The Coronavirus pandemic has altered life all over the United States, but some aspects of the NFL offseason still move along similar to how they always have. Free agency came and effectively went in mid-March even with player contact forced to be limited to a minimum, pre-draft preparations continue for this month’s event despite the nationwide cancellation of college pro days, and the New England Patriots’ Hall of Fame voting also will take place.
Today, that process begins as the club’s committee — a group that includes, among others, current Patriots staff member/football historian Ernie Adams — will meet for the first time this year to discuss the latest players or coaches deserving of the honor. Candidates must be four years removed from playing or coaching in the NFL to be eligible for induction into the Hall, of course. The meeting, by the way, will take place in a virtual setting.
Furthermore, a senior committee made up of the 10 most senior members of the selection committee will also get together to discuss any player or coach that has been retired for at least 25 years and who also has been a finalist previously. Soon after the two committees conclude their respective sessions, the nominees will be announced and the public voting process for the Patriots Hall of Fame class of 2020 kicked off.
So, who could receive the honor this year? The strongest candidates appear to be former defensive tackle and two-time Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist Richard Seymour as well as Mike Vrabel, former Patriots linebacker and current head coach of the Tennessee Titans. Both are no strangers to this process: Seymour has been an unsuccessful finalist each of the last three years, while Vrabel has made the final three each year since 2016.
Seymour and Vrabel making the final round in 2020 as well therefore seems like a foregone conclusion. The big question is who will join them. Ex-Patriots coaches Bill Parcells, a three-time finalist himself, or Chuck Fairbanks appear to be realistic candidates, as is long-time team executive Francis “Bucko” Kilroy. From a player perspective, guard Logan Mankins, wide receiver Wes Welker or safety Lawyer Milloy appear to have solid chances of earning a spot alongside Seymour and Vrabel.