Selecting which candidates will gain admission into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is never easy, but with a number of deserving first time eligible players joining a crowded list of holdover candidates, whittling down the field will be especially challenging this time around.
Making their debut among the Hall of Fame finalists are four players that all seem destined to one-day receive a bust in the Hall of Fame: Michael Strahan, Warren Sapp, Larry Allen and Jonathan Ogden. Given the greatness they each exhibited during their careers, the question isn’t if they will get into the Hall, but when.
Joining these four newcomers among the 15 modern candidates are 11 former players, coaches and owners who all are making a return engagement among the HOF finalists and who all have compelling resumes that seem warranted of getting them into the Hall.
The selection committee will have the tough challenge of narrowing the list from 15 to more than five players who will be part of the Class of 2013.
In addition, the committee will separately decide if former defensive stars Dave Robinson and Curley Culp will receive football immortality this year.
As I have chronicled in previous HOF columns over the years, the selection committee is today paying for their past indiscretions.
The reason for the huge glut of deserving candidates is that the committee spent a prolonged period in the early part of the millennium making a mockery of the selection process.
Between 1995 and 2005 the voters chose the fully allowed compliment of five modern candidates only one time. The situation culminated in 2005 when only two modern era candidates were selected.
Interestingly enough, since 2006 24 players who were eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2005 have been inducted to the HOF. I would love to find out from the HOF voters exactly what those players did after 2005 to increase their worthiness for selection.
Of the four new candidates, you could very easily make a case for each one to receive entry in their first year of eligibility.
All four players earned at least one Super Bowl ring and were regular participants in the Pro Bowl.
Predicting what the HOF voters will do is never very easy, but given their past history of making deserving candidates wait at least one year before making it into the Hall, it seems doubtful that first year candidates will serve as a majority in the Class of 2013.
Because of his media stature, I would not be surprised if former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan finds his way into the HOF in his initial year on the ballot. Read the rest of this entry →