17 Finalists for Hall of Fame election
Pro Football Hall of Fame
January 15, 2008
Two first-year eligible players, wide receiver Cris Carter and cornerback Darrell Green are among the 17 finalists who will be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame when the Hall’s Board of Selectors meets in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday, February 2, 2008.
Joining the two first-year eligible players, are 12 other modern-era players, one contributor and two players nominated earlier by the Hall of Fame’s Senior Committee. The contributor finalist is former National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. The Senior Committee nominees, announced in August 2007, are Chicago Cardinals back Marshall Goldberg and Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Emmitt Thomas. The other modern-era player finalists include defensive ends Fred Dean and Richard Dent; linebackers Randy Gradishar, Derrick Thomas and Andre Tippett; guards Russ Grimm, Bob Kuechenberg and Randall McDaniel; punter Ray Guy; wide receivers Art Monk and Andre Reed; and tackle Gary Zimmerman.
To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent.
Listed alphabetically, the 17 finalists with their positions, teams, and years active follow:
Cris Carter – Wide Receiver – 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins
Fred Dean – Defensive End – 1975-1981 San Diego Chargers, 1981-85 San Francisco 49ers
Richard Dent – Defensive End – 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles
Marshall Goldberg – Back – 1939-1943, 1946-48 Chicago Cardinals
Randy Gradishar – Linebacker – 1974-1983 Denver Broncos
Darrell Green – Cornerback – 1983-2002 Washington Redskins
Russ Grimm – Guard – 1981-1991 Washington Redskins
Ray Guy – Punter – 1973-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
Bob Kuechenberg – Guard – 1970-1984 Miami Dolphins
Randall McDaniel – Guard – 1988-1999 Minnesota Vikings, 2000-2001 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Art Monk – Wide Receiver – 1980-1993 Washington Redskins, 1994 New York Jets, 1995 Philadelphia Eagles
Andre Reed – Wide Receiver – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
Paul Tagliabue – Commissioner – 1989-2006 National Football League
Derrick Thomas – Linebacker – 1989-1999 Kansas City Chiefs
Emmitt Thomas – Cornerback – 1966-1978 Kansas City Chiefs
Andre Tippett – Linebacker – 1982-1993 New England Patriots
Gary Zimmerman – Tackle – 1986-1992 Minnesota Vikings, 1993-97 Denver Broncos
Dean, Dent, Goldberg, Gradishar, Grimm, Guy, Kuechenberg, Monk, Reed, Tagliabue, Derrick Thomas, Tippett, and Zimmerman have all been finalists in previous years. Although they have been previously eligible, this is the first time Emmitt Thomas and McDaniel have made the finalist list.
From this year’s list, nine players – Goldberg, Gradishar, Green, Grimm, Guy, Kuechenberg, Derrick Thomas, Emmitt Thomas, and Tippett – spent their entire NFL career with just one team.
Goldberg and Emmitt Thomas were selected as senior candidates by the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee at their August 2007 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 Board of Selectors from a list of 124 preliminary nominees that earlier was reduced to a list of 26 semifinalists (that included a tie for the 25th semifinalist position). To be eligible for election, modern-era players and coaches must be retired at least five years while a contributor need not be retired.
The Board of Selectors will meet in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday, February 2, 2008, to elect the Hall of Fame Class of 2008.
At the 2008 election meeting, the selectors will thoroughly discuss the careers of each finalist before narrowing the field to seven candidates. At least four candidates must be elected but the total class cannot number more than seven.
Of the 2008 finalists, Goldberg has been eligible for 46 years (the Hall of Fame opened in 1963, at which time Goldberg would have been first eligible), Emmitt Thomas 25 years, Gradishar 20, Kuechenberg 19, Dean 18 years, Guy 17, Grimm 12, Tippett 10, Monk eight years, Dent and Zimmerman six years, Derrick Thomas four years, Reed three years, McDaniel two years, and Carter and Green are in their first year of eligibility. Contributors, such as Tagliabue, need not to be retired to be considered for Hall of Fame election. Therefore there is no specific year at which he first became “eligible” for consideration. The Class of 2008 will be announced at a press conference at 2:30 p.m. (MT) on Saturday, February 2, at the Super Bowl media center in the Phoenix Convention Center.
Representatives of the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche will tabulate all votes during the meeting. At the press conference, they will present Hall of Fame President/Executive Director Steve Perry with an envelope containing the names of the nominees elected. The Hall will contact each new member immediately after the announcement. Members of the Class of 2008 in Phoenix for the Super Bowl will be invited to the press conference. Those not able to attend will be asked to join via teleconference.
The Enshrinement of the Class of 2008 will take place at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, on Saturday, August 2, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. ET. The Enshrinement Ceremony will be televised live by both ESPN and the NFL Network. The annual Hall of Fame Game will be played on Sunday, August 3, 2008 at 8:00 p.m. and broadcast live by NBC. Teams have not yet been announced.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival, designated by The American Bus Association as one of the Top 100 Events in North America in 2008, is a multi-day celebration of the enshrinement of the newest Hall of Fame Class. Held in Canton each year, the festival includes 15 special public events and culminates with the Enshrinement Ceremony and NFL Hall of Fame Game. Two other major events are the Enshrinees Dinner (Friday, August 1), and the Enshrinees GameDay Roundtable (Sunday, August 3). It is at the Enshrinees Dinner where each member of the Class of 2008 will be presented his gold Pro Football Hall of Fame Jacket. At the GameDay Roundtable, the members of the Class of 2008 will be featured center stage to share memories of the game and their personal feelings about being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.