Published January 11, 2013
| Sports Network
Canton, OH – First-year candidates Warren Sapp, Michael Strahan, Jonathan Ogden and Larry Allen are among the finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013.
Joining the four first-year eligibles are 11 others from the modern era and two senior nominees. All 17 will be considered for election when the Hall of Fame's Selection Committee meets on Feb. 2 in New Orleans, the day before Super Bowl XLVII.
The other modern-era finalists are wide receivers Cris Carter, Tim Brown and Andre Reed, running back Jerome Bettis, defensive end/linebackers Kevin Greene and Charles Haley, guard Will Shields, cornerback Aeneas Williams, coach Bill Parcells and owners Art Modell and Eddie DeBartolo Jr. Defensive tackle Curley Culp and linebacker Dave Robinson are the senior nominees.
An original list of 127 preliminary nominees was whittled to 27 semifinalists in November. Among the semifinalists that did not make the cut were first-time eligible players John Lynch and Morten Andersen, as well as running backs Roger Craig and Terrell Davis, and former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
The Class of 2013 will consist of between four and seven members, although only five modern-era finalists can be elected in a given year. To be elected, a finalist must receive 80 percent of the vote from the 46-member committee.
Sapp was a seven-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle in a 13-year career with Tampa Bay and Oakland from 1995-2007. He was the 1999 NFL Defensive Player of the Year with the Buccaneers and amassed 96 1/2 sacks despite playing on the interior of the defensive line. A four-time All-Pro, Sapp helped Tampa Bay to the Super Bowl XXXVII title and was a member of the NFL's All-Decade Teams of the 1990s and 2000s.
Strahan played 15 seasons at defensive end with the New York Giants from 1993-2007 and went out as a Super Bowl champion, helping his team to a 17-14 win over previously undefeated New England in Super Bowl XLII. He recorded 141 1/2 sacks, including an NFL single-season record 22 1/2 in 2001 when he was also a unanimous choice as the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year. A seven- time Pro Bowl pick, the Texas Southern product was selected to the NFL's All- Decade Team of the 2000s.
Ogden was the first-ever draft pick of the Ravens in 1996 and immediately became a starter at offensive tackle, earning 11 Pro Bowl nods during his 12 NFL seasons, all spent in Baltimore. He was an All-Pro six times and helped Baltimore to a 34-7 win over the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV after the 2000 season. The UCLA product won the Outland Trophy as the top lineman in college and was selected to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 2000s.
Allen played 12 seasons on the offensive line with the Dallas Cowboys and two more with San Francisco from 1994-2005. He was elected to 11 Pro Bowls and was an All-Pro seven straight years, helping Dallas to a Super Bowl XXX title after the 1995 campaign. A member of All-Decade Teams of the 1990s and 2000s, Allen played every position on the offensive line, except center, with Dallas.
Carter, a finalist for the sixth straight year, was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection with the Eagles, Vikings and Dolphins from 1987-2002. He compiled 1,101 receptions with 13,899 yards and 130 touchdowns over his 16-year career.
Brown, a finalist for the fourth time in as many years of eligibility, was the 1987 Heisman Trophy winner at Notre Dame and a star receiver/kick returner with the Raiders and Buccaneers from 1988-2004. He set Raider franchise records for receptions, receiving yards and punt return yards. His 14,934 receiving yards at the time of his retirement were second-most in NFL history.
Reed was a member of four AFC Championship teams in Buffalo from 1985-99 and spent his final season in Washington. He played in seven straight Pro Bowls and is Buffalo's all-time leader in receptions.
Bettis retired after winning the Super Bowl with Pittsburgh following the 2005 season. He played with the Steelers from 1996-2005 after spending his first three NFL seasons with the Rams. A six-time Pro Bowl choice and the league's top rookie in 1993 after being selected by the Rams with the 10th overall pick, Bettis ranked fifth all-time in career rushing yards with 13,662 at the time of his retirement.
Greene played 15 seasons from 1985-99 with the Rams, Steelers, 49ers and Panthers. He won sack titles in 1994 and '96, was a five-time Pro Bowl pick and was a member of the All-Decade Team of the 1990s. His 160 sacks were third when he retired.
Haley is the only player in NFL history to play on five Super Bowl title teams during his 12-year career from 1986-99, which included a two-year retirement, with San Francisco and Dallas. The five-time Pro Bowl pick finished with 100 1/2 career sacks and was a member of 10 division championship teams.
Shields, in his second year of eligibility, never missed a game during his 14 years with Kansas City from 1993-2006. His 224 games, including 223 starts, are franchise records. He earned 12 straight Pro Bowl berths and helped the Chiefs to four division titles with two other playoff appearances.
Williams, a finalist for the second straight year, was a Pro Bowl pick seven times at cornerback and once at safety in a 14-year career with the Cardinals and Rams from 1991-2004. Selected to the All-Decade Team of the 1990s, he recorded a total of 55 interceptions and had at least one in every season but his last, with five or more picks six times.
Parcells was a finalist in 2001 and '02, when the Hall of Fame's bylaws didn't require a coach to be retired for five years, and again last year. He guided the New York Giants, New England Patriots, New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys, becoming the first coach to lead four teams to the playoffs. In 19 seasons, including two where he was voted Coach of the Year, Parcells went 172-130-1 with a playoff record of 11-8, guiding the Giants to Super Bowl wins after the 1986 and '90 seasons.
Modell, who died just before the start of the 2012 season in September, was a legendary figure in the NFL as owner of the Ravens and Cleveland Browns. He purchased the Browns in 1961 for $4 million, an unprecedented sum at that time, then moved the franchise to Baltimore in 1996. The Browns won the NFL title in 1964 and the Ravens captured the Super Bowl title after the 2000 season.
In addition, Modell served as NFL president from 1967-69 and as the chairman of the NFL's television committee for 31 years (1962-93), helping to establish the Monday Night Football series. He also led negotiations on the NFL's first collective bargaining agreement with its players in 1968 and was instrumental in realignment of the NFL during the 1970 merger, moving his team to the AFC with many of the old AFL teams to help balance the new league.
DeBartolo purchased the San Francisco 49ers in 1977 and helped transform the team into one of the powerhouses of the 1980s with five Super Bowl titles. The franchise posted the best winning percentage in the 1980s and '90s, winning 13 division titles with 16 total playoff appearances and 10 trips to the NFC Championship Game.
Culp played 14 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Oilers and Detroit Lions from 1968-81. A six-time Pro Bowl selection, he was a member of Kansas City's Super Bowl championship team after the 1969 season and helped the Oilers to back-to-back appearances in the AFC Championship Game in 1978-79.
Robinson spent 10 seasons with Green Bay and two with Washington in a career from 1963-74. He helped the Packers to three straight NFL titles from 1965-67 and wins in the first two Super Bowls.
The election results will be announced at 5:30 p.m. ET on Feb. 2.