The NFL Hall of Fame has released their list of 15 finalists for this year's induction class. In order for these finalists to make the Hall, they much earn support from 80% of the voters, which consists of media members from each NFL city, as well as 14 other appointed members.
New England's delegate is the Boston Herald's Ron Borges, who also helps select "Senior finalists", a nominee from prior to 1989 who might not receive a full understanding from younger voters.
There is a maximum of eight players who can be elected in any year. This year's eligible players must have retired with the 2009 season. There will be one Senior finalist this year, along with two "Contributor" finalists, which is defined as "made outstanding contributions to professional football in capacities other than playing or coaching."
Of the semi-finalists, there were a few with Patriots ties. Cornerback Ty Law (95-04) made the list of 26 in his first season of eligibility, as did linebacker Junior Seau (06-09). Safety John Lynch and wide receiver Torry Holt spent off-seasons with the Patriots, 2008 and 2010 respectively, but were both ultimately released into retirement prior to the start of the season.
Unfortunately, not all of these players could make the final cut. Seau, a first ballot lock, made it through to the finals, while Law will have to wait for another year.
Here's the list of finalists:
RB Jerome Bettis - 6th all time leading rusher, finalist for the past five classes, 2 time All Pro
WR Tim Brown - 5th all time leading receiver in NFL History
RB Terrell Davis - 3x All Pro, 2x Offensive Player of the Year, 3x Rushing Crown, 2x Super Bowl winner
LB Kevin Greene - 5th all time leader in sacks
OT Orlando Pace - 5x All Pro, considered one of the best tackles in recent memory
LB Junior Seau - One of the best linebackers of all time, 10x All Pro
QB Kurt Warner - 2x NFL MVP, Super Bowl MVP, brought two teams to the Super Bowl
S John Lynch - 4x All Pro, Super Bowl Champion, played 15 seasons
WR Marvin Harrison - 8x All Pro, 2nd most receptions all time, 7th in receiving yards
OG Will Shields - 12x Pro Bowler, 7x All Pro, started 223 games
K Morten Anderson - All time leading scorer in NFL History
HC Don Coryell - 2x Coach of the Year, an innovator with a vertical passing attack "Air Coryell".
HC Jimmy Johnson - Won two Super Bowls with the Cowboys
HC Tony Dungy - Won a Super Bowl with Peyton Manning, pioneer as a minority coach and the reason for the Rooney Rule, led his teams to 10 straight playoff appearances.
C Mick Tingelhoff - His Vikings team won 10/11 division titles and he was named to seven All League teams