A huge day is afoot for us as the Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced their 25 Semi-Finalists for the Class of 2021.
The 25 were pared down from 130 Preliminary nominees, which includes four first year eligible players:
Eric Allen: Cornerback: 1998-94 Philadelphia, 1995-97 New Orleans Saints & 1998-01 Oakland Raiders. Eligible since 2007, Allen cracked his way to Semi-Finals for the first time. He has 54 career Interceptions and is a six-time Pro Bowl Selection. Ranked #42 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Jared Allen: Defensive End: 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-13 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears & 2016 Carolina Panthers. This is Allen’s first year of eligibility, and he was expected by many to make it to this round. Allen led the NHL in Sacks twice (2007 & 2011) and had 136.0 in total. He was also a five-time First Team All-Pro. Ranked #19 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Willie Anderson: Tackle: 1996-07 Cincinnati Bengals, 2008 Baltimore Ravens. Anderson has been Hall of Fame eligible since 2014, but this is his first time making it as a Semi-Finalist. Ranked #283 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Ronde Barber: Cornerback/Safety: 1997-12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Barber is a former Super Bowl Champion and was the 2001 leader in Interceptions. He has over 1,000 Solo Tackles with 47 career Interceptions. Barber is a Semi-Finalist for the fourth consecutive year, all beginning with his first year of eligibility. This has not yet translated into a Finalists appearance. Ranked #13 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Cornelius Bennett: Linebacker: 1987-95 Buffalo Bills, 1996-98 Atlanta Falcons & 1999-00 Indianapolis Colts. Bennett has been eligible since 2006 but this is the first time, he has made it to the Semi-Finals. Over his career, Bennett helped take Buffalo to four Super Bowls, had 71.5 Sacks and was a five-time Pro Bowler. Ranked #124 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Tony Boselli: Tackle: 1995-01 Jacksonville Jaguars & 2002 Houston Texans. The career of Boselli was short, but he is believed to be the greatest Jaguar of all-time. The Lineman has been a Finalist for the last four years. Ranked #45 on Notinhalloffame.com
LeRoy Butler: Safety: 1990-01 Green Bay Packers. Butler had 38 career Interceptions, won a Super Bowl and went to four Pro Bowls over his career. He is on a four-year streak of Semi-Finalist nods, and he was a Finalist last year. Ranked #73 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Alan Faneca: Guard: 1998-07 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets & 2010 Arizona Cardinals. A Super Bowl Champion with the Steelers, Faneca went to nine Pro Bowls and was a six-time First Team All-Pro. Faneca has been a Semi-Finalist and Finalist in his first five years of eligibility, and this is year six. Ranked #4 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Rodney Harrison: Safety: 1994-02 San Diego Chargers & 2003-08 New England Patriots. Winning two Super Bowls with the Patriots, Harrison is also a two-time Pro Bowler. Eligible since 2014, Harrison is a Semi-Finalist for the first time. Unranked on Notinhalloffame.com.
Torry Holt: Wide Receiver: 1998-08 St. Louis Rams & 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars. Holt won a Super Bowl with the Rams, and he went to seven Pro Bowls with 12,832 career Receiving Yards. Holt made it to the Finals last year, and has been a Semi-Finalist every year, with this ballot making number seven. Ranked #9 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Calvin Johnson: Wide Receiver: 2007-15 Detroit Lions. Johnson went to six Pro Bowls, three First Team All-Pros and was considered the most exciting Wide Receiver of his day. This is his first year on the ballot. Ranked #27 on Notinhalloffame.com.
