Hall of Fame Nominees

The list of nominees for the 2012 Hall of Fame Class was released Wednesday, with some new names, old names, and guys you might have never heard of.

Picking the 10 best candidates out of 103 is a task only a tad easier than doing the power rankings. What makes narrowing the field challenging is taking into account each player, coach or contributor's impact on the league. As an NFL historian, I take it very seriously. Saying that Jerome Bettis is not deserving of top-10 status is not a whimsical statement. He was fantastic, but never the NFL's best running back.

While that bar might seem too high, gauging a player's Hall of Fame credentials lends itself to some tough scrutiny. Sterling Sharpe and Sam Mills got left behind. But the hardest cuts were former Atlanta tackle Mike Kenn and Buffalo's Mr. Do-It-All, Steve Tasker. Tasker, the greatest special-teamer of all-time, made it to 11th, getting beat by a player who also had his initial success on special teams.

Elliot Harrison

NFL.com Analyst