Quarterback Peyton Manning, wide receiver Calvin Johnson and defensive back Charles Woodson headlined the first-time nominees announced Wednesday as part of the 130-player group eligible for the 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.
The full list includes 65 offensive players, 49 defensive players and 16 special teamers. The group of nominees will be reduced to 25 in November and 15 in January before the Class of 2021 is announced during Super Bowl week in February.
Manning is a virtual lock to be selected as a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
The former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos superstar compiled an all-time great resume highlighted by two Super Bowl titles, five MVPs, 14 Pro Bowl selections and numerous other individual records and accolades.
He also helped revolutionize the sport with his unlimited power to change plays at the line of scrimmage, giving one of the most study-oriented players in league history the power to give his teams the advantage with audibles into more favorable play calls.
Here's a look at the other first-time nominees alongside Manning, Johnson and Woodson:
- Running back Steven Jackson
- Wide receiver Wes Welker
- Wide receiver Roddy White
- Tight end Heath Miller
- Offensive lineman D'Brickashaw Ferguson
- Offensive lineman Logan Mankins
- Defensive lineman Jared Allen
- Defensive lineman Justin Tuck
- Defensive lineman Kevin Williams
- Linebacker Jerod Mayo
- Defensive back Charles Tillman
Next year's enshrinees will join the Class of 2020 as part of a multi-day enshrinement process next August after this year's ceremony was postponed by the coronavirus pandemic.
"The Hall will honor the Centennial Class of 2020 next August, along with what promises to be an equally spectacular Class of 2021, as part of a multi-day celebration of football with an atmosphere that will deliver for fans 'Twice the Fun in '21,'" Hall of Fame president David Baker said in June.
Running back Edgerrin James, wide receiver Isaac Bruce, safety Troy Polamalu, safety Steve Atwater and offensive guard Steve Hutchinson were the five modern-era player selections for the 2020 class.
Returning finalists from 2020 include offensive tackle Tony Boselli, safety LeRoy Butler, offensive guard Alan Faneca, safety John Lynch, linebacker Sam Mills, defensive lineman Richard Seymour, linebacker Zach Thomas, defensive tackle Bryant Young and wide receiver Reggie Wayne.
The selection committee will select between four and eight new Hall of Fame members when it meets on Feb. 6, 2021.