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 346 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 — 1,248 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 78 players and seven coaches from the Bowl Subdivision as well as 99 players and 33 coaches from the divisional ranks. Among them are 10 former members of the New England Patriots. Let’s take a look at them broken down into the ballot’s categories.
Eight of the NCAA Bowl Subdivision players up for selection have appeared in at least one regular season or playoff game for the Patriots:
- QB Michael Bishop (Kansas State): 1999-2000
- QB Matt Cavanaugh (Pittsburgh): 1978-1982
- RB Kevin Faulk (Louisiana State): 1999-2011
- K Tony Franklin (Texas A&M): 1984-1987
- LB Bob Golic (Notre Dame): 1979-1981
- CB Antonio Langham (Alabama): 2000
- DT Kenneth Sims (Texas): 1982-1989
- LB Andre Tippett (Iowa): 1982-1993
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, as well as kicker Tony Franklin and Matt Cavanaugh, who served as Steve Grogan’s backup for five years. Michael Bishop, Bob Golic and Antonio Langham were either rotational or backup players during their comparatively short stints in New England.
Furthermore, a pair of players from the divisional ranks on the ballot also wore the Patriots’ uniform at one point in their respective careers:
- LB Vincent Brown (Mississippi Valley State): 1988-1995
- CB Tyrone Poole (Fort Valley State): 2003-2005
Vincent Brown was a starting linebacker in New England for eight years and appeared in 124 games for the team after being drafted in the second round. Tyrone Poole, meanwhile, appeared in only 25 games but did help the Patriots win Super Bowl 38 — one of 24 starts for him during his three-year tenure with the organization.
In order to become eligible to make the College Football Hall of Fame, a player must have earned at least one first-team All-American honor during his career.