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20 Best Candidates for Expanded 2020 HOF Class

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced an expanded class for the 100th anniversary of the NFL in 2020. There will be 20 inductees. Unfortunately, this isn't going to solve the problem of a backlog of modern players, because there will still be only five modern players. But there will be 10 senior players, 2 coaches, and 3 "contributors." Here, our old friend Doug Farrar has his picks for the Class of 2020. You can click on the link for all of his explanation, but here's his list:

Modern: Alan Faneca, Steve Hutchinson, John Lynch, Troy Polamalu, Richard Seymour

Senior: Ken Anderson, Cliff Branch, Randy Gradishar, Chuck Howley, Harold Jackson, Richard "Tombstone" Jackson, Joe Klecko, Jim Marshall, Ken Riley, Donnie Shell

Coaches: Don Coryell, Dick Vermeil

Contributors: Bucko Kilroy, Clark Shaughnessy, Paul Tagliabue

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20 comments, Last at 21 Aug 2019, 5:55pm

3 Interesting is that PFT…

Interesting is that PFT reports that the slate of 15 is either going in the HOF in its entirety, or being denied entry in its entirety. If true, it seems like a way to rig the system to get Tagliabue in the Hall...although I don't know who would deem that very important.

4 About time Joe Klecko gets…

About time Joe Klecko gets in (it's Klecko, by the way). The senior candidates all seem very worthy. Not sure about Richard Seymour. He had 57.5 career sacks, and no years above 8 sacks. Compare that with Shaun Ellis, who had 73.5 sacks and 2 years of double digit sacks, while playing the same position in almost the same time frame. Nobody is asking for Ellis to make the Hall of Fame; not sure if Seymour's candidacy is much better than Lynn Swann's. Just because a player is part of a dynasty doesn't mean he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Why do you think Bradshaw's in, when Ken Anderson was the better player?

5 Klecko, Seymour, Ellis

I always thought of Seymour as an interior defender/pocket collapser who sometimes played DE while Ellis was a pure defensive end. I remember most of Seymour's DE time as a 3-4 DE, which doesn't usually mean sacks unless you're JJ Watt. So I don't really think of Ellis and Seymour as playing the same position. I'm not sure if Seymour is HoF-worthy, but after Art Monk (the ultimate stat accumulator HoF member) I've given up caring if a player really only belongs in the Hall of Very Good.

But I do believe Seymour has a reasonable HoF case. He was the soul of the Pats defense once McGinnis retired. He was also All-Pro (not just Pro Bowl) three times and second team twice more. He is also a member of the NFL 2000's decade team. That plus three Super Bowls is, IMO, enough of a case for HoF induction. (For the record, I'm not a Pats fan and even enjoy irritating Pats fans about certain issues.) 

Tags? Let's not go there. It almost seems like the NFL is doing this all-or-nothing deal because it's the only way to get Tags in. I believe Goodell wants in the HoF real bad once he retires. Tags not getting in would kill any chance of Goodell making the HoF. 

Klecko? He should have been in years ago. 

13 Quite Reasonable

Most seasons, sack numbers for Pats defenders have also been somewhat suppressed because of Belichick's focus on containment and gap responsibility. Brady was only beginning to morph from a 'game manager' role and those early dynasty D's had stints of real dominance, especially with regard to how they frustrated Manning. Seymour was the most dominant player on those units so...

16 good argument against overvaluing sacks

Seymour was the best player on the Pats from 2001-2004 (and that includes Brady in the consideration).  He was an essential part of the defense and it's not a coincidence the Pats' D took a serious nose dive after he left.

Seymour wasn't a "part" of the dynasty.  He was certainly the best player on the defense.  That didn't translate into sacks because sacks really aren't a key feature of a good defense.  The best pass rushers get ~1 sack per game.  

Dwight Freeney was great at racking up sack totals, but Seymour weighed 50 pounds more and was far more useful in stopping the run.  

7 That Jerry Jones and Eddie…

That Jerry Jones and Eddie DeBartolo (!) are in the Hall of Fame, while an expanded class is needed to get Chuck Howley in, pretty much fully illuminates how ridiculously the selection process has been constructed.

8 If they put Tagliabue in,…

If they put Tagliabue in, they are pretty much saying that every commissioner gets selected eventually. What a joke.

12 re: tagliabue

I am against owners and commissioners being. in. Find it ridiculous.


Only care about the players and coaches being inducted. 

17 Well, he was commissioner…

Well, he was commissioner for 17-18 years.  That's a pretty long tenure.  No, he didn't do as much for the NFL as his predecessor, but Pete Rozelle is the most relevant commissioner of any league in American sports history.  

I wouldn't be upset if the NFL didn't treat owners and league commissioners in the same category as players and coaches.  It's utterly ridiculous that Jerry Jones is in the Hall.  

9 20 HOFers next year

I think that the author (Doug Farrar) probably has 15-16 of these correct--but really, anybody who studiously follows the NFL should be able to get that many correct. Let's not get up in arms about choices that haven't happened yet.
Personally (and I don't know everyone who might be eligible), for active players, Polamalu, Hutch, and Faneca I can see; both coaches that he lists are fine; don't have an opinion on the contributors; and of the seniors, I can totally get behind the candidacies of Ken Anderson, Gradishar, Branch, Howley, Klecko, and Marshall. Not sure about the other guys, but I could be persuaded.
Personally, I would stump for K Morten Andersen.

20 Harold Carmichael

more TDs than Jackson and Branch, made the 70s all-decade team over both of them also. 6 playoff TDs in 7 games. First-team All-Pro in 73, 78, 79.