The Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced its 2011 semifinalist class and it includes former owner Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr., running back Roger Craig, and defensive end/linebacker Charles Haley. DeBartolo is a first time semi-finalist, while Craig and Haley were both finalists last year. Some other players with 49ers ties in the semifinalists include Richard Dent, Chris Doleman, Kevin Greene, and Deion Sanders. The list will be reduced to 15 finalists with two Senior Committee nominees added later to make it 17 finalists. The cut-down will be announced at some point in January 2011. The full list of semifinalists is after the jump.
While Deion Sanders would seem to be a lock for the Hall of Fame, the two names that interest me are Roger Craig and Eddie DeBartolo. Craig keeps getting closer and closer to the Hall of Fame as last year was his first time as a finalist. Craig was really the predecessor to the combination type backs we've seen in Marshall Faulk and Ladanian Tomlinson, among others. Craig's career numbers may not blow your mind, but his combination of rushing and receiving yards is better than numerous Hall of Famers.
The really interesting name on the list is former owner Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr. Eddie D was more or less forced out of the 49ers organization in disgrace after his bribery scandal involving riverboat gambling in Louisiana and Edwin Edwards, the corrupt former governor of the state. This led to his sister Denise York and her husband John York taking over the organization. Much of this also coincided with the downfall of the 49ers as one of the premier organizations in the league.
I have to say I'd be fairly stunned if Eddie D made his way into the Hall of Fame on his first try. The question isn't whether he's deserving, but rather how he is viewed by the voters. There's no question his former players love him and would do anything for him, as he would for them. In fact, he's introduced numerous former 49ers when they've been selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Once again, you can help raise the profile of some of your favorite 49ers. Steve Young and Van Heusen have their Fan's Choice website set up. The fan vote won't be used to select the players, but it's certainly possible the Fan's Voice could have at least a little bit of an influence.
- Jerome Bettis, RB - 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
- Tim Brown, WR/KR - 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Cris Carter, WR - 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins
- Don Coryell, Coach - 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers
- Roger Craig, RB - 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings
- Terrell Davis, RB - 1995-2001 Denver Broncos
- Dermontti Dawson, C - 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers
- Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Owner - 1979-1997 San Francisco 49ers
- Richard Dent, DE - 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles
- Chris Doleman, DE/LB - 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers
- Marshall Faulk, RB - 1994-98 Indianapolis Colts, 1999-2005 St. Louis Rams
- Kevin Greene, LB/DE - 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers
- Ray Guy, P - 1973-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
- Charles Haley, DE/LB - 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
- Lester Hayes, CB - 1977-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
- Cortez Kennedy, DT - 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks
- Curtis Martin, RB - 1995-97 New England Patriots, 1998-2005 New York Jets
- Art Modell, Owner - 1961-1995 Cleveland Browns, 1996-2003 Baltimore Ravens
- Andre Reed, WR - 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
- Willie Roaf, T - 1993-2001 New Orleans Saints, 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs
- Ed Sabol, Contributor - 1964-1995 NFL Films
- Deion Sanders, CB/KR/PR - 1989-1993 Atlanta Falcons, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-99 Dallas Cowboys, 2000 Washington Redskins, 2004-05 Baltimore Ravens
- Shannon Sharpe, TE - 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens
- Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner - 1989-2006 National Football League
- Aeneas Williams, CB/S - 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams
- George Young, Contributor - 1968-1974 Baltimore Colts, 1975-78 Miami Dolphins, 1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League