We mention this every year, but the Pro Football Hall of Fame does things in a precise fashion, with multiple levels on the road to their annual induction process. Today, the Canton, Ohio based institution has announced their 15 Finalists for the Class of 2020.
This group was pared down from 25 Semi-Finalists:
The 15 Finalists are:
Steve Atwater: S 1989-98 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets.
Playing most of his career with the Denver Broncos where he won two Super Bowls, and was considered to be the one of the best hitting Defensive Back of his day. The Free Safety was twice a First Team All-Pro, and was named to the Pro Bowl eight times. This is Atwater’s third time as a Finalist, and his second in a row. He is ranked #5 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Tony Boselli: T 1995-01 Jacksonville Jaguars.
Perhaps the greatest Jag of all-time, Boselli is a Finalist for the fourth straight year. The Left Tackle went to five straight Pro Bowls (1996-00) and three straight First Team All-Pros (1997-99). He is ranked #54 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Isaac Bruce: WR 1994-07 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers.
A Super Bowl Champion with the Rams, Isaac Bruce retired with 15,208 Receiving Yards and 91 Touchdown Receptions. In addition his Super Bowl, he was a one-time First Team All-Pro and would go to four Pro Bowls. He is ranked #9 on Notinhalloffame.com.
LeRoy Butler: S 1990-01 Green Bay Packers
After two years as a Semi-Finalist, Butler is a Finalist for the first time. The creator of the “Lambeau Leap” and career Packer won a Super Bowl (XXXI), and was also a Pro Bowl and First Team All-Pro four times. He is ranked #81 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Alan Faneca: G 1998-07 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals.
This is the fifth year in a row that Faneca has been named a Finalist. He is a former Super Bowl Champion with the Steelers and went to nine Pro Bowls, while also being named to six First Team All-Pros. He is ranked #3 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Torry Holt: WR 1999-08 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars.
Holt finally broke through in his sixth year as a Semi-Finalist. A Super Bowl Champion with the Rams, Holt had 13,382 Receiving Yards with 74 TDs. Holt was also a seven-time Pro Bowl and one-time First Team All-Pro. He is ranked #11 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Steve Hutchinson: G 2001-05 Seattle Seahawks, 2006-11 Minnesota Vikings, 2012 Tennessee Titans.
Hutchinson is a Finalist for the third consecutive year, and the former Offensive Guard went to seven Pro Bowls and was a five-time First Team All-Pro. He is ranked #24 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Edgerrin James: RB 1999-05 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals, 2009 Seattle Seahawks.
For the fourth time and third straight year, James made to the Finals. With 15,610 Yards from Scrimmage and 91 Touchdowns, James went to four Pro Bowls, and was a one-time First Team All-Pro. He is ranked #20 on Notinhalloffame.com.
John Lynch: FS 1993-03 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos.
With his seventh appearance as a Hall of Fame Finalist, no one else who made it this far in the 2020 vote has reached this level more. Lynch was a member of the Bucs Super Bowl Championship Team, and he was a two-time First Team All-Pro, and was chosen for the Pro Bowl on nine occasions. He is ranked #31 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Sam Mills: LB 1986-94 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers.
For the first time, Mills becomes a Finalist, and he has been eligible since 2003. He had made the Semi-Finals twice before. Mills went from undrafted to five Pro Bowls, and he iconic in both New Orleans and Carolina. He is ranked #60 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Troy Polamalu: S 2003-14 Pittsburgh Steelers.
This is the first year of eligibility for Polamalu, and as expected, he is a Finalist on his first try. The Safety and career Steeler, was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2010, and was an eight-time Pro Bowl and four-time First Team All-Pro. Polamalu would also win two Super Bowls. He is ranked #7 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Richard Seymour: DE/DT 2001-08 New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders 2018-20.
Seymour is a Finalist for the second straight year, and the three-time Super Bowl Champion with the Patriots. He would go to seven Pro Bowls and was selected for three First Team All-Pros. He is ranked #52 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Zach Thomas: LB 1996-07 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys.
Thomas finally breaks through in his seventh year of eligibility, and last year it was the first time that he was able to make it to the Semis. The Linebacker accumulated more than 1,700 Tackles, and was selected for five First Team All-Pros and seven Pro Bowls. He is ranked #39 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Reggie Wayne: WR 2001-14 Indianapolis Colts.
Wayne advances as a Finalist in his first year of eligibility. The former Wide Receiver won a Super Bowl with the Colts, and would be chosen for six Pro Bowls. Wayne finished his career with 14,345 Yards and 82 Touchdowns. He is ranked #8 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Bryant Young: DT 1994-07 San Francisco 49ers.
This was the first time that Young was a Semi-Finalist after eight years of eligibility, and he went one step further. Young was a Super Bowl champion with San Francisco (XXIX), and was a four-time Pro Bowl Selection. He is ranked #178 on Notinhalloffame.com.
The 10 Semi-Finalists who did not make the cut are:
Carl Banks: LB 1984-92 New York Giants, 1993 Washington Redskins, 1994-95 Cleveland Browns. This was the only time that Banks made it as a Semi-Finalist.
Ronde Barber: CB/S 1997-12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This is Barber’s third straight year as a Semi-Finalist without advancing.
Clay Matthews: LB 1978-93 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons. Matthews has been a Semi-Finalist four times, with his first time coming in 2012.
Simeon Rice: DE 1996-00 Arizona Cardinals, 2001-06 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2007 Denver Broncos, 2007 Indianapolis Colts. Rice was also a Semi-Finalist in 2018.
Steve Tasker: ST/WR 1985-86 Houston Oilers, 1986-97 Buffalo Bills. Tasker is a Semi-Finalist for the seventh time. The last one was in 2013, his first in 2004.
Fred Taylor: RB 1998-08 Jacksonville Jaguars. 2009-10 New England Patriots. This is the first time that Taylor made the Semis.
Ricky Watters: RB 1992-94 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-97 Philadelphia Eagles, 1998-01 Seattle Seahawks. After being eligible since 2007, Watters received his first appearance as a Semi-Finalist.
Hines Ward: WR 1998-11 Pittsburgh Steelers. Ward has been a Semi-Finalist for four years, but has yet to make it to the Finals.
Patrick Willis: LB 2007-14 San Francisco 49ers. This is the first year that Willis is eligible.
Darren Woodson: S 1992-03 Dallas Cowboys. Woodson was a Semi- Finalist for the fourth time, but has yet to advance.
Only five of these former players will make the Class of 2020. They will be joined by 15 other names from the Centennial Blue Ribbon class, which will comprise of 10 players, three contributors and two coaches.
The announcement will occur on February 1, the day before Super Bowl LIV.
You know that we will be paying attention!