First-year eligible nominees Kurt Warner, Orlando Pace and the late Junior Seau are among the 15 modern-era finalists that will be considered for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015, the Hall announced tonight.
Joining them are nine modern-era players and three coaches, including former Gophers quarterback and Vikings defensive coordinator Tony Dungy, a finalist for the second straight year. Those 15 finalists are joined by two contributor finalists – former team executives Bill Polian and Ron Wolf – and former Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff, who was announced as the senior finalist in August.
Kicker Morten Andersen, who scored a record 2,544 points during a 25-year career, played one season (2004) with the Vikings. The other 10 modern-era finalists are running backs Jerome Bettis and Terrell Davis; receivers Tim Brown and Marvin Harrison; coaches Don Coryell and Jimmy Johnson; linebacker Kevin Greene; defensive end Charles Haley; guard Will Shields; and safety John Lynch.
The Hall’s 46-member board of selectors will meet and choose the Class of 2015 in Phoenix on Jan. 31, the day before Super Bowl XLIX.
The senior candidate and two contributors will be discussed separately and voted on. To be selected, they need 80 percent of the vote.
The modern-era candidates will be discussed. The field will be trimmed from 15 to 10 and then to five. Those five will be voted on and will need at least 80 percent of the vote to get in.
Warner was a two-time NFL MVP who took two teams – the Rams and Cardinals – to three Super Bowls. He won Super Bowl MVP honors while helping the Rams beat the Titans.
Seau played 20 years for the Chargers, Dolphins and Patriots. He made 12 Pro Bowls and was Associated Press first-team All-Pro six times.
Pace, who played left tackle for the Rams when Warner took them to two Super Bowls, played 13 seasons and was a seven-time Pro Bowl pick. He was first-team AP All-Pro three times.
Although they’ve been eligible before, this is the first year as a finalist for Davis, Johnson, Polian, Wolf and Tingelhoff.
Tingelhoff played from 1962 to 1978. This is his 32nd year of Hall of Fame eligibility.