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The Hall of Fame trimmed the list of candidates for the Class of 2018 to 15 on Tuesday. The process started with 108 nominees in September. In November, the list was trimmed to 27 semifinalists. Now there are 15 finalists. The list is headlined by a pair of linebackers and a pair of flashy receivers. We sat down and looked at who we, the Vegas Squares, would send to Canton. In any given year, approximately 4 to 8 candidates are selected. There were some no-brainers and some who were a little tougher to decide their fate.
Let’s take a look at the finalists…
Ray Lewis –
The former MLB spent his entire career in Baltimore. In 17 years, Lewis posted a stat line of 2,061 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 31 interceptions and 3 defensive TDs. He won two Super Bowl rings and one Super Bowl MVP, to go along with 13 Pro Bowls, and two NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards. He was one of the games most feared defensive presences in the 2000’s era. He anchored a Ravens defense that did not allow a single 100-yard rusher in 51 consecutive games from the 1998 through 2001 seasons. Also, his 31 interceptions rank him 5th all-time among NFL linebackers. His murder trial and plea deal in 2000 may still weigh on the minds of many voters, but I believe it’s far enough in the past to affect him.
Edgerrin James –
James played for three teams in his 11 year career (Colts, Cardinals, Seahawks). In that time, James rushed for 12,246 yards and 80 TDs and also had 3,364 yards receiving and 11 TDs. Named Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1999, James led the league in rushing in 1999 and 2000. He was a four time Pro Bowler and two time All-Pro. He is currently the Indianapolis Colts All-Time leading rusher (9,226). He was instrumental in the success of the Indianapolis Colts during Peyton Manning’s early years. He along with Manning, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne formed the offensive firepower that won 54 games over a 5 year period.
John Lynch –
John Lynch played 15 years in the NFL for the Buccaneers and the Broncos. He won a Super Bowl with Tampa in 2002. The nine time Pro Bowler and three time All-Pro had 1,058 tackles, 26 INTs and 13 sacks. He was widely regarded as one of the most ferocious safeties in the league during his time in Tampa as well as a catalyst in the now widely copied Tampa 2 defensive formation. He is in the ring of honor for both Tampa Bay and Denver. Fun fact, he was drafted by the Florida Marlins organization and threw out the first pitch in Marlins history.
Tony Boselli –
Tony Boselli played in the NFL for 8 seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He is the only player to be the first official pick for two different franchises. He was the Jaguars first draft pick in 1995 and the Texans first expansion draft selection in 2002. Boselli was a five time Pro Bowler and three time All-Pro. He was also a member of the 1990’s All-Decade team. He was a member of an expansion franchise that won 49 games in their first five years and two AFC Central titles and reached the AFC Championship in just their second year of existence.
Isaac Bruce –
Isaac Bruce played for two teams during his 15 year career (Rams and 49ers). He finished his career with 1,024 catches for 15,208 yards and 91 TDs. He won one Super Bowl with St. Louis (1999) and was a key component of the “Greatest Show on Turf” with Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and Torry Holt. He had eight 1,000 yard seasons in his career including a career best 1,781 in 1995 for the Rams in their first season in St. Louis. At the time of the accomplishment in 2009, he became just the second player to ever have 15,000 yards receiving with Jerry Rice. He is one of 14 players to have 1,000 catches.
Brian Urlacher –
Urlacher spent his entire 13 year carer in Chicago, winning Rookie of the Year in 2000 and Defensive Player of the Year in 2005. Selected 9th in 2000, Urlacher made immediate impact on the Bears. Urlacher finished his career with 1,353 tackles, 41.5 sacks and 22 INTs. He led the Bears to the Super Bowl in the 2006 season. He was selected to 8 Pro Bowls and named 4x All-Pro. He was also named to the 2000’s All-Decade team.
Brian Dawkins –
A sixteen year veteran, Dawkins played for the Eagles and the Broncos. He was named to nine Pro Bowls and four All-Pro teams.He finished his career with 1,131 tackles, 37 INTs and 26 sacks and two defensive TDs. He anchored a secondary that helped the Eagles reach four straight NFC Championship games from 2001-2004. His number 20 is retired by the Eagles franchise.
