The Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced the nominees for the Class of 2013:
As you may recall, the two senior nominees, Curley Culp and Dave Robinson, were announced last month. On the modern era side, I’d be shocked if the Hall’s selectors did not use their maximum allotment and select five players.
Safety Lynch, defensive end Strahan, quarterback McNair and kicker Andersen join offensive linemen Jonathan Ogden and Larry Allen, defensive tackle Warren Sapp and 121 other total nominees for induction. The list will be whittled to 25 semifinalists in late November.
Fifteen finalists from the modern era will be announced in early January, with elections taking place Feb. 2, 2013, the day before the Super Bowl.
Between four and seven new members will be selected, with inductions next August.
Among the contributors nominated are former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and longtime team owners Bud Adams of the Tennessee Titans and Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots. Former Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell, who died this month, also is a nominee.
Other holdover nominees include receivers Cris Carter, Andre Reed and Tim Brown, running back Jerome Bettis, guard Will Shields, defensive end Charles Haley, linebacker Kevin Greene and defensive back Aeneas Williams, all finalists for the 2012 class.
This could be a particularly enjoyable class for fans of the trench battles. There have only been two classes with four lineman. In 2001, Mike Munchak, Jackie Slater, Ron Yary and Jack Youngblood were inducted, while this past year, Dermontti Dawson, Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy and Willie Roaf took center stage.
At first blush, Will Shields seems like a likely selection, as the only explanation I can come up with as to why he wasn’t selected last year was that some didn’t feel he deserved “first-ballot” status. With 12 Pro Bowls, Shields will soon have a bust in Canton. Among the first-time selections, Larry Allen (11 Pro Bowls, 6 first-team All-Pros from the Associated Press) and Jonathan Ogden (11, 4) seem like the safest bets.
On the defensive side, I can see a polarizing player like Warren Sapp having to wait, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see both Michael Strahan and Sapp inducted in 2013. Or it’s possible that Charles Haley or Kevin Greene finally get over the hump. Add in Curley Culp’s likely induction, and this could be the heaviest HOF class of all-time.