15 MODERN-ERA FINALISTS
FOR HALL OF FAME ELECTION ANNOUNCED
Also Fans "Voice Their Choice"
Three first-year eligible players, Tim Brown, Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith, are among the 15 modern-era finalists who will be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame when the Hall's Selection Committee meets in South Florida on Saturday, February 6, 2010.
Joining the three first-year eligible players, are 11 other modern-era players and a longtime head coach. The 15 modern-era finalists, along with the two senior nominees announced in August 2009 (former Detroit Lions cornerback Dick LeBeau and former Denver Broncos running back Floyd Little) will be the only candidates considered for Hall of Fame election when the 44-member Selection Committee meets. To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent.
Also, for the first time fans are invited to vote for their choice for the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the Van Heusen Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan's Choice at www.fanschoice.com.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame, Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation and JC Penney Company have teamed to provide the first-ever dedicated forum for fans to debate, discuss and voice their choice by voting for the Hall of Fame Enshrinee Class of 2010. The robust forum also includes stats on all candidates and opinions from football experts, Hall of Fame players and fans around the country.
The official Hall of Fame Selection Committee's 17 finalists (15 Modern-Era and two Senior Nominees*) with their positions, teams, and years active follow:
- Tim Brown - Wide Receiver/Kick Returner - 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Cris Carter - Wide Receiver - 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins
- Don Coryell - Coach - 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers
- Roger Craig - Running Back - 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings
- Dermonti Dawson - Center - 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers
- Richard Dent - Defensive End - 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles
- Russ Grimm - Guard - 1981-1991 Washington Redskins
- Charles Haley - Defensive End/Linebacker - 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
- Rickey Jackson - Linebacker - 1981-1993 New Orleans Saints, 1994-95 San Francisco 49ers
- Cortez Kennedy - Defensive Tackle - 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks
- Dick LeBeau* - Cornerback - 1959-1972 Detroit Lions
- Floyd Little* - Running Back - 1967-1975 Denver Broncos
- John Randle - Defensive Tackle - 1990-2000 Minnesota Vikings, 2001-03 Seattle Seahawks
- Andre Reed - Wide Receiver - 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
- Jerry Rice - Wide Receiver - 1985-2000 San Francisco 49ers, 2001-04 Oakland Raiders, 2004 Seattle Seahawks
- Shannon Sharpe - Tight End - 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens
- Emmitt Smith - Running Back - 1990-2002 Dallas Cowboys, 2003-04 Arizona Cardinals
Carter, Dawson, Dent, Grimm, Kennedy, Randle, Reed, and Sharpe have all been finalists in previous years. Although they were eligible in previous years, this is the first time Coryell, Craig, Haley, Jackson, Little, and LeBeau have been finalists.
From this year's list, five players - Dawson, Grimm, Kennedy, LeBeau, and Little - spent their entire NFL career with just one team.
LeBeau and Little were selected as senior candidates by the Hall of Fame's Seniors Committee at their August 2009 meeting. The Seniors Committee reviews the qualifications of those players whose careers took place more than 25 years ago. The remaining 15 modern-era finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall's 44-member Selection Committee from a list of 131 preliminary nominees that earlier was reduced to a list of 25 semifinalists. To be eligible for election, modern-era players and coaches must be retired at least five years (prior to 2007 coaches were eligible immediately after retiring).
Since Coryell retired prior to the 2007 change in coach's eligibility, he has been eligible the longest of the modern-era nominees, 23 years. Grimm has been eligible 14 years, while Craig has been eligible 12 years. Jackson has been eligible for 10 years, Dent eight years, Haley six years, Reed, Dawson and Kennedy five years, Carter three years, Randle and Sharpe two years. Brown, Rice and Smith are in their first year of eligibility. Senior nominees LeBeau and Little have been eligible 33 years and 30 years respectively.
The Selection Committee will meet in South Florida, on Saturday, February 6, 2010, to elect the Hall of Fame Class of 2010. The election results will be announced at 5 p.m. ET during a one-hour NFL Network special, live from the Broward County Convention Center.
