CANTON, OHIO –Five first-year eligible players – Jerome Bettis, Marshall Faulk, Curtis Martin, Willie Roaf, and Deion Sanders – are among the semifinalists being considered for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2011. Although the semifinalist list is usually limited to 25, this year there are 26 resulting from a tie for the final position. The Pro Football Hall of Fame By-Laws for the Selection Committee provides that the list shall consist of "twenty-five nominees plus all ties."
The Hall of Fame's Selection Committee chose the 26 semifinalists from the previously announced list of 114 preliminary nominees. Also, for the second consecutive year, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has teamed up with Van Heusen to ask fans to voice their choice for whom they think should be included in the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2011 at www.fanschoice.com.
In addition to the five first-year eligible nominees, two other previously eligible candidates, Edward DeBartolo, Jr. and Ed Sabol have made it to the semifinalist's list for the first time. Each of the remaining 19 nominees on the Selection Committee's list has been a semifinalist at least once prior to this year.
Roaf played nine seasons with the Saints from 1993-2001, was named All-Pro (first or second team) seven times while with the Saints and was elected to seven consecutive Pro Bowls from 1994-2000 as a member of the black and gold. Both are the most by any player in New Orleans Saints history. The offensive tackle was named to the Saints Hall of Fame in 2008.
In addition, Roaf was named to the NFL's 1990's All-Decade Team. In 2000, Roaf was a pivotal part of the Saints NFC South title team and the first playoff win in franchise history, 31-28 over the defending world champion St. Louis Rams.
The complete list of 26 modern-era semifinalists is as follows:
- 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
The list of 26 semifinalists will be reduced by mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists. That list increases to 17 finalist nominees with the inclusion of the two recommended candidates of the Hall of Fame's Seniors Committee. The Seniors Committee nominees, who were announced in August, are linebacker Chris Hanburger, Washington Redskins (1965-1978) and linebacker Les Richter, Los Angeles Rams (1954-1962).
The results of the modern-era reduction vote to 15 finalists will be announced in early January, 2011.
To be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a nominated player or coach must not have participated as an active player or coach for five consecutive seasons. A contributor, who is a nominee who has made outstanding contributions to pro football in capacities other than playing and coaching, may still be active in his pro football career.
Although there is no set number of Enshrinees for any Hall of Fame Class, the Pro Football Hall of Fame's current ground rules do stipulate that between four and seven new members will be selected each year. No more than five modern-era nominees can be elected in a given year and a class of six or seven Enshrinees can only be achieved if one or both senior nominees are elected.
The Class of 2011 will be determined at the Selection Committee's annual meeting on Saturday, February 5, in North Texas the day before Super Bowl XLV. The election results will be announced at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT) during a one-hour NFL Network special, live from the Super Bowl media headquarters.
For the second consecutive year, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has teamed up with Van Heusen to ask fans who they think should be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2011 at www.fanschoice.com.
After the first cut-down and nearly two million votes, the Fan's Choice for the Class of 2011 is in lock-step with the selectors on 10 nominees, including Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Dermontti Dawson, Marshall Faulk, Kevin Greene, Ray Guy, Lester Hayes, Andre Reed, and Aeneas Williams. In addition, fans placed Gary Anderson, Cornelius Bennett, Todd Christensen, Tom Flores, Eddie George, Kent Hull, Chuck Knox, Stanley Morgan, Jim Plunkett, Art Rooney, Jr., Donnie Shell, Fred Smerlas, Darryl Talley, Steve Tasker, and Dick Vermeil in their top 25.
Launching this week is an exciting new component to the Fan's Choice program - "Smack Talk Your Way to the Super Bowl" - enabling one lucky fan to announce the Fans' Choice for the Class of 2011 on national television in February during Super Bowl week. The program gives fans the opportunity to make a passionate case for their top choice for the 2011 Class through a 60-second sound bite at fanschoice.com. The winner will be selected by a panel of Hall of Famers and representatives from Phillips-Van Heusen and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.