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2011 NFL Hall of Fame finalists announced: Eddie DeBartolo Jr and Roger Craig don't make the cut

Today the NLF announced the finalists for this year's class. For those who don't know here's how the ballotting works for the HOF. In August the Senior finalists are announced. In September the modern-era candidates are announced. This year there were 114 preliminary nominees. That list gets weeded down to 26 semi-finalists and then the final list of finalists is announced.

To be considered for the Hall of Fame a player has to be retired for at least 5 years. "Contributors" (i.e. coaches, owners, media guys, etc.) do not need to be retired to be eligible for the HOF.

I really like how the NFL chooses the voters. Each NFL city gets one representative with New York getting two (one for the Jets and one for the Giants). The ProFootball Writers of America gets one voter and there are 11 at-large voters. Other than the PFWA appointee all of them are for life (assuming that the delegate attends the meetings regularly.

By rule only 4-7 candidates are enshrined in the Hall of Fame each year. The high end number can only be reached if both senior candidates are enshrined--otherwise the maximum number of ensrhinees is 5. For more information on the process, as well as a list of current delegates, go here.

NFC West voters are Mike Sando for Seattle (no surprise there), Kent Somers for the Cardinals, Nancy Gay for the 49ers, and Bernie Miklasz for the Rams.

Some notable names that didn't make the cut from the semi-finals to the finals are:

Bud Adams--Owner of the Titans
Gary Anderson--Kicker for 22 years
Roger Craig--49er running back. I think he'll eventually make it to the HOF but it will take awhile
Eddie George--I don't think he should make it
Jimmy Johnson--2 time SB winner. I don't think that's enough to get him in
Paul Tagliabue--former NFL Commissioner (great one too)
Steve Sabol--NFL Films President
Ed Sabol--founder of NFL films--revolutionized the way media and sports interact He is actually a finalist
Tony Boselli--One of the best tackles in the game
Eddie DeBartolo Jr--There are only a handful of owners in the HOF but he needs to be one of them. 
Brent Jones--He revolutionized the position of TE from extra lineman to viable receiving threat
Ed "Too Tall" Jones--One of the greatest defensive linemen in the game
Phil Simms--I don't think he'll ever make it
Herschel Walker--He needs to make it
Terrell Davis--I'm shocked he's not a finalist

You can read the rest of the preliminary nominees here.  Join me after the jump for the 17 finalists for this year's class.

Jerome Bettis, RB (1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers)

I have a tough time seeing him make it on the first ballot. I do think he'll make it eventually

Tim Brown, WR/KR (1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Same feelings apply to Tim Brown as to Jerome Betttis.

Cris Carter, WR (1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins)

I don't think he'll ever make it. I'm not sure he deserves to either.

Dermontti Dawson, C (1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers)

Don't know enough about him to tell, but I do know that offensive line during that time frame was one of the best in the NFL.

Richard Dent, DE (1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles)

One of the best defensive linemen in the game. He deserves to make it.

Chris Doleman, DE/LB (1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers)

Oddly enough I don't recognize his name.

Marshall Faulk, RB (1994-98 Indianapolis Colts, 1999-2005 St. Louis Rams)

Easily first ballot HOFer, and he deserves it.

Charles Haley, DE/LB (1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys)

Defnitely deserves it, despite his reputation off the field.

" *Chris Hanburger, LB (1965-78 Washington Redskins)

Senior candidate.

Cortez Kennedy, DT (1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks)

Not sure he deserves it.

Curtis Martin, RB (1995-97 New England Patriots, 1998-2005 New York Jets)

I think he's Hall of Fame worthy but I think it'll take a couple of trips. I'm actually surprised he was a finalist on his first year of eligibility.

Andre Reed, WR (1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins)

One of the most under-appreciated WRs in the game. I think he deserves it.

" *Les Richter, LB (1954-62 Los Angeles Rams)

Senior candidate.

Willie Roaf, OT (1993-2001 New Orleans Saints, 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs)

Easily first round ballot. I'll be surprised if he doesn't make it.

Ed Sabol, Contributor (1964-1995 NFL Films)

Can't see him making it, but he probably deserves it.

Deion Sanders, CB/KR/PR (1989-1993 Atlanta Falcons, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-99 Dallas Cowboys, 2000 Washington Redskins, 2004-05 Baltimore Ravens)

One of the most exciting return men in NFL history and arguably one of the best cornerbacks in NFL history. Easily a first ballot HOFer.

Shannon Sharpe, TE (1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens)

Great TE but I wouldn't put him in ahead of Brent Jones

So out of this class i think we easily have three first ballot guys in Deion Sanders, Willie Roaf, and Marshall Faulk. That leaves up to two other modern era guys and the two senior candidates. I don't know enough about the senior candidates to be able to say one way or the other on them. Of the other modern-era candidates I think Jerome Bettis and Shannon Sharpe have the best chance of making it in on this ballot.