Everson Walls –
Everson enjoyed a very illustrious 14 year career after going undrafted out of Division II Grambling State University. He signed with the Cowboys and paid immediate dividends, earning Pro Bowl honors in his rookie season. He also made the All-Rookie team in that same season (1981). He finished his career with 57 interceptions. Everson played for the Cowboys, Giants and Browns. He won a Super Bowl (XXV) with the New York Giants in 1991.He is one of only two players (Ed Reed) to lead the league in interceptions three times. He was also named to the Cowboys 25th year anniversary team.
Joe Jacoby –
Joe Jacoby played his entire 13 year career with the Washington Redskins, winning three Super Bowls and making the Pro Bowl four times. He was one of the five original “Hogs” that were widely recognized by many as the best offensive line in NFL history. He was also a two time All-Pro as well. He was also named one of the 70 greatest Redskins of all time.
Alan Faneca –
Faneca played in the NFL for 13 seasons with the Steelers, Jets and the Cardinals. He earned nine Pro Bowl appearances and eight All-Pro nominations. He won one Super Bowl (XL) with the Steelers in 2005. He helped block for current Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis. He was named a member of the All 2000s team. He started 201 games during his career.
Steve Hutchinson –
Steve Hutchinson played twelve seasons in the NFL with the Seahawks, Vikings and Titans. He was a seven time Pro Bowler and 7 time All Pro. He is a member of the 2000s All-Decade Team. Hutchinson started his career with 159 straight starts before suffering an injury in 2010. He blocked for 1,000 yard rushers Shaun Alexander and Adrian Peterson during his career.
Randy Moss –
Randy Moss played in the NFL for 14 seasons with the Vikings, Raiders, Patriots, Titans and 49ers. He holds the NFL single-season touchdown reception record (23), the NFL single-season touchdown reception record for a rookie (17), and is second on the NFL all-time regular season touchdown reception list with 156.He finished his career with 982 catches for 15,292 yards and 156 TDs. Moss was a transcendent talent who revolutionized the game in terms of defensive coverage schemes. His one handed catches created a phenomenon known as “Moss-ing”. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1998 and led the league in receiving 5 times. He is a member of the 2000s All-Decade team and the Vikings Ring of Honor.
Kevin Mawae –
Mawae played in the NFL for 16 seasons for the Seahawks, Jets and Titans. He started 238 games in his career. He was an eight time Pro Bowler and eight time All-Pro. He also served two terms as NFLPA president, which coincided with the 2011 NFL lockout. He was also a member of the 2000s All-Decade team. He is also enshrined into the Jets Ring of Honor.
Ty Law –
Law played 15 seasons in the NFL for the Patriots, Jets, Chiefs and Broncos. He is a 3 time Super Bowl Champion, 5 time Pro Bowler and 2 time All-Pro. Law led the league in INTs twice during his career and had a crucial game in the 2003 AFC Championship, intercepting Peyton Manning three times en route to a 24-14 victory. He is a member of the 2000s All-Decade team as well as the Patriots Ring of Honor. He finished his career with 838 tackles, 169 pass deflections, 53 interceptions, and 7 defensive touchdowns.
Terrell Owens –
Owens played in the NFL for 17 seasons with the 49ers, Eagles, Cowboys, Bills, Bengals and Seahawks. He is a six time Pro Bowler and five time All-Pro. He is regarded as one of the best players of his era, but Owens also created a significant amount of controversy during his professional career, and also attracted attention for his flamboyant touchdown celebrations and interviews. He led the led in touchdowns three times and is a member of the 2000s All-Decade team. He holds several notable NFL records including only player in NFL history to score two or more touchdowns against all 32 NFL teams. He is the only player in NFL history to have a 150-yard receiving game with 5 different teams. He finished his career with 1,078 catches, 15,934 yards and 153 TDs. His off the field antics and combatant style with the media has been what’s stopping T.O. from his inevitable enshrinement. Will this be the year he gets in?