On Saturday, it was announced that LaDainian Tomlinson, Kurt Warner, and Terrell Davis will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as members of the 2017 class.
With a series of big-name players entering their first year of eligibility next season and a few notable snubs, we took a look at whose names you can expect to hear at next year's announcement.
2 Super Bowls, 2 Defensive POY awards, 228 games, 1,336 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 31 interceptions
Lewis established himself as a force in the NFL early, making his first Pro Bowl in his second season and finishing with 13 career appearances, one short of the all-time record. Over 17 season with the Ravens, Lewis was known as the best middle linebacker in the pros, winning two Defensive Player of the Year awards and earning a spot on the 2000's All-Decade team. His personal resume, along with a pair of Super Bowls, should be enough for him to make the hall in his first year of eligibility.
6 Pro Bowls, 218 games, 982 catches, 12,292 receiving yards, 156 touchdowns
There may be a bit of a logjam at the receiver position, but they're about to be Moss'd. The league's third all-time leading receiver spent 14 seasons ruining the lives of defensive backs and earning the reputation as the best deep threat and claiming a spot on the 2000's All-Decade team. He came in with a bang, winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 1998, and following it with six straight seasons of over 1,200 receiving yards.
1 Super Bowl, 5 Pro Bowls, 241 games, 1,028 tackles, 47 interceptions, 166 pass deflections, 28 sacks
As one of the great ironmen in NFL history, Barber's consistently high play over a 16-year career is what puts him in on the first shot. The former Buccaneers defensive back's 241 games played ranks second among cornerbacks and with 240 of those games played constructively, he holds the eighth longest ironman streak. Like Moss and Lewis, Barber is a member of the 2000's All-Decade team.
Second Time’s The Charm
9 Pro Bowls, 224 games, 895 tackles, 37 interceptions, 36 forced fumbles, 26 sacks
It's hard to imagine how a kicker got into the Hall of Fame before perhaps the best safety ever, but it happened – it won't again. Dawkins was one of the NFL's hardest hitting defenders through 16 seasons split between the Eagles and Broncos. He was a perennial Pro Bowler, being named an All-Star nine times. The voters didn't call his name in his first time as a finalist, but with likely first-ballot Canton member and fellow All-Decade safety Ed Reed becoming eligible in the next class, they won't want to create a waiting line at the position.
3 Super Bowls, 5 Pro Bowls, 203 games, 838 tackles, 53 interceptions, 88 pass deflections
As a member of each of the Patriots' three early-2000's Super Bowl teams, Law was one of the most successful defensive backs the league has seen. Along with Dawkins, Law made the final 10 list for this year's Hall of Fame class, but could make the final cut. He was a consistent cover man throughout his career and one of the Patriots' best defenders in franchise history, as well as another member of the 2000's All-Decade team.
Finally Cracking Canton
6 Pro Bowls, 219 games, 1,078 catches, 15,934 receiving yards, 153 touchdowns
The reason Owens hasn't already made the Hall of Fame is simple, but stupid. His stats speak for themselves as he finished his career with the third-most receiving yards and second-most receiving touchdowns ever. The voters haven't put him in due to his volatile nature when dealing with the media throughout his 16 seasons, but after two years of fans yelling "are you kidding me?" Owens' unlikeable personality should be overlooked.
NFL Commissioner (1989-2006)
The former commissioner did more for the league's diversity and growth into the media giant it is than anyone else. He engineered the expansion to 32 teams, avoided any lockouts, strengthened television contracts, and established the league's substance abuse policy. He reportedly missed the 2017 class by one vote and after another year of comparisons to Goodell, Tagliabue should get the nod.
There’s not enough room for everyone, so their will have to be some snubs.
Safety John Lynch’s new job as San Francisco 49ers general manager could muddy his reputation. He’s been a finalist the last four years, but with fellow defensive backs Barber, Law, and Dawkins already going in, Lynch will be left out to dry.
As another name on the voters final 10 list this year, Tony Boselli will get in eventually, but his eight-year career doesn't stack up with his competitors. Isaac Bruce will need to wait for Moss and Owens before he hears his name called to Canton. Brian Urlacher will be another first-year eligible candidate, but his lack of postseason success will force the linebacker to wait a year or two.
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