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The Pro Football Hall of Fame's 48-person Selection Committee is charged with the vital task of continuing to be sure that new enshrinees are the finest the game has produced (see list below).
FAQ about the Hall's selection process
The Committee consists of one media representative from each pro football city with two from New York, inasmuch as that city has two teams in the National Football League. There are 16 at-large selectors, all of whom are also active members of the media including one representative of the Pro Football Writers of America, and two members of the Hall of Fame.
All appointments are open-ended and approved annually by a majority vote of the Hall of Fame's Board of Trustees. The Selection Committee meets annually on the Saturday before the Super Bowl to elect new members. There is no set number for any class of enshrinees, but the Committee's current ground rules do stipulate that between four and eight new members will be selected each year. Every candidate is carefully scrutinized and must receive at least 80 percent approval of the Selection Committee at the annual meeting before he can be elected. A scale of negative votes for elimination that will vary depending on the number of Selectors in attendance is used.
When the Selectors meet in February on the eve of Super Bowl LI in Houston, Texas, to name the Class of 2017, they will have before them a roster of 18 finalists, along with detailed biographies on each. The 18 Finalists include 15 Modern-Era nominees and on an alternating annual basis either one or two Senior nominees and one or two Contributor nominees. The Senior and Contributor finalists are selected by special nine-person committees appointed from the full Selection Committee.
Yearly Finalists (All-time Alphabetical Listing)
The Senior and Contributor finalists will also be voted on for election independent of all other finalists. Like all nominees the Senior and Contributor nominees must also receive 80 percent approval of the Selection Committee for election.
The nominees for the Class of 2017 includes one Senior finalist (Kenny Easley) and two Contributor Finalists (Jerry Jones and Paul Tagliabue).
The provision allowing for of one or two Senior and Contributor finalists on alternating years was approved by the Board of Trustees as a five-year temporary measure starting with the Class of 2015. At the end of the five-year period (2019), the process will again be reviewed.
The other finalists will be the survivors from a preliminary list of candidates that the Committee will have screened by mail ballot. Any fan may nominate any qualified person who has been connected with pro football in any capacity simply by writing to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The only restriction is that a player and coach must have last played or coached at least five seasons before he can be considered. For example, a candidate for the Class of 2017 must have concluded his career not later than the 2011 season.
There is no mandatory retirement period for a Contributor. Every nomination received will be processed and forwarded to the Selection Committee.
It is important to emphasize that the Hall of Fame itself has no say whatsoever as to who is or is not elected to membership. The only function of the staff is to process the nominations as they arrive and to coordinate the annual meeting.
* Member of the Seniors Selection Committee.
# Member of the Contributors Selection Committee.