The 2013 NFL Hall of Fame inductees will be announced on Saturday, Feb. 2, and there are several former players who must be selected.
Whether they were dominant offensive players or game-changing defenders, a few once-in-a-generation players are up for enshrinement.
While the HOF voting is always a good source of controversy, there are some no-brainer selections in this year's crop. It will be a relative travesty if the following players don't make it to Canton this year.
Larry Allen - OG/OT (1994-2007)
After being drafted 46th overall by the Dallas Cowboys in 1994, Allen went on to become one of the most dominant offensive linemen in NFL history. He excelled at multiple positions and earned 11 Pro Bowl and seven All-Pro selections.
Allen was a member of the Cowboys' offensive line that helped Dallas to a Super Bowl title in 1996. He played 12 seasons with Dallas and two with San Francisco before retiring in 2008.
O-linemen often don't get the credit they deserve, but without Allen, Emmit Smith may not be the NFL's all-time leading rusher. He was also named to two All-Decade teams, which is a testament to his longevity and continued effectiveness.
Jonathan Ogden - OT (1996-2007)
Like Allen, Ogden is one of the best offensive linemen to ever play the game. He was selected to 11 Pro Bowls and nine All-Pro teams over the course of his career.
The 6'9" Ogden played all 12 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, helping the franchise win its first and only Super Bowl in 2000. He was also named to the All-Decade team for the 2000s, and he is widely regarded as the best offensive tackle in NFL history.
I would be shocked if Ogden is not a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Jerome Bettis - RB (1993-2005)
Not only is "The Bus" one of the most popular running backs in NFL history, but he was also one of the most effective. Bettis ranks sixth all-time in rushing yards (13,662), and his 91 rushing touchdowns are tied with Franco Harris for the 10th-most of all time.
Bettis was also a six-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro selection. Those achievements are even more impressive when you consider that his prime coincided with the careers of Emmit Smith, Barry Sanders, Marshall Faulk and many other great backs.
Like Allen and Ogden, Bettis was also a key player on a Super Bowl champion team. Bettis rushed for two touchdowns during the Steelers run to the Super Bowl in the 2006 postseason.