Just a year after the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018 included three enshrinees who had been eligible for the first time, the Class of ’19 could turn the trick again.
Former Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, former Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed and former Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez were named among the 15 modern era finalists announced Thursday night for the Hall of Fame.
Last February, Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher and Randy Moss were each chosen for enshrinement in the Hall of Fame when each was in his first year of eligibility.
The Hall’s Board of Selectors will meet Feb. 2 in Atlanta, the day before Super Bowl LIII, to narrow the list of 15 finalists to a maximum of five enshrinees for the Class of 2019.
The other modern era finalists announced Thursday were: running back Edgerrin James, wide receiver Isaac Bruce, cornerback Ty Law, safeties Steve Atwater and John Lynch, defensive lineman Richard Seymour, offensive linemen Tony Boselli, Alan Faneca, Steve Hutchinson, Kevin Mawae, and coaches Don Coryell and Tom Flores.
In addition, previously announced finalists Johnny Robinson (seniors finalist), and Pat Bowlen and Gil Brandt (contributors) will be voted on by the Board of Selectors separately on a “yes” or “no” ballot.
Among this year’s modern era finalists, Lynch and Coryell have been finalists the most often at six and five times, respectively.
Gonzalez, a 14-time Pro Bowl selection; Bailey, a 12-time Pro Bowl selection; and Reed, a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, give this year’s list of finalists a different feel. They are three of seven first-time finalists among the 15 finalists and among the nine who have been finalists two or fewer times.
And only one of this year’s modern era finalists — Coryell — has been a finalist before 2014. Coryell was a first-time modern era finalist in 2010.