The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the 15 finalists that will join Ron Wolf and Bill Polian in the vote for the 2015 class. The finalists will include Kurt Warner, Orlando Pace, Junior Seau as the first year candidates getting into the finalist stage. They are joined by Jerome Bettis, Kevin Greene, Charles Haley, Marvin Harrison, Will Shields, Morten Andersen, Tim Brown, Terrell Davis and John Lynch, among players. The other three finalists are coaches Don Coryell, Tony Dungy, Jimmy Johnson. Unfortunately, Roger Craig was denied a shot at Canton, once again.
Congrats to all the finalists, but especially Charles Haley, who is long overdue for a spot in Canton. The former 49ers and Cowboys pass rush threat was an absolute monster for quarterbacks. He has five Super Bowl rings to his credit, and was a decisive presence for all five teams. One reason he might struggle to get the recognition he is due could be his erratic behavior. He was later diagnosed as being bi-polar, which would explain a lot of his actions. Hopefully this is the year he finally gets his due.
The first year class of semifinalists included the likes of wide receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, running back Edgerrin James, offensive lineman Kevin Mawae, and cornerback Ty Law. I am not shocked James was not a finalist, but it will be interesting to compare how he progresses over the years, versus how Frank Gore does once he is eligible. While James currently is ranked No. 11 all-time, he played a lot of years with some great offenses. On the other hand, Frank Gore has accumulated his yards on a mix of really good and really bad teams. He has averaged 1/2 yard more per carry over his career, and if he can get in another couple years, he very well could find himself in the top ten when all is said and done.