If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, try and, well, try again.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame has just announced its list of 15 modern-era finalists and for the sixth straight year it includes former Vikings receiver Cris Carter.
No other finalists with ties to the Vikings made it this year, meaning kicker and NFL career scoring leader Morten Andersen, whose 25-year, 2,544-point career included a one-year stint in Minnesota (2004), will have to wait until at least his second year of eligibility. Running back Roger Craig, whose 11-year career ended with two seasons in Minnesota (1992-93), also didn’t survive the cut from 27 modern-era semi-finalists.
Finalists in their first year of eligibility are Buccaneers defensive tackle Warren Sapp, Giants defensive end Michael Strahan, Cowboys guard Larry Allen and Ravens left tackle Jonathan Ogden.
The other finalists are Raiders receiver Tim Brown, Bills receiver Andre Reed, Rams and Steelers running back Jerome Bettis, former 49ers owner Edward Debartolo Jr., former Browns and Ravens owner Art Modell, Rams and Steelers outside linebacker Kevin Greene, 49ers and Cowboys defensive end Charles Haley, Cardinals safety Aenas Williams, Chiefs guard Will Shields and former Giants, Patriots, Jets and Cowboys coach Bill Parcells.
In what continues to be a three-man logjam at receiver, Reed, Brown and Carter – outstanding players from the same era – are together on the ballot for the fourth straight year. Reed has been a finalist the past seven years, while this is Brown’s fourth straight year as a finalist.
The 15 finalists were chosen from 27 semi-finalists in a mail-in vote by the Hall’s 46-member selection committee. The committee will meet Feb. 2 in New Orleans to choose the Class of 2013. Two pre-1988 candidates chosen earlier by the Hall’s Seniors Committee – defensive tackle Curley Culp (Chiefs, Oilers, Lions) and linebacker Dave Robinson (Packers, Redskins) – also will be considered for enshrinement.
Culp and Robinson will be discussed and voted on first. Like the modern-era finalists, they must receive 80 percent of the vote to reach the Hall.
Next, the 15 modern-era finalists will be discussed. A vote will be taken to reduce that number to 10. After further discussion on those 10 candidates, another vote will be taken to reduce that number to five.
Only those five will be given a “yes” or “no” vote. A minimum of four and a maximum of seven can be selected.
Carter was a fourth-round pick of the Eagles in 1987. In three years with the Eagles, he had 19 touchdowns in 89 catches, a ratio (one TD per five catches) that once prompted then-Eagles coach Buddy Ryan to say, “All he does is catch touchdowns.”
Before the 1990 season, the Vikings spent the best $100 in franchise history when they put in a waiver claim on Carter. He played 12 seasons in Minnesota and part of one more in Miami before retiring.
Carter, an eight-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro, had back-to-back 122-catch seasons (1994-95), eight consecutive 1,000-yard seasons (1993-2000) and five straight seasons with at least 10 touchdown catches (1995-99).
Ten seasons after he retired, Carter still ranks fourth in NFL history in career catches (1,101), fourth in receiving touchdowns (130), eighth in total touchdowns (131) and ninth in receiving yards (13,899).
Here is the list of finalists for the Class of 2013:
· Larry Allen – Guard/Tackle – 1994-2005 Dallas Cowboys; 2006-07 San Francisco 49ers
· Jerome Bettis – Running Back – 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams; 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
· Tim Brown – Wide Receiver/Kick Returner/Punt Returner – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders; 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
· Cris Carter – Wide Receiver – 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles; 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings; 2002 Miami Dolphins
· Curley Culp* – 1968-1974 Kansas City Chiefs; 1974-1980 Houston Oilers; 1980-81 Detroit Lions
· Edward DeBartolo, Jr. – Owner – 1977-2000 San Francisco 49ers
· Kevin Greene – Linebacker/Defensive End – 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams; 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers; 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers; 1997 San Francisco 49ers
· Charles Haley – Defensive End/Linebacker – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers; 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
· Art Modell – Owner – 1961-1995 Cleveland Browns; 1996-2011 Baltimore Ravens
· Jonathan Ogden – Tackle – 1996-2007 Baltimore Ravens
· Bill Parcells – Coach – 1983-1990 New York Giants; 1993-96 New England Patriots; 1997-99 New York Jets; 2003-06 Dallas Cowboys
· Andre Reed – Wide Receiver – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills; 2000 Washington Redskins
· Dave Robinson* – 1963-1972 Green Bay Packers; 1973-74 Washington Redskins
· Warren Sapp – Defensive Tackle – 1995-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 2004-07 Oakland Raiders
· Will Shields – Guard – 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs
· Michael Strahan – Defensive End – 1993-2007 New York Giants
· Aeneas Williams – Cornerback/Safety – 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals; 2001-04 St. Louis Rams
* Seniors Committee nominee.