Five first-year eligible players – Jerome Bettis, Marshall Faulk, Curtis Martin, Willie Roaf, and Deion Sanders – are among the semifinalists being considered for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2011. Although the semifinalist list is usually limited to 25, this year there are 26 resulting from a tie for the final position. The Pro Football Hall of Fame By-Laws for the Selection Committee provides that the list shall consist of “twenty-five nominees plus all ties.”
The Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee chose the 26 semifinalists from the previously announced list of 114 preliminary nominees. In addition to the five first-year eligible nominees, two other previously eligible candidates, Edward DeBartolo, Jr. and Ed Sabol have made it to the semifinalist’s list for the first time. Each of the remaining 19 nominees on the Selection Committee’s list has been a semifinalist at least once prior to this year.
The complete list of 26 modern-era semifinalists is as follows:
RB – 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
, WR/KR – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
, WR – 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins
, Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers
, RB – 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings
, RB – 1995-2001 Denver Broncos
, C – 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers
Edward DeBartolo, Jr
., Owner – 1977-2000 San Francisco 49ers
, DE – 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles
, DE/LB – 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers
, RB – 1994-98 Indianapolis Colts, 1999-2005 St. Louis Rams
, LB/DE – 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers
, P – 1973-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
, DE/LB – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
, CB – 1977-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
, DT – 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks
, RB – 1995-97 New England Patriots, 1998-2005 New York Jets
, Owner – 1961-1995 Cleveland Browns, 1996-2003 Baltimore Ravens
, WR – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
, T – 1993-2001 New Orleans Saints, 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs
, Contributor – 1964-1995 NFL Films
, CB/KR/PR – 1989-1993 Atlanta Falcons, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-99 Dallas Cowboys, 2000 Washington Redskins, 2004-05 Baltimore Ravens
, TE – 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens
, Commissioner – 1989-2006 National Football League
, CB/S – 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams
, Contributor – 1968-1974 Baltimore Colts, 1975-78 Miami Dolphins, 1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League
The list of 26 semifinalists will be reduced by mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists. That list increases to 17 finalist nominees with the inclusion of the two recommended candidates of the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee. The Seniors Committee nominees, who were announced in August, are linebacker Chris Hanburger, Washington Redskins (1965-1978) and linebacker Les Richter, Los Angeles Rams (1954-1962).
The results of the modern-era reduction vote to 15 finalists will be announced in early January, 2011.
To be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a nominated player or coach must not have participated as an active player or coach for five consecutive seasons. A contributor, who is a nominee who has made outstanding contributions to pro football in capacities other than playing and coaching, may still be active in his pro football career.
Although there is no set number of Enshrinees for any Hall of Fame Class, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s current ground rules do 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 Enshrinees can only be achieved if one or both senior nominees are elected.
The Class of 2011 will be determined at the Selection Committee's annual meeting on Saturday, February 5, in North Texas the day before Super Bowl XLV. The election results will be announced at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT) during a one-hour NFL Network special, live from the Super Bowl media headquarters.
The Enshrinement Ceremony will be held in Canton on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011 in Fawcett Stadium. Ticket information will be available soon.
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