too many marginal guys who ya, PUT UP NUMBERS in an extended season.
    Used to be 12 game season, then 14 for a long time before 16 and now 17. Second. some numbers were not counted way back when. I read Deacon Jones by all acounts was the greatest defensive lineman of all time and they didnt count sacks back then but if they did his numbers would be insane.
    Thus, its almost fictional now. The 50’s and 60’s and goo part of the 70’s it was a run orientated game so passing numbers would be down. Now its fiip flop and running numbers are down and passing are insane. 500 yds a game (Burrows) for a guy who just started shaving?
    Of course with all the penalties on the defensive backs now, sure makes passing a lot easier.
    Should have had the forsight to have two halls, modern day and past day.
    I actually got to see some of the greatest play and these guys now are just me me me guys. Its all about getting the numbers of reps or else.

  41. PhinsJunkie says:
    December 31, 2021 at 10:58 am
    haughville says:
    December 30, 2021 at 7:40 pm
    Reggie Wayne is a no brainer
    —-
    Dunno about that. Product of his QB imo but he will get in eventually.

    Name a (any) wide receiver that was never a product of the QB position.
    ——
    Well I’d say any guy who elevates their QB to a superstar. Rice. Dominated with 3 QBs. Moss. Elevated both Brady and Culpepper to a level or two better than they were. TO. Irvin. There’s a bunch of them.

    Did Wayne elevate Manning to be even better or was he a product of one of the all time greatest QBs? Dunno. Not saying Wayne didn’t put up great numbers – but it is the Hall of Fame not the Hall of I put up big numbers with a Legendary QB…

  42. Hester was a great return player. He got lots of practice, because the Bears were awful during the time he played. A big part of why they were dreadful was the Bears kept trying to make him a wide receiver. Unfortunately, Hester could not run a route or catch to save his life. Worst WR ever!!!!

  43. ——————————————————————————————————————
    When Zach retired, Ray Lewis already had more tackles, sacks and interceptions. Zach should be in the HoF. Your statement about statistics is wrong though. I didn’t count the seasons after Zach retired and Ray kept playing either.

    _____________________________________

    My understanding is when he retired (in 2008) he had more tackles, and tackles per game, both solo and combined than any MLB in history. Yes, Ray Lewis passed him shortly after, but while they played side by side (both were drafted in 1996) … Thomas had more tackles.

  44. just1an2average3sports4fan says:
    December 30, 2021 at 6:23 pm
    Not sure why more Patriots are not on the short list. McGinest; Seymour; Law; Bruschi; Solder; Harrison; Vrabel. This isn’t right. And I’m a Colts fan.
    ————-
    Law is already in. From that list, I would only consider Seymour and Harrison (better than John Lynch) as HOF material. Sorry.

  45. Steve Smith was consistently an offensive weapon for the majority of his time in the NFL. Compared to Andre Johnson, who was a beast for a comparatively shorter term, the snub of Smith is just plain wrong and borders on criminal. Not saying Johnson doesn’t belong but for him to be enshrined before (or without) Smith is not right.
    Full Disclosure: I am a fan of neither the Panthers or the Ravens and was often put off by Steve Smith’s arrogance and posturing. He was, however, a 1st Ballot talent.

  46. Excited that Butler should finally get in.

    Lots of marginal finalists there.

    .. curious why Holmgren seems to be getting frozen out? He should have gone in ahead of Cowher and Dungy.

  47. I find it amusing how people complain about who will be elected, while so few of the complainers will actually visit the Hall.

  48. firejerry says:
    December 31, 2021 at 12:49 pm
    Hester was a great return player. He got lots of practice, because the Bears were awful during the time he played. A big part of why they were dreadful was the Bears kept trying to make him a wide receiver. Unfortunately, Hester could not run a route or catch to save his life. Worst WR ever!!!!
    __________________________________________________________
    They literally went to a Super Bowl with him, in which he returned the opening kick off for a touchdown. They had a total of two seasons under 500 while he was there, and they were 7-9 both those years. Hardly awful.

  49. Andre Johnson has 62 more catches then Hines Ward. Hines Ward played in 3 more Super Bowls, won 2 and was MVP in one of them. It is a travesty if a middling wr like him goes into the Hall before the greatest blocking wr of all time.

  50. Andre Johnson has 62 more catches then Hines Ward. Hines Ward played in 3 more Super Bowls, won 2 and was MVP in one of them. It is a travesty if a middling wr like him goes into the Hall before the greatest blocking wr of all time.
    ==========

    Johnson played for an expansion team.

    No kidding he couldn’t get to 3 Super Bowls.

  51. Problem with the HOF is that it’s become more of a popularity contest then stats driven.

  52. Again, how does Henry Ellard does not make this list and the HOF? 3rd all time in receiving yards when he retired in 1998 (HOF Rice and Lofton ahead of him). Who were his QB’s? He was far better than Tory Holt who is on this list, better than Reggie Wayne and Andre Johnson (check all purpose yards). Not close. Yet again, overlooked. The HOF is a joke.

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