Analyze This Year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Class
Junior Seau and Will Shields were both 12-time Pro Bowl selections in their NFL careers. Both played in the black and blue AFC West division and faced each other dozens of times, fighting and clawing with their respective teams – Seau most his career with the San Diego Chargers, Shields with the Kansas City Chiefs – toward playoff greatness.
It is only fitting that both were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday night.
Seau, in his first year of eligibility, Shields, former Pittsburgh Steelers running back and current ESPN analyst Jerome Bettis, wide receiver Tim Brown and defensive end Charles Haley were the five modern-era enshrinees, selected Saturday in the meeting of the Hall's board of selectors.
According to Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com, the Class of '15 will also include former Minnesota Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff, who played 240 games in his career and was the seniors committee nominee, as well as two nominees in the contributors category -- former Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts general manager and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian, as well as long-time NFL executive Ron Wolf.
The committee began their day with 15 finalists, but trimmed the list to 10. Players like Kevin Greene, Morten Anderson and Kurt Warner did not get the call they had hoped for. Terrell Davis, who helped the Denver Broncos two Super Bowl titles and Marvin Harrison were also on the outside looking in.
A finalist must receive 80 percent of the vote from the 46 selectors to be selected for enshrinement.
Seau, who committed suicide May 2, 2012, played 13 seasons with the Chargers three years with the Miami Dolphins and his final four seasons with the New England Patriots.
Seau was an eight-time first-team All Pro selection in his career, was the league's Defensive Player of the Year in 1992 and had 64 career games with at least 10 tackles.
Shields never missed a game in his 14 seasons with the Chiefs and started all but one game of his career.
Haley, who won five Super Bowl rings as a player, was in his 11th year of eligibility, Brown was in his sixth year of eligibility as Bettis was in his fifth year of eligibility.
When Bettis retired following the 2005 season his 13,662 yards rushing were fifth all-time and his eight 1,000-yard seasons were tied for third all-time. Bettis announced the Hall's decision in a series of tweets Saturday night.
Brown played college football for Notre Dame, where he won the Heisman Trophy, becoming the first wide receiver to win the award. He spent sixteen years with the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, during which he established himself as one of the NFL's most prolific wide receivers. His success with the Raiders organization earned him the nickname Mr. Raider. Brown has also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.