WR Randy Moss and LBs Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher are three of the six first-year eligible candidates among 27 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2018.
DB Ronde Barber, G Steve Hutchinson and DL Richard Seymour also made the semifinalist list in their first tries. S LeRoy Butler, DEs Leslie O’Neal and Simeon Rice, and CB Everson Walls also are first-time semifinalists, though they have been eligible candidates in the past.
The 2018 semifinalist list includes 12 offensive players, 13 defensive players and two coaches. The coaches, Don Coryell and Jimmy Johnson, have a combined 15 appearances on the semifinalist list. Johnson won two Super Bowls in five years with Dallas and closed his career with four years in Miami, a relatively short career compared with most Hall of Fame coaches.
Coryell coached for 14 years, making his mark especially with San Diego in the late 1970s and early 1980s, leading teams to great regular seasons but faltering in the playoffs.
The other 15 semifinalists include:
S Steve Atwater
T Tony Boselli
WR Isaac Bruce
RB Roger Craig
S Brian Dawkins
G Alan Faneca
WR Torry Holt
T Joe Jacoby
RB Edgerrin James
CB Ty Law
S John Lynch
C Kevin Mawae
LB Karl Mecklenburg
WR Terrell Owens
WR Hines Ward
This group was reduced from an initial group of 108 nominees. The 27 will be narrowed down to 15 modern-era finalists in January. Those 15 players, along with senior candidates Robert Brazile and Jerry Kramer and contributor candidate GM Bobby Beathard, will be voted on by the Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee on Feb. 3, 2018 in Minneapolis, on the day before the Super Bowl.
Between four and eight candidates will be enshrined in the Hall in Canton, Ohio next August.
My initial reaction is that there aren’t many surprising on this list. It will be interesting to see what voters do with the star WRs, multi-time candidate Owens and first-timer Moss. My guess is that no other WR gets in until these two do, whether that’s both getting in this year or not. Lewis is a no-brainer. And there remain a bunch of safeties who belong in the Hall, who, for whatever reason, have not been able to convince voters of their deservedness. I think Dawkins or Atwater should go in first, but any number warrant consideration.
Walls is biggest surprise – not that he doesn’t belong in the discussion but that he’s risen to this level out of nowhere. So, what are your thoughts?