The 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame class features three first-ballot inductees, one famous head coach and one wide receiver, after a long wait.
Your class: Former Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Larry Allen, former coach Bill Parcells, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cris Carter, Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Warren Sapp.
It's a terrific class that includes one less first-ballot nominee than I expected. Former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan was left off the list, although it would be stunning if he didn't wind up making it next year.
Parcells inspired the longest debate of anyone. The two-time Super Bowl champion coach with the New York Giants also revived the New England Patriots, New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys franchises. It looks like the electors were confident Parcells will stay retired this time (he's been on the ballot as a finalist four straight times). I can't wait for his speech.
Ogden was perhaps the defining left tackle of his generation, and one of the most dominant players in the NFL throughout his career. It would have been a big surprise if he didn't make the list. Ogden came into the league in 1996 with fellow first-round draft pick Ray Lewis. On Sunday, he'll watch Lewis play his final-career game in the Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers.
2013 Hall of Fame classThe Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its 7 members of the 2013 class. Take a look back at the historiccareers of these gridiron legends.
Allen, a bruising member of the all-decade team in the 1990s and 2000s, was named first-team All-Pro six-straight times. It doesn't get much more highly accomplished than that. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Saturday on NFL Network that he would present Allen during the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 3.
Sapp, now an NFL Network analyst, was another first-time inductee. He changed the game by wreaking havoc on opposing offenses from the interior line. Ultimately, it looks like Sapp's inclusion into the Hall of Fame this year knocked Strahan off the list.
Carter's nomination finally breaks the wide receiver logjam among Hall of Fame finalists. Carter was known for his incredible hands and ability to make tough catches in the red zone. Former Buffalo Bills receiver Andre Reed and Oakland Raiders pass-catcher Tim Brown both fell short, with Reed coming closer.
Culp and Robinson were previously announced as the Seniors Committee nominees, but that's no guarantee that they would be inducted. They will be part of a strong class in Canton this year, too.
This is a dynamic class full of big personalities. It should make for an awesome weekend in August.Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.