John Lynch: Free Safety: 1993-03 Tampa Bay Buccaneers & 2004-07 Denver Broncos. Lynch went to seven Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay. He has been a Finalist the last seven years, and is likely set for an eighth. Ranked #25 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Peyton Manning: Quarterback: 1998-11 Indianapolis Colts & 2012-15 Denver Broncos. Manning took both the Colts and Broncos to a Super Bowl win, and he is a five-time MVP with 14 Pro Bowls and seven First Team All-Pros. He would throw for 71,940 Yards and 539 Touchdowns and this is his first year on the ballot. Ranked #1 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Clay Matthews: Linebacker: 1978-93 Cleveland Browns & 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons. A four-time Pro Bowler, Matthews had 69.5 Sacks with 1,595 Combined Tackles. Matthews is a Semi-Finalist for the fifth straight time, but has never been a Finalist. This is his last year on the Modern Era ballot, so it is now or (likely) never. Ranked #75 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Sam Mills: Linebacker: 1986-94 New Orleans Saints & 1995-97 Carolina Panthers. A five-time Pro Bowler, Mills began his pro career in the USFL. A four-time Semi-Finalist, Mills made it to the Finals for the first time, last year, but only has two more years of Modern Era eligibility. Ranked #48 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Richard Seymour: Defensive End/Defensive Tackle: 2001-08 New England Patriots & 2009-12 Oakland Raiders. Seymour won three Super Bowls with the Patriots, went to seven Pro Bowls and was a three-time First Team All-Pro. He is a Semi-Finalist for the fourth straight year and was a Finalist the last two years. Ranked #39 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Steve Tasker: Special Teams/Wide Receiver: 1985-86 Houston Oilers & 1986-97 Buffalo Bills. Tasker went to seven Pro Bowls, and despite having never been a Finalist, he has been a Semi-Finalist seven other times. Ranked #106 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Fred Taylor: Running Back: 1998-08 Jacksonville Jaguars & 2009-10 New England Patriots. With 11,695 career Rushing Yards, Taylor is also a one-time Pro Bowl Selection. Taylor, who was first eligible in 2016, is on his second straight Semi-Finalist ballot. Ranked #171 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Zach Thomas: Linebacker: 1996-07 Miami Dolphins & 2008 Dallas Cowboys: Thomas led the NFL in Combined Tackles twice (2002 & 2006) and he is five-time First Team All-Pro. He also has 1,727 career Combined Tackles. A Semi-Finalist for the last three years, Thomas was a Finalist for the first time, last year. Ranked #23 on Notinhalloffame.com
Hines Ward: Wide Receiver: 1998-11 Pittsburgh Steelers. Ward won two Super Bowls with a Super Bowl MVP on his resume, and the four-time Pro Bowl Selection recorded an even 1,000 Receptions with 12,083 Yards with 86 Touchdowns. Ward has been a Semi-Finalist every year since eligibility, but it has not translated into a spot in the Finals. Ranked #33 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Reggie Wayne: Wide Receiver: 2001-14 Indianapolis Colts. A six-time Pro Bowl and one-time Super Bowl Champion, Wayne has 14,345 Receiving Yards with 82 Touchdowns. Wayne was a Finalist last year in what was his first year on the ballot. Ranked #8 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Patrick Willis: Linebacker: 2007-14 San Francisco 49ers. The Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2007, Willis went to five First Team All-Pros over his career. Willis was a Semi-Finalist last year in what was his first year of eligibility. Ranked #15 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Charles Woodson: Cornerback/Safety: 1998-05 & 2013-15 Oakland Raiders & 2006-12 Green Bay Packers. Woodson is a Super Bowl Champion with the Packers and has 65 career Interceptions. The nine-time Pro Bowler is also a former Defensive Rookie of the Year (1998) and Defensive Player of the Year (2009). This is Woodson’s first year of eligibility. Ranked #2 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Darren Woodson: Safety: 1992-03 Dallas Cowboys. Woodson won three Super Bowls with Dallas and was a three-time First Team All-Pro. This is his fifth year as a Semi-Finalist but Woodson has yet to be named a Finalist. Ranked #94 on Notinhalloffame.com.
Bryant Young: Defensive Tackle: 1994-07 San Francisco 49ers. Eligible since 2013, Young was a Semi-Finalist and Finalist last year for the first time. The career Niner had 89.5 Sacks, won a Super Bowl and went to four Pro Bowls. Ranked #164 on Notinhalloffame.com.
The only two eligible Semi-Finalists from last year who did not reach this stage are Ricky Watters and Simeon Rice.
This group will be shrunk to 15 in January.
We are in the preliminary stages of creating a Zoom meeting of football bloggers and Hall of Fame aficionados who will act as if we are the Pro Football Hall of Fame Committee and debate as to who we think should advance.