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On Tuesday, former Seahawks safety Kenny Easley was announced as as a senior finalist for the 2017 Hall of Fame.  Yesterday, the two executives up for nomination were announced, too:

Dallas Cowboys Owner/President/General Manager Jerry Jones and former National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue were selected today by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Contributors Committee as finalists for the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017.

Jones bought the Cowboys franchise in 1989 and quickly restored a winning tradition in Dallas. Under his leadership, the Cowboys captured three Super Bowl championships over a four-year period with victories in Super Bowls XXVII, XXVIII and XXX. In addition, the team has won nine division titles during Jones’ era. The Cowboys owner has also had great influence on the growth of the NFL. His impact in areas of sports marketing, promotion and development greatly enhanced the league’s success and also altered the American sports culture over the past three decades.

“I can’t tell you about how humble and gratified I am,” Jones stated today.

Tagliabue served as the NFL’s Commissioner from 1989 through 2006. The NFL grew significantly in a number of areas during his 17-year tenure. With Tagliabue leading the way, the league expanded from 28 to 32 teams; constructed 20 new stadiums, and secured long-term labor agreements with the NFL Players Association. The Commissioner also established an overseas presence, created a league-wide Internet network and launched NFL Network. He also orchestrated historic television deals that ranked as the biggest in entertainment history including a TV package negotiated for 2006-2011 valued at $25 billion.

“I’m deeply appreciative of the vote of confidence from the Selection Committee,” Tagliabue shared moments after learning the news of his selection as a finalist.

Easley, Jones, and Tagliabue will each face an up-down vote: each player must receive 80% to be selected into the Hall of Fame, but none of them are competing with any other person for a spot.

What are your thoughts on this year’s choices so far?

  • sacramento gold miners

    The strange aspect of the Seniors Committee is how we don’t see the other runners-up for the final selection. I suspect much of this depends of the strength of the presentations. We don’t know which senior candidates has gained momentum over the years, unlike the more recently retired players. Usually, the seniors finalist is elected into the HOF.

    Easley had a short career, but was helped by an AP Defensive Player of the Year award. Randy Gradisher was another DPOY winner, and made more Pro Bowls, so a case could be made for him.

  • Adam

    “I can’t tell you about how humble and gratified I am,” Jones stated today.

    Jerry Jones just referred to himself as humble. Let that sink in.

    • Mat

      I’d like to think he meant “humbled,” but he has been one of the weirder figures of the past decade

      • Adam

        He also thinks he’s a doctor, so nothing would surprise me from Jerry at this point.

  • Josh Sanford

    Obviously, none of these nominees can be criticized in ANY way because they continue to loom over the sport, larger than life. The HOF is an unmitigated joke if it doesn’t have these three people. And, that one season when Kenny Easley started all of his team’s games was just the best.

  • I was against DeBartolo getting in, so I am super against Jones getting in. I am not sure what his major contribution to the game of football has been. If you want to be enshrined as a contributor, I think actually contributing is a pretty important factor. All I can think of is his ability to generate revenue for other owners, which, in turn, created a larger pool for the players.

    I think Easley is a fine Senior choice, even though I would have probably gone with Johnny Robinson or Jimmy Patton at the safety position. I’m still wondering when we’re going to see Chuck Howley, Jerry Kramer, Del Shofner, Riley Matheson, Ox Emerson, Lavvie Dilweg, Al Wistert, Dick Barwegen, Randy Gradishar, Joe Fortunato, Robert Brazile, Cliff Harris, Harold Jackson, Mac Speedie, Cliff Branch, Drew Pearson, Harold Carmichael, Jerry Smith, or Jim Benton come up for consideration. Not saying all or any of these guys is necessarily a slam dunk HOFer, but they all should be revisited. It’ll also be interesting to see how they treat newly Senior-eligible Deron Cherry, who was arguably as good as Ronnie Lott but without the loaded team and championships.

    I know Jim Tyrer will never make it into Canton, but if we’re only looking at what he did on the field, he is clearly worthy of induction too.

