The Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced its 15 modern-era finalists who are eligible to be enshrined as the Class of 2014 in Canton, Ohio. After the Selection Committee votes, the new class of Hall of Famers will be announced February 1st during the NFL Honors at Radio City Music Hall in New York. There are four first-year eligible finalists this year: Derrick Brooks, former Tampa Bay linebacker; Tony Dungy, who coached Tampa Bay and Indianapolis; Marvin Harrison, former Indianapolis receiver; and Walter Jones, former Seattle offensive tackle. Derrick Brooks is a favorite of the first-year eligible group, with 11 Pro Bowl appearances, 8 First-Team All-NFC selections and 6 First-Team All-Pro choices. Add being selected for the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s, and a Super Bowl title, Brooks is no stranger to honors. Brooks was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2002 when he led the Bucs in total defense with 173 tackles, registered a career-high 5 interceptions, 15 passes defensed, one fumble recovered, and one sack.
Tony Dungy was the first African-American head coach to win the Super Bowl when the Colts defeated in the Bears during the 2006 season. Dungy’s first head coach position was with the struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1996. Under his leadership, the Bucs made 4 playoff appearances in six seasons. Dungy was then hired by Indianapolis and helped the team to attain five divisional titles and to advance to the playoffs every year of Dungy’s tenure as coach. Dungy lead the Colts to post 12 or more season wins in six of his seven-year reign. Marvin Harrison is an 8-time Pro Bowler, 6-time All-Pro selection, and was a selection for the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s. The 2002 NFL season may have been his best, with his 143 receptions breaking the NFL single-season record and had a career-high 1,722 yards and 11 TDs. He received the 2002 NFL Alumni Wide Receiver of the Year award honoring his hard work. At retirement, Harrison’s record included 1,102 career receptions for 14,580 yards and 128 touchdowns. Harrison enjoyed most of his career success playing alongside Peyton Manning, and in 158 games the pair achieved the most completions, yards, and touchdowns by a duo in NFL history.
Walter Jones played as a dedicated Seattle Seahawk for his entire career and earned 9 Pro Bowl appearances and an NFL 2000s All-Decade Team selection. The 6-time All-Pro played an instrumental part in MVP teammate Shaun Alexander’s NFL record-setting success, and helped Ricky Watters achieve three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons for the Seahawks. Deemed the best left tackle in the NFL by John Madden, it is not hard to see why: Jones allowed only 23 sacks in 13 seasons, less than 2 sacks per season. Jones’ number 71 was retired with him, making him one of only three players in Seahawks history to have his jersey retired. Governor Chris Gregoire also honored Jones by declaring April 30th as “Walter Jones Day” in the state of Washington. Included among the 15 hopefuls vying for a spot in Canton’s Pro Football Hall of Fame are previously nominated notable veterans wide receiver Andre Reed, running back Jerome Bettis, and defensive end Michael Strahan.
Andre Reed, former Buffalo Bills all-pro receiver, is in his seventh straight year as a finalist for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Reed is a 7-time Pro Bowl selection and was a key wide receiver in the Buffalo Bills four consecutive Super Bowl appearances. Reed retired third all-time in receptions with 951 career receptions, sixth in receiving yards with 13,198 receiving yards, and seventh all-time with 86 receiving touchdowns. If enshrined as part of the Class of 2014, this accomplished wide receiver’s career receiving yards would rank 4th among the 22 Pro Football Hall of Fame receivers. Reed also holds impressive Super Bowl records: his 27 career Super Bowl receptions record is second only to Hall of Famer Jerry Rice and his 323 total Super Bowl receiving yards are the third most in Super Bowl history. Reed is also remembered for his key role in Bills’ “The Comeback” game win over the Houston Oilers. In “The Comeback” game, Reed caught three touchdowns in the second half to lead the Bills to the largest comeback in NFL history. Jermone Bettis, nicknamed “The Bus” for his ability to carry multiple defenders on his back during his carries, is a Hall of Fame finalist for the fourth consecutive year. A 6-time Pro Bowler, Bettis ranked fifth all-time in rushing with 13,662 yards on 3,479 career carries at the time of his retirement. Bettis was the leading ground gainer multiple times in 10 seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and retired after his only Super Bowl appearance (Super Bowl XL) where the Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks in Bettis’s hometown of Detroit.
Michael Strahan spent his entire 15-year career as a player on the New York Giants, earning 7 Pro Bowl selections and chosen All-Pro 5 times. Strahan was a dominant defensive end, leading him to be honored as a 2001 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and a two-time NFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2001 and 2003. He ranks 5th all-time in career sacks at 141.5, and holds the NFL’s single-season sack record of 22.5. Here is a full list of finalists: Morten Andersen – K; New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings Will Shields – G; Kansas City Chiefs Jerome Bettis – RB; Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers Derrick Brooks – LB; Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tim Brown – WR/KR; Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Edward DeBartolo, Jr. – Owner; San Francisco 49ers Tony Dungy – Coach; Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indiana Colts Kevin Greene – LB/DE; Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers Charles Haley – LB/DE; San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys Marvin Harrison – WR; Indianapolis Colts Walter Jones – T; Seattle Seahawks John Lynch – FS; Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Denver Broncos Andre Reed – WR; Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins Michael Strahan – DE; New York Giants Aeneas Williams – CB/S; Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams The senior nominees are Ray Guy and Claude Humphrey. The Selection Committee will choose a maximum of 5 non-senior finalists and 2 senior finalists.
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