On February 1st, the day before the Super Bowl – as part of the NFL’s Honors and Awards ceremony – seven new members were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame bringing the total to 287.
The Selection Committee elected two players on their first year of eligibility; Tampa Bay Buccaneer linebacker Derrick Brooks, who helped the 2000 Bucs be one of the toughest defenses in the game, and long-time Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle, Walter Jones whose line work helped propel running back Shaun Alexander’s legendary MVP season in addition to the Seahawks NFC Championship campaign in 2005.
The other candidates selected were Andre Reed, who was on his 9th year of eligibility and one of the Buffalo Bills of the 1990s prolific offensive weapons. At the time of his retirement, Reed was second to Jerry Rice among all-time receptions for a wide receiver. Reed’s 663 receptions from fellow Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, ranked as the most all-time for QB/WR combinations until it was broken in 2004 by the Indianapolis Colts Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison.
Also to be enshrined is the cornerback/safety for the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams, Aeneas Williams, who was selected on his third year of eligibility. An All-Decade Team member of the 1990s, Williams was a prolific backfield performer with multiple Pro Bowl picks at both of his positions.
And finally, defensive end for the New York Giants, Michael Strahan, was elected on just his second year on the ballot. Strahan, who set the all-time single season sack record in 2001 with 22.5 sacks was a key component to keeping the Giant defensive legacy going. His career included two NFC championships and a victory in Super Bowl XLII, which turned out to be his final game.
The class is rounded out with two Senior candidates. Topping the list is the Selection Committee finally putting in long time iconic Oakland and Los Angeles Raider punter Ray Guy. One of the mainstays of the Silver and Black’s dynasty of the 1970s, Guy is long considered the best punter in the game’s history and often topped many “Why isn’t he in the Hall” lists. The other Senior candidate selected was star Atlanta Falcon 1970s defensive end Claude Humphrey. A multiple time All-Pro and Pro Bowler, Humphrey ranks among the all time “unofficial” leaders in sacks (sacks were not an official stat until after he retired). Humphrey wrapped up his career with the Philadelphia Eagles and was a key component to their NFC Championship in 1980.
The enshrinement will be on Saturday, August 2nd at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio. This is part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s annual Enshrinement Festival weekend that concludes with the Hall of Fame Game Sunday night.