2004 Preliminary Nominees

2004 Preliminary Nominees

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Sixty-Seven on the Hall’s Nomination List for the Class of 2004


John Elway

Former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway, a first-year eligible candidate, heads a list of sixty-seven former players, coaches, and contributors who make up the preliminary list of nominees for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2004.

From this preliminary list, Hall of Fame selectors will choose 23 semi-finalists that will be added to two carryover candidates from last year. Former New York Giants linebacker Harry Carson and team and league executive George Young are automatic finalists because they finished in the top six in the voting last year. The list of 25 semi-finalists will be announced in early November.


 Harry Carson

The 25 semi-finalists list will be reduced by a mail ballot to 13 modern-era candidates (11 plus Carson and Young). That list will increase to 15 finalists with the addition of two previously announced Senior Committee nominees, Bob Brown and Bob Hayes. Brown was an All-NFL tackle with the Philadelphia Eagles (1964-1968), Los Angeles Rams (1969-1970), and Oakland Raiders (1971-1973), and Bob Hayes, an All-NFL wide receiver with the Dallas Cowboys (1965-1974) and the San Francisco 49ers (1975).

The Class of 2004 will be selected from the list of 15 finalists. The actual voting will be conducted at the Selection Committee’s annual meeting, which will be held on Saturday, January 31, 2004, in Houston, Texas, the day before Super Bowl XXXVIII. The election results will be announced immediately after the meeting at a press conference in the media headquarters. While there is no set number for any class of enshrinees, the ground rules provide that between three and six new members will be selected. This is a change in the Hall of Fame’s By-Laws as of 2004. Prior to 2004, the rules stipulated that between four and seven members would be selected.


 Barry Sanders

This is also the first year that Hall of Fame selectors will have the opportunity to consider two senior nominees among the 15 finalists. Previously, only one senior nominee was considered each year. Additionally, this is the first time the selectors will vote to reduce the preliminary modern-era candidate list to 25 semi-finalists before reducing to 15 finalists.

Other first-year eligible candidates joining Elway for consideration for the Class of 2004 include running back Barry Sanders, wide receiver Henry Ellard, and defensive back Albert Lewis. Also on the impressive preliminary list are three former head coaches, and seven contributors, including NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

To be considered for Hall of Fame election, a nominated player must have been retired at least five years. For a non-player, there is no mandatory retirement period, but a coach must be retired before he may be considered. A contributor, who is a nominee who has made outstanding contributions to pro football in capacities other than playing or coaching, may still be active in his pro football career.

 Year-by-Year Finalists

Selection Process

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