Hall of Fame's 2020 class is almost set: Here's what the rest of it could look like
Which modern-era players will be part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 20-member class of 2020? We predict the field
This past weekend, Hall of Fame president David Baker, Ohio as the two coaches that will make up the 20-member Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2020.
On Wednesday, the NFL announced the 10 senior inductees and three contributors that will help make up the largest class in the Hall of Fame's history. The only thing left to be announced is the five modern-era nominees that will be part of this year's class, with that announcement coming on the eve of Super Bowl LIV.
Here's a look at the 15 former players, coaches and contributors that have already been named to this year's induction class along with the five modern-era players that we predict will also get the call to Canton.
Potential modern-era nominees (5)
Tony Boselli, left tackle (Jaguars, 1995-2001): Arguably the greatest player in Jacksonville Jaguars history, Boselli has been a finalist for the Hall in each of the past four years. A five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro, Boselli played a major role in the Jaguars' run to the AFC title game in 1996 in just the franchise's second year of existence.
Isaac Bruce, wide receiver (Rams, 1994-2007; 49ers 2008-09): A four-time Pro Bowler, Bruce recorded 1,024 receptions for 15,208 yards and 91 touchdowns during his prolific career. He was one of the key players in St. Louis' "Greatest Show on Turf" offense that took the league by storm from 1999-01. In Super Bowl XXXIV, his 73-yard touchdown catch and run led the Rams to a 23-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans.
Edgerrin James, running back (Colts 1999-2005; Cardinals 2006-07; Seahawks, 2009): A rushing champion in each of his first two NFL seasons, James retired after 11 NFL seasons with 12,246 rushing yards and 80 touchdowns. James teamed up with Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison to form one of the NFL's all-time offensive triplets during the late '90s/early '00s.
John Lynch, safety (Buccaneers, 1993-2003; Broncos 2004-07): A Pro Bowler five times in a six-year span from 1997-2002, Lynch earned four more Pro Bowl selections during his final four NFL seasons in Denver from 2004-07. His pre-snap predictions of Oakland's play calls were a major reason why the Buccaneers won their first Super Bowl title at the end of the 2002 season.
Troy Polamalu, safety (Steelers, 2003-14): The greatest strong safety of his era, Polamalu was an eight-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro and the 2010 Defensive Player of the Year. Polamalu helped anchor a Pittsburgh defense that helped the Steelers win two of three Super Bowl appearances from 2005-10. His pick-six late in the 2008 AFC Championship game helped the Steelers win their then-record sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Bill Cowher (Steelers, 1992-06): Cowher was just 34-years-old when he took over for Chuck Noll as the Steelers' head coach in 1992. Six years later, Cowher, a Pittsburgh native, would have five division titles and an AFC championship under his belt while joining Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown as the only coaches in NFL history to lead their teams to the playoffs in each of their first six seasons. In 1995, Cowher's Steelers overcame a 3-4 start to win the AFC before nearly upsetting the favored Cowboys in Super Bowl XXX.
Cowher led Pittsburgh to their fifth Super Bowl title a decade later, as the Steelers defeated Seattle in Super Bowl XL while becoming the first team in history to win the Super Bowl as a sixth seed.
Jimmy Johnson (Cowboys 1989-93; Dolphins 1996-99): Johnson was the architect behind the greatest three-year turnaround in NFL history. In 1989, he inherited a moribund Cowboys franchise that would go 1-15 during his first season in Dallas. But that season, following his infamous Herschel Walker trade, would lay down the foundation for what was to come. Johnson's Cowboys reached the mountaintop in 1992, dominating the Bills in Super Bowl XXVII. The Cowboys would become the sixth team to win back-to-back Super Bowls the following year before Johnson stunned everyone by resigning that offseason. Johnson returned to coaching in 1996, leading the Dolphins to three postseason appearances before stepping away for good after the 1999 season.
Senior inductees (10)
Jim Covert, lineman (Bears 1983-90): Dan Marino's lead blocker at the University of Pittsburgh, Covert earned two All-Pro selections during his eight-year career with the Bears. A left tackle, Covert was an intricate part of the Bears' 1985 championship team. His blocking helped Walter Payton set the then all-time career rushing record in 1984.
Winston Hill, lineman (Jets, 1963-76; Rams, 1977): An eight-time Pro Bowler, Hill started at left tackle for the Jets during New York's shocking victory over the Colts in Super Bowl III. Hill helped provide sterling protection for Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath while also creating running lanes for running backs Matt Snell and Emerson Boozer.
