This will be the first time for Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson and Calvin Johnson to be included on the list of 25 semifinalists hoping to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021. These three great NFL players have a total of 29 Pro Bowl appearances between them and are leading the list of 25 right off the bat. Voting is now underway.
Time To Pick The Pro Football Hall Of Fame Names
Manning and company are joined by defensive end Jared Allen, tackle Willie Anderson, cornerback Eric Allen, cornerback Ronde Barber, linebacker Cornelius Bennet, tackle Tony Boselli, safety LeRoy Butler, guard Alan Faneca, safety Rodney Harrison, wide receiver Torry Holt, safety John Lynch, linebacker Clay Matthews Jr., linebacker Sam Mills, defensive lineman Richard Seymour, wide receiver/special teamer Steve Tasker, running back Fred Taylor, linebacker Zach Thomas, wide receiver Hines Ward, wide receiver Reggie Wayne, linebacker Patrick Willis, safety Darren Woodson and defensive tackle Bryant Young.
In a few weeks, that list of 25 will be whittled down to 15 finalists by the Hall of Fame’s board of selectors and the Hall of Fame Class of 2021 will be selected in the days leading up to Super Bowl LV. Up to five finalists could be chosen.
However, Tom Flores, as per the Hall coaches committee, has previously been selected as a finalist, Bill Nunn is a contributor and a finalist and Drew Pearson is a finalist from the seniors committee. Should all three of these guys be chosen to the Hall, the class of 2021 for the NFL Hall of Fame could have as many as eight newly enshrined players.
Payton Manning A Lock?
The obvious stand out name on this list is Manning, who is one of the most recognizable figures from the NFL. Manning won five league MVP awards with 14 Pro Bowl appearances – seven of which were first-team All Pro selections – and a Comeback Player of the Year Award. Peyton also won a Walter Payton ‘Man of the Year’ Award, which is one of the most coveted recognitions that any NFL player can receive.
Manning played for 14 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and had eleven ten-win seasons. He led the Colts to win Super Bowl XLI and was chosen MVP there. But that was not enough for him. He went out to Denver to quarterback for them and, in his final season in the NFL, led the Broncos to win Super Bowl 50 to top off one of the most outstanding careers ever in the league.
Manning holds too many NFL records to be recorded here, including the 2013 season when he passed for 5,477 yards scoring 55 touchdowns.
Today, Manning stands as one of the most decorated players in league history and remains one of the most recognizable and admired NFL players of all time. He is expected to make the Hall of Fame on the First Ballot.
Other Football Greats Make The Cut
The great Charles Woodson was selected to the NFL Pro Bowl nine times. He played in the NFL for 18 years and finished tied for 5th all-time in interceptions with Ken Riley with 65 picks. With the Green Bay Packers in 2009 Woodson led the league with nine interceptions and in the next season earned a Super Bowl ring with the Packers.
Woodson made the switch from cornerback to safety and racked up some pretty impressive numbers there forcing 33 fumbles in his career. He also had 20 solo sacks and had three seasons with over 90 tackles including one great season with the Oakland Raiders when he racked up 113 tackles at the age of 38.
Calvin Johnson had a short but brilliant career in the NFL playing for the Detroit Lions for nine seasons. He retired suddenly without comment after the 2015 season even though he had 88 catches for 1,214 yards and 9 touchdowns that year. During his career he had five seasons of 1,200 receiving yards.
There’s a great selection of names on the list this year and it’s time to let your voice be heard. Voting is being accepted on the Pro Football Hall of Fame website.