In 1991, the New England Patriots established their very own Hall of Fame to honor past franchise greats. Since then, 23 players – among them four Pro Football Hall of Famers – and two contributors have been enshrined in what became an annual election process in 2007. Of course, 2017 is no different.
In order to find this year's finalists, the Patriots Hall of Fame committee meets today. A panel consisting of 23 members ranging from journalists to team staffers to former players will select three players or coaches retired at least four years who are deemed worthy of introduction.
The voting process works as follows: Each member of the electorate picks its three potential finalists, with the top option receiving five points, the second receiving three, and the third getting one point. When the entire committee has cast its votes, the points are added. The three who have received the most points will become this year's finalists. The eventual enshrinee will then be publically voted online at patriots.com.
Furthermore, a 10-member panel will discuss potentially inducting a senior member into the Hall of Fame. To become a senior enshrinee, and thus join Jon Morris and Houston Antwine as the lone Hall of Famers entering it that way, a player or choach must have retired at least 25 years ago and receive at least 80 percent of the vote.
Raymond Clayborn, who was a finalist each of the last three years, is eligible to become a senior enshrinee this year. He looks like a prime candidate to finally get voted into the Hall in 2017. Others who have strong cases but are not yet eligible for senior status are former finalists Bill Parcells and Mike Vrabel, franchise greats Raymond Berry, Russ Francis, Rodney Harrison and Matt Light as well as first-year candidates Richard Seymour and Randy Moss.
The finalists will likely be announced in the upcoming days, with the online voting process will start soon after. The winner will then receive his red jacket and be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in late August or early September.