Bill Belichick headlines Hall of Fame centennial blue-ribbon panel for 20-member class
The Patriots' coach will help determine the Hall of Fame's biggest induction class to date
Bill Belichick is used to selecting players to help the New England Patriots add to their collection of Vince Lombardi Trophies. Over the next few months, Belichick will be selecting players to help the NFL's most prestigious committee.
Belichick, who will one day see his own career immortalized in Canton, Ohio, is part of the Hall of Fame's centennial blue-ribbon panel that will help construct next year's Hall of Fame class that will include 10 senior nominees, five modern era nominees, three contributors and two coaches. The 20-member class -- the largest in the Hall of Fame's history -- will be unveiled on the eve of Super Bowl LIV from Miami.
The 48-member, blue-ribbon panel will be tasked with trimming the current down to 25 semifinalists in November and 15 finalists in January. The entire committee will meet in Miami while selecting the five inductees along with the rest of the 20-member class.
Along with Belichick, who is the only head coach in NFL history to win six Super Bowl titles, the newly constructed blue ribbon panel will include legendary coach/broadcaster John Madden, a 2006 inductee who guided the Oakland Raiders to a victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI before embarking on a 30-year broadcasting career. The panel also includes Bill Polian, a 2015 inductee who served as a general manager on Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts teams that appeared in a combined six Super Bowls during his time with the organizations.
Dick LeBeau, a former defensive back and Super Bowl winning defensive coordinator with the Pittsburgh Steelers, will also be part of the blue-ribbon panel. Troy Polamalu, a former All-Pro safety who played under LeBeau in Pittsburgh, is one of this year's modern-era nominees. This is the first year that Polamalu, the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2010, is eligible for induction.
Ozzie Newsome, a Hall of Fame tight end for the Cleveland Browns who later won two Super Bowls as the Baltimore Ravens' general manager, will also be part of the blue-ribbon panel. Several longtime NFL writers that include Jarrett Bell and John Clayton, are also part of the panel.
Founded in 1963, the Hall of Fame has never had a class with 20 members. This year's class will break the record of 17 inductees that were selected during the Hall of Fame's inaugural class. Hall of Fame president David Baker, in honor of the NFL's centennial season, decided to eschew the Hall's limit of eight inductees in 2020 while making it the biggest induction class in history.
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