Hall of Fame 2015  

 

Published: Oct. 17, 2014 at 05:43 p.m.
Updated: Jan. 8, 2015 at 09:09 p.m.

Hall of Fame Class of 2015: Picking the semifinalists

Seems like it was just the other night that Andre Reed was yelling -- in a high-school football stadium, no less -- about how the Bills would stay in Buffalo. That prognostication, made at the 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony, came true. And I'm not going to try to top it. So when thinking about the Class of 2015 and the pending cutdown from 113 modern-era nominees to 25 semifinalists, I decided not to attempt to predict who will go on to the next step. No, we're going in another direction this time around.

Below is a stick-and-move look at the 25 nominees who I think should be in line for Hall consideration, presented in alphabetical order. And don't forget to vote on who you think should move on.

25 Photos Total

  • If another kicker is getting into the Hall soon, this is the guy. Andersen is the NFL's all-time leading scorer. He also hit a clutch shot from 38 yards out to win the 1998 NFC Championship Game for the Atlanta Falcons. 25

    National Football League

    Morten Andersen, kicker

    If another kicker is getting into the Hall soon, this is the guy. Andersen is the NFL's all-time leading scorer. He also hit a clutch shot from 38 yards out to win the 1998 NFC Championship Game for the Atlanta Falcons.

  • Was Bettis one of the 10 greatest running backs to ever play? No. But with over 13,000 rushing yards -- and an equal like Curtis Martin already in the Hall -- Bettis certainly has an argument. 24

    Chris Bernacchi/Associated Press

    Jerome Bettis, running back

    Was Bettis one of the 10 greatest running backs to ever play? No. But with over 13,000 rushing yards -- and an equal like Curtis Martin already in the Hall -- Bettis certainly has an argument.

  • When I spoke with Walter Jones at the Hall of Fame about Jonathan Ogden and Orlando Pace, he took the time to explain that Tony Boselli was the guy he studied. Dominant -- if short -- career. 23

    Tom DiPace/Associated Press

    Tony Boselli, offensive lineman

    When I spoke with Walter Jones at the Hall of Fame about Jonathan Ogden and Orlando Pace, he took the time to explain that Tony Boselli was the guy he studied. Dominant -- if short -- career.

  • Brown's numbers might not stand out compared to what receivers are doing in today's pass-centric game, but people should remember that many of his 1,094 receptions -- fifth-most all-time -- were thrown by mediocre quarterbacks. 22

    Al Messerschmidt/Associated Press

    Tim Brown, WR

    Brown's numbers might not stand out compared to what receivers are doing in today's pass-centric game, but people should remember that many of his 1,094 receptions -- fifth-most all-time -- were thrown by mediocre quarterbacks.

  • He was a true innovator, in that he improved on the existing passing philosophies of Sid Gillman to develop the "Air Coryell" offense. The NFL hasn't been the same since. 21

    Al Messerschmidt/Associated Press

    Don Coryell, coach

    He was a true innovator, in that he improved on the existing passing philosophies of Sid Gillman to develop the "Air Coryell" offense. The NFL hasn't been the same since.

  • Who cares if Davis' career was shortened by injury? He was the dominant offensive player of the late 1990s. To quote <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rk16glWoMCk" target="_blank">the great Clark Gable</a>: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." Done. 20

    Peter Read Miller/Associated Press

    Terrell Davis, running back

    Who cares if Davis' career was shortened by injury? He was the dominant offensive player of the late 1990s. To quote the great Clark Gable: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." Done.

  • Putting the social impact of Dungy's 13-year tenure as a head coach aside, the mild-mannered leader turned around one franchise (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) while shepherding another (the Indianapolis Colts) to the Lombardi Trophy. 19

    G. Newman Lowrance/Associated Press

    Tony Dungy, coach

    Putting the social impact of Dungy's 13-year tenure as a head coach aside, the mild-mannered leader turned around one franchise (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) while shepherding another (the Indianapolis Colts) to the Lombardi Trophy.

