Predicting the 2014 NFL Hall of Fame Class
The 2014 Hall of Fame class is loaded with legendary pass-rushers, stud offensive linemen and iconic wide receivers, which will make the voting process extremely difficult.
From Michael Strahan to Will Shields to Andre Reed, in all likelihood, a handful of deserving players will ultimately have to wait until next year to hear their names called to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame.
Let's take a stab at predicting this year's class.
Here are the finalists of the 2014 Hall of Fame class:
- Derrick Brooks, linebacker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Tony Dungy, head coach, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts
- Marvin Harrison, wide receiver, Indianapolis Colts
- Walter Jones, offensive tackle, Seattle Seahawks
- Michael Strahan, defensive lineman, New York Giants
- Charles Haley, defensive lineman, San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys
- Kevin Greene, outside linebacker, Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers
- Andre Reed, wide receiver, Buffalo Bills
- Jerome Bettis, running back, Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers
- Tim Brown, wide receiver, Oakland Raiders
- John Lynch, safety, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos
- Will Shields, offensive guard, Kansas City Chiefs
- Aeneas Williams, defensive back, Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams
- Morten Andersen, kicker, various NFL teams
- Eddie DeBartolo Jr., owner, San Francisco 49ers
- Ray Guy, punter, Oakland Raiders (senior finalist)
- Claude Humphrey, defensive lineman, Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles (senior finalist)
The pass-rusher class is robust, but the wide receivers will likely be the most debated finalists, as Reed and Brown have been on the cusp of Hall of Fame enshrinement for a while now. They will be joined by Harrison, a first-ballot candidate.
Typically, the Hall of Fame voters like a diverse group of positions in each class, which may hurt the chances of the wideout trio.
Conversely, Brooks is the only "traditional" linebacker finalist, which should help him get in.
Derrick Brooks, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brooks is widely regarded as one of the finest linebackers in NFL history. He was an 11-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro.
Pro Football Reference has him down for more than 1,700 career tackles, and he won Super Bowl XXXVII with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He was a member of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 2000s and won the AP Defensive Player of the Year award in 2002 when he intercepted five passes—three of which he returned for scores—to go along with 119 tackles.
The rangy linebacker intercepted 25 passes, scored seven defensive touchdowns and was credited with 60 defended passes in his 14-year career.
Brooks has the statistics, the All-Star team distinctions and a Super Bowl ring; he'll get in.
Walter Jones, OT, Seattle Seahawks
Jones was a mainstay on the edge of the Seattle Seahawks offensive line from 1997 to 2009. The 6'5'', 315-pound tackle from Florida State made the Pro Bowl in every season of his career besides 2000 and 2009.
He was an All-Pro seven times and a member of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 2000s.
Jones is one of three players—Steve Largent and Cortez Kennedy being the others—to have his number retired by the Seahawks organization.
One of the most stonewall offensive linemen of his era, Jones will be enshrined.
Michael Strahan, DE, New York Giants
Strahan was the New York Giants' outspoken sack master for many years, and he ended his career with a stunning upset victory over the previously undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
His 141.5 career sacks rank him fifth of all time, and he still holds the single-season sack record from when he registered 22.5 quarterback takedowns in 2001.
Strahan had six years of double-digit sacks and amassed 9.5 sacks in 10 career playoff games.
He's one the NFL's most prolific pass-rushers and was a four-time All-Pro. Strahan will get in.
Marvin Harrison, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Though Harrison's statistics may be inflated due to the fact that he spent his entire career with first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, the wideout's numbers are too great to ignore.
His 14,580 receiving yards rank him seventh on the all-time list, and his 1,102 receptions are the third most in history behind Tony Gonzalez and Jerry Rice.
He snagged more than 100 passes four times—during consecutive seasons from 1999 to 2002, when he reeled in a whopping 469 catches combined.
There's a bit of a logjam at the wide receiver position, but Harrison should sneak into the Hall of Fame this year. He'll just beat out Tim Brown and Andre Reed, guys who are likely 2015 class members.
Charles Haley, DE, San Francisco 49ers/Dallas Cowboys
No one has more Super Bowl rings as a player than Charles Haley, and Hall of Fame voters love Super Bowl rings.
He won five Super Bowls during his illustrious NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers to go along with 100.5 sacks in 13 years as a pro.
Like Strahan, Haley had six double-digit sack campaigns and accumulated 16 quarterback takedowns in 1990 with the 49ers.
He was also a forced-fumble specialist. Haley forced at least one fumble in every season from 1986—his rookie year—to 1996, and he finished his career with a total of 26.
Those rings, the sacks and the forced fumbles will make Haley a member of the 2014 Hall of Fame class.