Fifteen players are now one step closer to Canton, Ohio and a gold jacket. On Tuesday, the modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame were announced as the Hall's Selection Committee narrowed the list of 25 semifinalists that were announced back in November. Four of these players are getting the nod as a finalist in their first year of eligibility: quarterback Peyton Manning, wide receiver Calvin Johnson, defensive back Charles Woodson and defensive end Jared Allen.
These 15 finalists will be presented to the 48-member Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee on the Saturday leading up to Super Bowl LV. There, they will reach a determination of who will cross that final hurdle to get in. While there is no set number of enshrinees for a given class, the by-laws provide that between four and eight new members will be selected.
Here's the full list of the 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2021:
- Jared Allen, defensive end – 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-13 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers
- Ronde Barber, cornerback/safety – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Tony Boselli, tackle – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve)
- LeRoy Butler, safety – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers
- Alan Faneca, guard – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals
- Torry Holt, wide receiver – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars
- Calvin Johnson, wide receiver – 2007-15 Detroit Lions
- John Lynch, safety – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos
- Peyton Manning, quarterback – 1998-2011 Indianapolis Colts, 2012-15 Denver Broncos
- Clay Matthews Jr., linebacker – 1978-93 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons
- Sam Mills, linebacker – 1986-94 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers
- Richard Seymour, defensive end/defensive tackle – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-12 Oakland Raiders
- Zach Thomas, linebacker – 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys
- Reggie Wayne, wide receiver – 2001-14 Indianapolis Colts
- Charles Woodson, cornerback/safety – 1998-2005, 2013-15 Oakland Raiders; 2006-12 Green Bay Packers
Tom Flores, Bill Nunn and Drew Pearson are also finalists in the coach, contributor and senior categories, respectively.
"I'm just enjoying this moment," Charles Woodson told the NFL Network on being named a finalist. "I'm sitting there watching those highlights and what you immediately do is start re-living some of those moments out there playing on the football field. For me, it's not lost on me to be here in this moment, to be a Hall of Fame finalist in the first year. It takes a lot to get here to this point and for the guys who are at this point you really had to make an impact on the game. I'm proud of that. I'm excited to be in this moment and I'm just going to enjoy it."
The official announcement of who has made it into the Class of 2021 will be revealed at the NFL Honors on Saturday, Feb. 6 while the enshrinement ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021 in Canton.