  • Many observers have wondered how the greatest pass-rushing linebacker this side of Lawrence Taylor and Derrick Thomas isn't in the Hall. Count me among them. He racked up <i>160</i> sacks. 18

    Associated Press

    Kevin Greene, linebacker

    Many observers have wondered how the greatest pass-rushing linebacker this side of Lawrence Taylor and Derrick Thomas isn't in the Hall. Count me among them. He racked up 160 sacks.

  • I don't care <i>who</i> else is up for consideration; <a href="http://www.nfl.com/halloffame/story/0ap1000000226326/article/michael-strahan-charles-haley-headline-next-50-hall-of-famers">I will fight</a> and fight and fight for Haley. So will Michael Silver. So will Eric Davis, his former teammate. Haley has five Super Bowl rings and was the defensive linchpin of two killer franchises (Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers). Isn't that enough? Come <i>on</i>. 17

    Al Golub/Associated Press

    Charles Haley, defensive lineman

    I don't care who else is up for consideration; I will fight and fight and fight for Haley. So will Michael Silver. So will Eric Davis, his former teammate. Haley has five Super Bowl rings and was the defensive linchpin of two killer franchises (Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers). Isn't that enough? Come on.

  • Voters are not supposed to consider off-the-field incidents (or alleged incidents). Thus, the guy with eight straight seasons of 1,100-plus yards and 10-plus touchdowns should be in. 16

    Greg Trott/Associated Press

    Marvin Harrison, wide receiver

    Voters are not supposed to consider off-the-field incidents (or alleged incidents). Thus, the guy with eight straight seasons of 1,100-plus yards and 10-plus touchdowns should be in.

  • James' brilliance seems to have been overshadowed by the glow of Peyton Manning's Colts career. James led the NFL in rushing his first two years out of the gate and piled up over 15,000 yards from scrimmage in 11 seasons. Underrated. 15

    Ed Zurga/Associated Press

    Edgerrin James, running back

    James' brilliance seems to have been overshadowed by the glow of Peyton Manning's Colts career. James led the NFL in rushing his first two years out of the gate and piled up over 15,000 yards from scrimmage in 11 seasons. Underrated.

  • A true technician at left tackle, Kenn toiled in relative anonymity for the Atlanta Falcons for 17 seasons. My colleague, Jamie Dukes, <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000354373/article/best-player-in-team-history-nfc-edition-49ers-among-hard-calls">told me that Kenn</a> was the best lineman he played with. 14

    National Football League

    Mike Kenn, offensive lineman

    A true technician at left tackle, Kenn toiled in relative anonymity for the Atlanta Falcons for 17 seasons. My colleague, Jamie Dukes, told me that Kenn was the best lineman he played with.

  • Law -- an outstanding cover corner from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s -- was <a href="http://www.telegram.com/article/20141016/NEWS/310169440/1009" target="_blank">honored in New England</a> on Thursday night. He picked off 53 balls -- including three Peyton Manning passes in <a href="http://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/2004011800/2003/POST20/colts@patriots">the 2003 AFC Championship Game</a>. 13

    Greg Trott/Associated Press

    Ty Law, defensive back

    Law -- an outstanding cover corner from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s -- was honored in New England on Thursday night. He picked off 53 balls -- including three Peyton Manning passes in the 2003 AFC Championship Game.

  • A hard-hitting safety who successfully switched positions three years into his career, Lynch was part of an elite triumvirate of Hall-worthy Bucs from the Tony Dungy era. 12

    Scott Boehm/Associated Press

    John Lynch, defensive back

    A hard-hitting safety who successfully switched positions three years into his career, Lynch was part of an elite triumvirate of Hall-worthy Bucs from the Tony Dungy era.

  • Talk about a stud. McDonald was one of the first great defensive players on a bad team that I remember watching. His incredibly high football IQ led him to six Pro Bowl berths. 11

    Greg Trott/Associated Press

    Tim McDonald, defensive back

    Talk about a stud. McDonald was one of the first great defensive players on a bad team that I remember watching. His incredibly high football IQ led him to six Pro Bowl berths.

