Two first-year eligible nominees – coach Bill Parcells and tackle Will Shields – are among the 15 modern-era finalists who will be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame when the Hall’s Selection Committee meets in Indianapolis, Ind. on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012.
Joining the first-year eligible, are 12 modern-era players and a contributor. The 15 modern-era finalists, along with the two senior nominees announced in August 2011 (former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Jack Butler and former Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins guard Dick Stanfel) will be the only candidates considered for Hall of Fame election when the 44-member Selection Committee meets. To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent.
Although technically a first-year eligible candidate, Parcells has been a finalist twice before (2001, 2002) following his announced retirement as head coach of the New York Jets in 1999. At the time the Hall of Fame By-Laws did not require a coach to be retired the now mandatory five seasons. Parcells returned to coach the Dallas Cowboys in 2003 and the five-year waiting period was in effect when he retired from coaching in 2006.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee’s 17 finalists (15 modern-era and two senior nominees*) with their positions, teams, and years active follow:
- Jerome Bettis – Running Back – 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
- Tim Brown – Wide Receiver/Kick Returner – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Jack Butler* – Cornerback – 1951-59 Pittsburgh Steelers
- Cris Carter – Wide Receiver – 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins
- Dermontti Dawson – Center – 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers
- Edward DeBartolo, Jr. – Owner – 1977-2000 San Francisco 49ers
- Chris Doleman – Defensive End/Linebacker – 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers
- Kevin Greene – Linebacker/Defensive End – 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers
- Charles Haley – Defensive End/Linebacker – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
- Cortez Kennedy – Defensive Tackle – 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks
- Curtis Martin – Running Back – 1995-97 New England Patriots, 1998-2005 New York Jets
- Bill Parcells – Coach – 1983-1990 New York Giants, 1993-96 New England Patriots, 1997-99 New York Jets, 2003-06 Dallas Cowboys
- Andre Reed – Wide Receiver – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 WashingtonRedskins
- Willie Roaf – Tackle – 1993-2001 New Orleans Saints, 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs
- Will Shields – Guard – 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs
- Dick Stanfel* – Guard – 1952-55 Detroit Lions, 1956-58 Washington Redskins
- Aeneas Williams – Cornerback/Safety – 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams
In addition to Parcells, other finalists who have been eligible in previous years include Bettis, Brown, Carter, Dawson, Doleman, Haley, Kennedy, Martin, Reed, Roaf and Stanfel. Although they were eligible in previous years, this is the first time Butler, DeBartolo, Greene and Williams have been finalists.
From this year’s list, four players – Butler, Dawson, Kennedy, and Shields spent their entire NFL career with just one team.
Butler and Stanfel were selected as senior candidates by the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee at their August 2011 meeting. The Seniors Committee reviews the qualifications of those players whose careers took place more than 25 years ago. The remaining 15 modern-era finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall’s 44-member Selection Committee from a list of 105 preliminary nominees that earlier was reduced to a list of 26 semifinalists.
To be eligible for election, modern-era players and coaches must be retired at least five consecutive seasons. Contributors need not be retired.
Doleman, Greene, and Haley have been eligible for eight years. Dawson, Kennedy, and Reed have each been eligible for election for seven years, Carter five years, and Brown and Williams three years. Bettis, Martin and Roaf are in their second year of eligibility. Since the retirement minimum for a player prior to 1968 was three years, senior nominees Butler and Stanfel have been eligible since 1963 when the Hall of Fame first opened.
The Selection Committee will meet in Indianapolis, Ind. on Saturday, February 4, 2012, to elect the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2012. The election results will be announced at 5:30 p.m. ET during a one-hour NFL Network special, live from the Super Bowl Media Center. The Class of 2012 will be the 50th class to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
At the 2012 selection meeting, the selectors will thoroughly discuss the careers of each finalist. Although there is no set number for any class of enshrinees, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s current ground rules stipulate that between four and seven new members will be selected each year. No more than five modern-era nominees can be elected in a given year and a class of six or seven can only be achieved if one or both senior nominees are elected. Representatives of the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche will tabulate all votes during the meeting.
At the announcement, Pro Football Hall of Fame President/Executive Director Steve Perry will be presented with an envelope containing the names of the nominees elected. Each newly elected member will be contacted immediately by the Hall of Fame. Members of the Class of 2012 in Indianapolis for the Super Bowl will be asked to join the live announcement show. Those not able to attend will be asked to join via teleconference.