Harold Carmichael, receiver (Eagles, 1971-83; Cowboys, 1984): The Eagles' all-time leading receiver, Carmichael led the NFL in receptions and receiving yards in 1973. A four-time Pro Bowler, Carmichael helped lead the Eagles to their first Super Bowl appearance in 1980.
Bobby Dillon, safety (Packers, 1952-59): The Packers sterling safety during the 1950s, Dillon, a Pro Bowler each year from 1954-58, remains Green Bay's all-time leader with 52 interceptions in 94 games.
Cliff Harris, safety (Cowboys, 1970-79): Harris earned six consecutive Pro Bowl selections during his final six NFL seasons that included three straight All-Pro nods from 1976-78. Harris helped lead the Cowboys to five Super Bowl appearances during the '70s that included victories in Super Bowls VI and XII.
Donnie Shell, safety (Steelers, 1974-87): Nicknamed "The Torpedo," Shell, an undrafted rookie in 1974, won four Super Bowls with the Steelers while recording 51 career interceptions. He was a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro.
Duke Slater, lineman (1922-31): The NFL's first African American lineman, Slater starred for the Milwaukee Badgers, Rock Island Independents and Chicago Cardinals during the 1920s and early 1930s.
Mac Speedie, end (Browns, 1946-1952): The best end of his era, Speedie led his respective league in receptions four times and receiving yards twice. Speedie was a four-time AAFC champion and 1950 NFL champion.
Ed Sprinkle, defensive linemen, linebacker, end (Bears, 1944-55): A dominant two-way player, Sprinkle helped lead the Bears to the 1946 NFL title. Sprinkle earned four Pro Bowl selections in a five-year span from 1950-54.
Alex Karras, defensive tackle (Lions, 1958-1970): One of the NFL's most intimidating players during the 1960s, Karras, a left defensive tackle, earned three All-Pro selections and four Pro Bowl nods from 1960-65.
George Young: Young was named the NFL's Executive of the Year five times during his 18-year run as the Giants' general manager from 1979-97. During that time, the Giants won two Super Bowl titles while fielding Hall of Fame talent that included Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson along with Pro Bowlers in Joe Morris, Mark Bavaro, George Martin, Jim Burt, Harry Carson, Sean Landeta, Otis "OJ" Anderson and Michael Strahan, among others. Young also hired Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells, who led the Giants to their first two Super Bowl wins.
Steve Sabol: The co-founder of NFL Films along with his father Ed (who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011), Steve Sabol played an essential role in the growth and popularity of the NFL during the 20th century.
Paul Tagliabue: Tagliabue served as the NFL commissioner from 1989-2006. Not only did the league grow immensely under his watch, but there were also no work stoppages during Tagliabue's time as commissioner. Tagliabue was also commissioner when the NFL ushered in free agency during the early 1990s.
Other modern-era players with a great case
Alan Faneca, left guard (Steelers, 1998-2007; Jets 2008-10): A nine-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro, Faneca won a Super Bowl with the Steelers while being regarded as one of the best offensive linemen of his era.
Steve Hutchinson, left guard (Seahawks, 2001-05, Vikings, 2006-12): Hutchinson, one of the best lineman of his era, earned seven straight Pro Bowl selections from 2003-09 that included five All-Pro selections.
Richard Seymour, defensive end/tackle (Patriots, 2001-08; Raiders, 2009-12): The sixth overall pick in the 2001 draft, Seymour helped lead the Patriots to their first of six Super Bowl wins during his rookie season. He earned five Pro Bowl and three All-Pro nods from 2002-06 while helping New England become the second franchise to win three Super Bowls in a four-year span. Seymour enjoyed success late in his career in Oakland, earning Pro Bowl selections in two of his four seasons with the Raiders.
Zach Thomas, linebacker (1996-07; Cowboys, 2008): One of the best middle linebackers of his era, Thomas earned seven Pro Bowl and five All-Pro selections from 1998-06. Thomas, who teamed up with Jason Taylor to form one of the greatest linebacking duos in NFL history, helped the Dolphins make five straight postseason appearances from 1997-01.
Reggie Wayne, wide receiver (Colts 2001-2014): One of the most consistent wide receivers of his era, Wayne finished with eight 1,000-yard seasons and led the league in receiving yards in 2001. A six-time Pro Bowl selection and First Team All-Pro in 2010, Wayne finished with 1,070 catches for 14,345 yards and 82 touchdowns. He's 10th all-time in receptions and receiving yards.
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