At the 2010 selection meeting, the selectors will thoroughly discuss the careers of each finalist. Although there is no set number for any class of enshrinees, the Pro Football Hall of Fame's current ground rules stipulate that between four and seven new members will be selected each year. No more than five modern-era nominees can be elected in a given year and a class of six or seven can only be achieved if one or both senior nominees are elected. Representatives of the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche will tabulate all votes during the meeting.
At the announcement, Pro Football Hall of Fame President/Executive Director Steve Perry will be presented with an envelope containing the names of the nominees elected. Each newly elected member will be contacted immediately by the Hall of Fame. Members of the Class of 2010 in South Florida for the Super Bowl will be asked to join the live announcement show. Those not able to attend will be asked to join via teleconference.
Fans are encouraged to visit www.fanschoice.com to vote for their favorites before the Fan's Choice Class is revealed on February 6.
The Van Heusen Fan's Choice campaign which launched in September, mirrors the Hall of Fame's selection process and will name the first-ever Fan's Choice Class live on NFL Network just prior to the official announcement from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Van Heusen Fan's Choice Top 15 list includes seven candidates who also appear on the official Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee list including: Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Richard Dent, Charles Haley, Jerry Rice, Shannon Sharpe and Emmitt Smith.
Others who made the Van Heusen Fan's Choice Top 15 list who didn't make the official Hall of Fame Selection Committee list include an athletic trainer, Otho Davis; a coach, Tom Flores; as well as former players, Cliff Branch, Todd Christensen, Ray Guy, Lester Hayes, Ed "Too Tall" Jones , and Jim Plunkett.
The Final Round of fan voting begins today and the top 15 Fan's choices will be combined with the Hall of Fame Selection Committee choices for one powerhouse list of candidates looking for fans' votes to become a part of the inaugural Fan's Choice class.
A BIT MORE ABOUT THE LITTLE and SHARPE -
Running Back ... 5-10, 196 ... Syracuse ... 1967-1975 Denver Broncos ... Nine playing seasons, 117 games ... Selected by Denver in first round (6th player overall) of 1967 AFL-NFL Draft ... Initially used mostly as return specialist . . . As rookie, led AFL in punt returns with 16.9 average on 16 returns ... Scored only touchdown on a punt return that season in AFL, 72 yards against the Jets ... Also returned career-high 35 kickoffs for 942 yards ... In third year averaged league-high and career best 5.0 yards per carry rushing ... In 1971, became Broncos' first 1,000-yard rusher ... Won NFL rushing title that year with 1,133 yards on 284 carries and 6 TDs ... Receiving threat out of backfield, caught 25-plus passes in each of final five seasons ... Had knack for finding end zone ... During three-year stretch, 1971-1973 scored combined 32 TDs rushing and receiving ... Named to two AFL All-Star Games, three AFC-NFC Pro Bowls ... Named All-AFL/NFL twice, All-AFC first- or second-team four straight years ... Amassed more than 12,000 all-purpose yards and 54 TDs ... Gained 6,323 yards on 1,641 career carries, scored 43 TDs ... Added 215 receptions for 2,418 yards, 9 TDs ... Totaled 893 yards on 81 career punt returns, 2 TDs; returned 104 kickoffs for 2,523 yards in his nine-season career ... Born July 4, 1942 in New Haven, Connecticut.
Tight End ... 6-2, 230 ... Savannah State ... 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens ... 14 playing seasons, 204 games ... Three-time All-America at Savannah State ... Selected by Broncos in the seventh round (192nd player overall) of the 1990 NFL Draft ... At time of retirement, his 815 career receptions and 10,060 yards and 62 TDs were all NFL career records for a tight end ... His 214 receiving yards vs. Kansas City in 2002 is an NFL single-game record for a tight end ... Tied NFL record with 13 receptions in single post-season game (vs. Raiders, 1993) ... Three times during career amassed over 1,000 yards receiving ... Earned first- or second-team All-Pro honors five times and first- or second-team All-AFC honors six times ... Selected to play in eight Pro Bowls (1993-1999, 2002) ... In 1996 led all tight ends in receptions (80), receiving yards (1,062 yards), and receiving touchdowns (10) ... Following season had career best 1,107 receiving yards for career best 15.4 yard average ... An integral part of Broncos Super Bowl XXXII and XXXIII and Ravens Super Bowl XXXV championships ... Born June 26, 1968 in Chicago, Illinois.