And then there were 25.
On Tuesday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame revealed the list of 25 modern-era semifinalists for its 2019 class:
NFL.com noted cornerback Champ Bailey, tight end Tony Gonzalez and safety Ed Reed are the three first-time candidates, while linebacker Zach Thomas and coach Tom Flores reached the semifinals portion of the voting for the first time.
NFL.com broke down the process, noting 103 nominees were announced in September. The group will be cut to 15 finalists on Jan. 3 (plus three recommended nominees from the Hall of Fame's contributors and seniors committees), and the selection committee will hold its election meeting Feb. 2.
The purpose of the meeting is to reduce the list from 15 to 10 and then from 10 to five before a vote on the remaining five candidates. Those candidates must receive at least 80 percent of the vote to be part of a class that will be enshrined Aug. 3.
The semifinalists include some of the greatest to ever lace them up, but the three first-year nominees jump out given their talent and the fact this is their first opportunity to join the game's legends.
Bailey was a 12-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro who served as a lockdown cornerback for Washington and the Denver Broncos for 15 seasons. Reed was a nine-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro who won a Super Bowl and Defensive Player of the Year during his 12 seasons, 11 of which came as a feared safety for the stout defenses of the Baltimore Ravens.
Gonzalez is arguably the greatest tight end in NFL history. He was a 14-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro who played 17 seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons.
There are plenty of Lombardi Trophies on the list as well, including two-time champion coach Jimmy Johnson, three-time champion cornerback Ty Law, two-time champion wide receiver Hines Ward and one-time champion wide receiver Torry Holt.