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Takeaways from NFL's Hall of Fame finalists

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Friday morning their list of the 15 modern-era candidates for the Hall of Fame. Voters will meet on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 in New Orleans to determine what players make the Hall of Fame. (A maximum of five modern-era candidates can make it.)

The list contained no major surprises. There are four first-year eligible players, eight other players, a coach and two contributors. You can view the entire list with biographical information here, but I'm going to list the names quickly below with six big takeaways:

First, the list: Larry Allen, Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Curley Culp, Edward Debartalo Jr., Kevin Greene, Charles Haley, Art Modell, Jonathan Ogden, Bill Parcells, Andre Reed, Dave Robinson, Warren Sapp, Will Shields, Michael Strahan, and Aeneas Williams.

  1. The four first-time finalists are all very strong candidates. Larry Allen, Jonathan Ogden, Warren Sapp, and Michael Strahan all should get into the Hall of Fame someday, if they don't all make on their first try. I'd vote for all of them this year, which would leave only one more spot for another modern-era candidate. History indicates that voters don't like to induct so many first-time candidates. Sapp may have the toughest time of these four getting in right away.
  1. Other than the four new finalists, every candidate here has been a finalist before. There are no other names to reach this stage in the process for the first time.
  1. One "winner" from Friday's announcement is the late Art Modell. The former owner of the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens made it to the finalist stage this year after failing to do so last year. So he's closer to enshrinement than he was a year ago, even if Modell's candidacy remains a long shot.
  1. No player that was a finalist last year did not make the list. So no player that was close in 2012 took a big step back.
  1. The annual wide receiver logjam remains: Tim Brown, Cris Carter, and Andre Reed have seemingly been canceling each other out for years. I'd argue that none of them are slam dunk choices, so it's not a surprise they have been passed over for players at other positions.
  1. Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue did not make the final 15. He has been a finalist before, but does not seem close to making it now. Former 49ers running back Roger Craig and legendary coach Don Coryell also didn't make the finalists list.
  1. Two senior nominees were announced in August 2012: Former Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Oilers defensive tackle Curley Culp and former Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins linebacker Dave Robinson. They can both be inducted in addition to the five modern-era players. Culp and Robinson have not been finalists before.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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