Revised, 9/14/10, 11:00 a.m. ET
Cornerback Deion Sanders, running backs Jerome Bettis, Marshall Faulk, and Curtis Martin, wide receiver Jimmy Smith, tackle Willie Roaf, and coach Dick Vermeil are first-year eligible candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2011.
From this year’s preliminary list of 114 modern-era nominees, Hall of Fame selectors will choose 25 candidates who will advance as semifinalist nominees. The list of 25 modern-era semifinalists will be announced in mid-November.
The semifinalists list will be reduced by a mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists that will be announced in early January.
The final list of nominees that will be considered for election will consist of the 15 modern-era finalists and the two previously announced senior nominees, former Washington Redskins linebacker Chris Hanburger and former Los Angeles Rams linebacker Les Richter. Hanburger and Richter were selected this past August by the Hall of Fame’s Senior Selection Committee.
In 2008 the Hall of Fame modified its by-laws for the Selection Committee making it mandatory for coaches to be retired five consecutive seasons. Prior to that change coaches were eligible immediately upon retirement. As such, Vermeil was nominated in 2001 and again in 2007. This is his first year of eligibility since the change in the by-laws.
The Class of 2011 will be selected from the list of 17 finalists (15 modern-era and two senior nominees). The actual voting will be conducted at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee’s annual meeting, which will be held on Saturday, February 5, 2011 the day before Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in North Texas. The election results will be announced that evening during a nationally televised broadcast live from the Super Bowl media headquarters.
While there is no set number for any class of enshrinees, the selection process by-laws provide that between four and seven new members will be selected.
The preliminary list includes 84 players, 9 coaches and 21 contributors, including former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and longtime team owners Bud Adams, Jr., and Art Modell.
To be considered for Pro Football Hall of Fame election, a nominated player or coach must have been retired at least five years. A contributor, who is an individual who has made outstanding career contributions to pro football in capacities other than playing or coaching, may still be active in his pro football career.
Once again the Hall of Fame is calling on fans and asking them to vote for who they believe should be included in the Class of 2011 at www.fanschoice.com. For the second consecutive year, the Hall of Fame is teaming up with Van Heusen and J.C. Penney to provide fans with a dedicated platform forum to debate, discuss, and cast their ballot. To kick off the campaign, a team of Hall of Famers including campaign spokesman Steve Young, and Harry Carson, Warren Moon, Roger Staubach and Jerry Rice will be in New York City today casting the first “vote” and discussing their picks for the Class of 2011.
The Fan’s Choice campaign gives fans unprecedented access to Hall of Famers, educates fans about the Hall of Fame selection process and brings them aggregated Hall of Fame news from across the country. Last year, nearly 1.5 million votes were cast for the inaugural Fan’s Choice for the Class of 2010.
2011 Preliminary Nominees
More from Profootballhof.com
Hanburger, Richter named senior nominees