  • Though he was a stud in the USFL, no one wanted to give him a chance in the NFL. Of course, once he got one, he became a stud there, too -- for <i>12</i> seasons. He was a five-time Pro Bowler, to boot. 10

    Paul Spinelli/Associated Press

    Sam Mills, linebacker

    Though he was a stud in the USFL, no one wanted to give him a chance in the NFL. Of course, once he got one, he became a stud there, too -- for 12 seasons. He was a five-time Pro Bowler, to boot.

  • Kurt Warner's teammate on those "Greatest Show on Turf" St. Louis Rams teams, Pace played at a level commensurate with contemporaries -- and Hall enshrinees -- Jonathan Ogden and Walter Jones. Enough said. 9

    Paul Spinelli/Associated Press

    Orlando Pace, offensive lineman

    Kurt Warner's teammate on those "Greatest Show on Turf" St. Louis Rams teams, Pace played at a level commensurate with contemporaries -- and Hall enshrinees -- Jonathan Ogden and Walter Jones. Enough said.

  • Parker coached the Lions to NFL Championship Game appearances in 1952, 1953 and 1954, winning the first two. He also built the championship-winning '57 team. #YesThereWasSuccessInDetroit 8

    Associated Press

    Buddy Parker, coach

    Parker coached the Lions to NFL Championship Game appearances in 1952, 1953 and 1954, winning the first two. He also built the championship-winning '57 team. #YesThereWasSuccessInDetroit

  • Along with Hall of Famers Deion Sanders and Reggie White, Seau was one of the premier defensive players of the 1990s. And, like White, the veteran of two decades left us too soon. He's a shoo-in for Canton. 7

    Paul Jasienski/Associated Press

    Junior Seau, linebacker

    Along with Hall of Famers Deion Sanders and Reggie White, Seau was one of the premier defensive players of the 1990s. And, like White, the veteran of two decades left us too soon. He's a shoo-in for Canton.

  • The further we get from Shields' playing days, the less fans will remember him as one of the most consistent performers to ever suit up at the guard position. He made <i>12</i> Pro Bowls. 6

    G. Newman Lowrance/Associated Press

    Will Shields, offensive lineman

    The further we get from Shields' playing days, the less fans will remember him as one of the most consistent performers to ever suit up at the guard position. He made 12 Pro Bowls.

  • <i>The</i> top-flight special teams player of the modern era deserves a spot in the Hall. If people always think of Tasker first whenever they think of great special teamers, well ... 5

    Paul Spinelli/Associated Press

    Steve Tasker, special teams

    The top-flight special teams player of the modern era deserves a spot in the Hall. If people always think of Tasker first whenever they think of great special teamers, well ...

  • Walls was the first player to ever lead the NFL in interceptions three times (Ed Reed matched that mark since) and a four-time Pro Bowler. Somehow, though, his name never seems to come up. #shame 4

    Al Messerschmidt/Associated Press

    Everson Walls, defensive back

    Walls was the first player to ever lead the NFL in interceptions three times (Ed Reed matched that mark since) and a four-time Pro Bowler. Somehow, though, his name never seems to come up. #shame

  • If it's the <i>Pro</i> Football Hall of Fame, shouldn't the USFL's best player -- a guy who amassed over 25,000 yards between his time in that league and in the NFL -- be an easy call? 3

    David Durochik/Associated Press

    Herschel Walker, running back

    If it's the Pro Football Hall of Fame, shouldn't the USFL's best player -- a guy who amassed over 25,000 yards between his time in that league and in the NFL -- be an easy call?

  • Warner was the point man for three Super Bowl teams spread among two different organizations. Any guy who leads the Arizona Cardinals to the big game deserves special mention. So does his toughness. 2

    Paul Spinelli/Associated Press

    Kurt Warner, quarterback

    Warner was the point man for three Super Bowl teams spread among two different organizations. Any guy who leads the Arizona Cardinals to the big game deserves special mention. So does his toughness.

  • Watters was a complete offensive player, amassing over 10,000 rushing yards while catching 467 balls. He gained 1,000-plus yards on the ground for three different franchises (the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks). 1

    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Ricky Watters, running back

    Watters was a complete offensive player, amassing over 10,000 rushing yards while catching 467 balls. He gained 1,000-plus yards on the ground for three different franchises (the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks).

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