    Also, if we’re really going to keep beating the Steve Tasker dead horse, we might as well throw Rick Upchurch in there too.

    • Adam

      Seriously, what did DeBartolo contribute besides cheating the salary cap, conducting crooked business practices, and being an all around sleezeball? It’s not like he was the primary driver of the 49ers dynasty; he was really just lucky to have the right coach and QB.

      Jerry Jones’ primary contribution is being famous. Beyond that, I have no idea.

      • bachslunch

        Jones actually has reportedly done a lot in terms of major committee work, and was instrumental in establishing a licensing model that has made a lot of money in merchandising for the NFL teams. He did also win three titles, though his case deserves demerits for several years of serving as his own often ineffective GM. He’s probably about as good an owner candidate as anyone else not in, including Robert Kraft and Bud Adams.

        Agreed with you on DeBartolo, though. He made one smart hire that netted him several titles, but as far as I can tell did nothing significant for committee work or other matters beyond his own team for the NFL. And the salary cap fudging that happened on his watch is a serious demerit. The only thing keeping DeBartolo from being the worst Contributor in the HoF is the fact that Charles Bidwill is already enshrined.

  • Adam

    Does this mean Roger Goodell will be nominated 12 years after he retires? I shudder to think.

  • Richie

    I hate the idea of commissioners taking the spot of any other deserving candidates. It’s almost like they should just be in by default.

    And for Tagliabue, I’m not convinced he was that great of a commissioner anyway. In hindsight, the league grew and there were no work stoppages, and he was less hated than Goodell. But I really don’t remember people saying “Tagliabue is a great commissioner” WHILE he was commissioner.

  • Richie

    I’m surprised to see that Easley only played 7 seasons. He made 5 Pro Bowls and 3 All Pros. But then Nolan Cromwell and Deron Cherry also had 3 All Pros in the 1980s. Why did Easley get singled out?

    Easley may have been on a HOF path, but I think the regular committee got it right by passing on him. Perhaps this gives hope to Terrell Davis.

    • sacramento gold miners

      Nolan Cromwell was a converted college QB who had a long career, but wasn’t the dynamic player like Easley or Cherry. It should be noted Easley was a strong safety, unlike Cherry. It was unusual for a strong safety to have that kind of size, speed, and hitting ability. He did affect the offense in different ways, and was a playmaker. Doesn’t hurt that Easley was the first Seattle defensive standout.

  • bachslunch

    Kenny Easley is an excellent nominee (4/5/80s and reportedly looks great via film study), though of course there are tons of fine Senior players who should be in. Bryan mentioned many of the folks I think belong in: would also add Duke Slater, Verne Lewellen, Billy Howton, Billy Wilson, Gene Brito, L.C. Greenwood, Maxie Baughan, Larry Grantham, Bill Forester, Pete Retzlaff, Duane Putnam, Jim Ray Smith, Walt Sweeney, Ed Budde, Gale Gillingham, Alex Karras, Tom Sestak, Houston Antwine, Earl Faison, Winston Hill, Bobby Dillon, Ed Meador, Deron Cherry, Bobby Boyd, Lemar Parrish, Dave Grayson, Tommy Davis, and Ken Anderson to his very perceptive list. The Senior choices were marginal to poor last year, so Easley is a decided improvement.

    The biggest omissions on the contributor side are GM types George Young, Bobby Beathard, and Gil Brandt as well as Steve Sabol and Art McNally. Paul Tagliabue is one of those folks who wouldn’t be an injustice to exclude, though I won’t gripe too awfully much if he gets in. Not very excited about any of the owners available, though Jerry Jones is probably about as good as any not yet in along with Robert Kraft, Bud Adams, and Art Modell. Jones and Tags are “meh” choices for me, but at least they’re better than the travesty of Eddie DeBartolo being nominated and elected last year. Bucko Kilroy might be a plausible combo type, being a borderline HoF player as well as an okay GM sort. Unless they decide to add coaches to this category, it will likely run out of good candidates in a hurry.