2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame Finalists Announced: Full List and Reaction

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2016

Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre looks on during the NFC Championship football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2008, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

The Pro Football Hall of Fame whittled down the number of candidates for potential enshrinement to 18 finalists Thursday, per NFL.com.

Brett Favre, Terrell Owens, Marvin Harrison, Terrell Davis and Kurt Warner highlight the 2016 class of modern-era finalists:   

The Hall of Fame's selection committee will meet Feb. 6 to determine whether any candidates are worthy of induction.

Davis was pleased to merely be considered among this year's finalists, per NFL Network:

In addition to the 15 modern-era finalists, the selection committee will also be considering the resumes of two senior finalists—"players whose careers ended more than 25 years ago"—and a contributor finalist—someone "who made outstanding contributions to professional football other than players and coaches."

You can see the full list of finalists below:

2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame Finalists
Modern-Era FinalistsPosition/RoleYears Active
Morten AndersenKicker1982-2004
Steve AtwaterSafety1989-1999
Don CoryellCoach1973-1986
Terrell DavisRunning Back1995-2001
Tony DungyCoach1996-2008
Alan FanecaGuard1998-2010
Brett FavreQuarterback1991-2010
Kevin GreeneLinebacker1985-1999
Marvin HarrisonWide Receiver1996-2008
Joe JacobyTackle1981-1993
Edgerrin JamesRunning Back1999-2009
John LynchFree Safety1993-2007
Terrell OwensWide Receiver1996-2010
Orlando PaceTackle1997-2009
Kurt WarnerQuarterback1998-2009
Senior FinalistsPosition/RoleYears Active
Ken StablerQuarterback1970-1984
Dick StanfelGuard1952-1958
Contributor FinalistsPosition/RoleYears Active
Edward DeBartolo Jr.Owner1977-2000
Source: NFL.com

The selection committee's rules for induction are defined as such, per NFL.com:

The selectors will thoroughly discuss the careers of each finalist. Although there is no set number for any class of enshrinees, the Pro Football Hall of Fame's current ground rules stipulate that between four and eight new members will be selected each year. No more than five Modern-Era Finalists can be elected in a given year and thus a class of six, seven, or eight can only be achieved if the Contributor Finalist and/or one or both of the Senior Finalists are elected.

Since the committee is limited in whom it can select from the modern era, plenty of worthy candidates are bound to be overlooked for at least another year.

Favre is a lock for the Hall of Fame. He's second in all-time passing yards and passing touchdowns and helped take the Green Bay Packers to back-to-back Super Bowls in the 1996 and 1997 seasons.

The Packers legend has the backing of at least one of today's best quarterbacks, Dallas' Tony Romo, per NFL Network:

Harrison is another likely bet after the committee overlooked him last year. He was half of the most successful quarterback-wide receiver partnership in NFL history with Peyton Manning on the Indianapolis Colts. Last year, Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com argued Harrison's numbers compared favorably with a member of the 2015 Hall of Fame class:

Tim Brown had 23 fewer touchdowns and fewer catches than Harrison despite playing four more seasons. Harrison was first or second team All-Pro eight times. Brown made the second team once. The comparison between those two receivers illustrate a point that has often bothered me about the Hall of Fame. Voters often reward long periods of consistency over shorter stretches of true brilliance. Harrison makes no sense as a snub, though, because he combined "elite" play with great longevity. He was consistently a top-five receiver in the NFL; Brown was not.

Assuming Favre and Harrison are in, that would leave only three more modern-era spots available. Warner, Davis, Owens, Tony Dungy, Don Coryell, Orlando Pace, Alan Faneca and Kevin Greene all had Hall of Fame-worthy careers.

The committee will have a hard time selecting the three most deserving from that group.

Those crowded out of this year's ballot won't necessarily have an easier time next year, either, with LaDainian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor, Hines Ward and Brian Dawkins among those eligible for the first time in 2017.