Technology from EY Making Virtual Vote for Class of 2021 Possible


For the first time, Selectors determining the members of a Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement class will conduct their annual meeting and cast their ballots electronically and remotely. The virtual session to select the Class of 2021 is scheduled for Jan. 19, 2021.

The ability of the Hall of Fame’s 48-person Selection Committee to meet virtually and to cast their ballots securely via computer is possible through a collaboration between the Hall and Ernst & Young LLP (EY).

“Our goal was to improve the efficiency and ensure the integrity of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection process, and we were able to accomplish that through this digital technology,” said EY Partner Joe Lukac. “We are proud to assist the Selection Committee in continuing the legacy of the Legends of the game.”

This will be the second year EY has overseen the selection process for the Hall. For the Centennial Class of 2020, the company provided on-site tabulation and security of standard paper ballots at the meeting held on the Saturday prior to Super Bowl LIV in Miami and for the Blue-Ribbon Panel’s meeting in January 2020.

To improve and streamline the voting process for future classes, EY and the Hall of Fame last year began collaborating on a digital process that would allow secure electronic voting and tabulation of ballots. That effort became more critical this spring, amid the global COVID-19 pandemic and the realization that a virtual meeting could be necessary. As Super Bowl LV drew nearer, it became apparent that health, safety and travel considerations would preclude an in-person meeting of all 48 Selectors in Tampa, Fla.

The electronic voting process already has been used twice in conjunction with the Class of 2021: when the list of 130 eligible Modern-Era Player candidates announced last September was reduced to 25 Semifinalists in November and again for the cut to 15 Finalists announced Jan. 5.

Nominees for the Class of 2021 include those 15 Modern-Era Players, along with Coach, Contributor and Senior finalists nominees (one each).

Finalists from the Modern-Era Player category for the Class of 2021 are:

  • Jared Allen, Defensive End – 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers
  • Ronde Barber, Cornerback/Safety – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Tony Boselli, Tackle – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve)
  • LeRoy Butler, Safety – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers
  • Alan Faneca, Guard – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals
  • Torry Holt, Wide Receiver – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Calvin Johnson, Wide Receiver – 2007-2015 Detroit Lions
  • John Lynch, Safety – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos
  • Peyton Manning, Quarterback – 1998-2011 Indianapolis Colts (injured reserve 2011), 2012-15 Denver Broncos
  • Clay Matthews Jr., Linebacker – 1978-1993 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons
  • Sam Mills, Linebacker – 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers
  • Richard Seymour, Defensive End/Defensive Tackle – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders
  • Zach Thomas, Linebacker – 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys
  • Reggie Wayne, Wide Receiver – 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts
  • Charles Woodson, Cornerback/Safety – 1998-2005, 2013-15 Oakland Raiders, 2006-2012 Green Bay Packers

The Committee may elect up to five of the Modern-Era Player candidates for enshrinement. Tom Flores (Coach), Bill Nunn (Contributor) and Drew Pearson (Senior) will be considered individually in their categories. Each candidate must receive at least 80 percent voting in his favor to be elected. The Class of 2021 will be enshrined in Canton on Aug. 8, 2021.

“We appreciate EY for providing the Hall of Fame with an electronic platform that will make selecting the Class of 2021 safe, secure and efficient,” said David Baker, President & CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “This process will provide immediate results as votes are taken, so it probably will shorten what could be a long day for our Selectors, who have the difficult task of determining who will be in the Class of 2021 from all the worthy candidates.”