The Pro Football Hall of Fame selection process is done by a committee of 48 people; members of both the media and the institution itself. Since its opening in 1963, they have voted for 326 players, coaches and contributors to be enshrined. College football’s Hall of Fame works a bit differently: not only have far more people been bestowed the honor — 1,227 so far — the voting process itself is a lot bigger as more than 12,000 people are participating.
Earlier this week, they were mailed this year’s ballot – a list consisting of 76 players and 5 coaches from the Bowl Subdivision as well as 101 players and 33 coaches from the divisional ranks. Among them are eleven former members of the New England Patriots. Let’s take a look at them broken down into the ballot’s categories.
Seven of the NCAA Bowl Subdivision players up for selection have appeared in at least one regular season or playoff game for the Patriots:
FB Keith Byars (Ohio State): 1996-1997
QB Matt Cavanaugh (Pittsburgh): 1978-1982
WR Tim Dwight (Iowa): 2005
RB Kevin Faulk (Louisiana State): 1999-2011
DT Kenneth Sims (Texas): 1982-1989
LB Andre Tippett (Iowa): 1982-1993
WR Elmo Wright (Houston): 1975
The biggest names on the list are without a doubt running back Kevin Faulk and linebacker Andre Tippett. During his 13 seasons in New England, Faulk set numerous team records including all-purpose yards (12,349) and return yardage (5,041) while helping his team to eleven winning seasons and three Super Bowl titles titles. Tippett, meanwhile, is still the Patriots’ all-time leader in sacks (100.0) and was enshrined into pro football’s Hall of Fame in 2008.
The list also includes long-time Patriots Kenneth Sims, the first overall pick of the 1982 draft, and Matt Cavanaugh, who served as Steve Grogan’s backup for five years. Keith Byars, Tim Dwight and Elmo Wright were role players during their comparatively short stints in New England.
Furthermore, four players from the divisional ranks on the ballot once appeared in a game for the Patriots:
LB Vincent Brown (Mississippi Valley State): 1988-1995
CB Tyrone Poole (Fort Valley State): 2003-2005
OL Garry Puetz (Valparaiso): 1979-1981
WR Steve Schubert (Massachusetts): 1974
While Steve Schubert played only eight games for the Patriots, Vincent Brown, Tyrone Poole and Garry Puetz saw more action: Brown was a starting linebacker in New England for eight years and appeared in 124 games for the team, while Poole appeared in 25 games over three seasons and started in Super Bowl 38. Puetz, meanwhile, 35 games for the Patriots as a rotational offensive lineman.