Hall of Fame announces 17 finalists for Class of 2012

Two first-year-eligible nominees -- coach Bill Parcells and offensive tackle Will Shields -- are among the 15 modern-era finalists who will be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2012 when the 44-member selection committee meets Feb. 4 in Indianapolis, the day before Super Bowl XLVI.

Joining Parcells and Shields as finalists are 12 modern-era players and a contributor.

Although technically a first-year-eligible candidate, Parcells has been a finalist twice before (2001, 2002) following his announced retirement as head coach of the New York Jets in 1999. Parcells returned to coach the Dallas Cowboys in 2003, and the five-year waiting period was in effect when he retired from coaching in 2006.

Two senior nominees, announced in August, also will be considered.

A finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent to be elected.

Here are the 17 finalists (*-denotes senior nominee):

» Jerome Bettis, RB -- 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
» Tim Brown, WR/KR -- 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
» Jack Butler, CB -- (1951-59 Pittsburgh Steelers)
» Cris Carter, WR -- 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins
» Dermontti Dawson, C -- 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers
» Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Owner -- 1979-2000 San Francisco 49ers
» Chris Doleman, DE/LB -- 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers
» Kevin Greene, LB/DE -- 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers
» Charles Haley, DE/LB -- 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
» Cortez Kennedy, DT -- 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks
» Curtis Martin, RB -- 1995-97 New England Patriots, 1998-2005 New York Jets
» Bill Parcells, Coach -- 1983-1990 New York Giants, 1993-96 New England Patriots, 1997-99 New York Jets, 2003-06 Dallas Cowboys
» Andre Reed, WR -- 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
» Willie Roaf, T -- 1993-2001 New Orleans Saints, 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs
» Will Shields, G -- 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs
Dick Stanfel, G -- (1952-55 Detroit Lions, 1956-58 Washington Redskins)
» Aeneas Williams, CB/S -- 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams

To be eligible for election, modern-era players and coaches must be retired at least five years. Contributors need not be retired.

In addition to Parcells, other finalists who have been eligible in previous years include Bettis, Brown, Carter, Dawson, Doleman, Haley, Kennedy, Martin, Reed, Roaf and Stanfel. Although they were eligible in previous years, this is the first time Butler, DeBartolo, Greene and Williams have been finalists.

Photo gallery: Hall of Fame finalists


From this year's list, four players -– Butler, Dawson, Kennedy, and Shields -- spent their entire NFL career with just one team.

Butler and Stanfel were selected as candidates by the Hall of Fame's seniors committee, which reviews the qualifications of players whose careers took place more than 25 years ago.

The remaining 15 modern-era finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall of Fame's selection committee from a list of 105 preliminary nominees that earlier was reduced to a list of 26 semifinalists.

After the selection committee meets in Indianapolis on Feb. 4 to elect the Hall of Fame Class of 2012, the election results will be announced from the Super Bowl media headquarters.

Although there isn't a set number of enshrinees for any class, the 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.

The following 11 semifinalists didn't make the cut:

» Steve Atwater, S -- 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets
» Don Coryell, Coach -- 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers
» Roger Craig, RB -- 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings
» Terrell Davis, RB -- 1995-2001 Denver Broncos
» Clay Matthews, LB -- 1978-1993 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons
» Karl Mecklenburg, LB -- 1983-1994 Denver Broncos
» Donnie Shell, S -- 1974-1987 Pittsburgh Steelers
» Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner -- 1989-2006 National Football League
» Steve Tasker, ST/WR -- 1985-86 Houston Oilers, 1986-1997 Buffalo Bills
» Ron Wolf, Contributor -- 1963-1974, 1978-1990 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, 1975-77 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1990 New York Jets, 1991-2001 Green Bay Packers
» George Young, Contributor -- 1968-1974 Baltimore Colts, 1975-78 Miami Dolphins, 1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League

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