Carlos Osorio / Associated Press
The Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced its list of 102 nominees for the modern era on Thursday, with as highlights a group of what should undoubtedly be the first players.
Safety Ed Reed, tight goal Tony Gonzalez and cornerback Champ Bailey lead the group of nominees and have to squeeze one way in Canton when the committee meets in February. The list also includes a number of 2018 finalists, such as John Lynch, John Fanch, guard Alan Faneca and broad receiver Isaac Bruce.
Reed is one of the hardest and most secure safeguards in NFL history. He made nine Pro Bowls, was an eight-time All-Pro, led the NFL three times in interceptions and won the 2004 Defensive Player of the Year prize. The Baltimore Ravens have already included him in their Ring of Honor and he and Ray Lewis are without doubt the two biggest players in franchise history.
Gonzalez is the most decorated, eye-catching, tight ending ever and is perhaps the biggest player ever to have played the position. The 14-time Pro Bowler leads all the tight goals in almost every major receiving category and is second to every position in receptions, sixth on the reception area and the seventh in receiving touchdowns.
He ended his career with 10 All-Pro selections and remained productive as a member of the Atlanta Falcons until his late thirties.
Bailey ended his career with 12 Pro Bowl selections and was an All-Pro seven times. He is 26th on the list of all times in interceptions (with 52), one behind Ty Law, who was a finalist of 2018. If Bailey has to wait a year – an unlikely scenario – it will probably be because the committee has stopped the law for him.
Bruce probably seems to be getting around this time with his competition at the moment the recipient has been taken off.
Lynch has been on the verge of boarding for years and can be behind Reed. Faneca is one of the many attacking lines that probably think they should have been years ago. Tony Boselli, Kevin Mawae and Steve Hutchinson were also finalists a year ago.