The Pro Football Hall of Fame recently revealed its list of 25 semifinalists who are eligible to be inducted into the class of 2014. In alphabetical order by last name, they are:
Morten Andersen, PK; Steve Atwater, S; Jerome Bettis, RB; Derrick Brooks, LB; Tim Brown, WR-KR; Don Coryell, coach; Roger Craig, RB; Terrell Davis, RB; Edward DeBartolo Jr., owner; Tony Dungy, coach; Kevin Greene, LB-DE; Charles Haley, DE-LB; Marvin Harrison, WR; Joe Jacoby, OT; Jimmy Johnson, coach; Walter Jones, OT; John Lynch, S; Karl Mecklenburg, LB; Andre Reed, WR; Will Shields, G; Michael Strahan, DE; Paul Tagliabue, commissioner; Aeneas Williams, CB-S; Steve Wisniewski, G; and George Young, contributor.
The 25 men were selected from a list of 126 candidates by the Hall of Fame Selection Committee. Next, the list will drop to 17 — 15 finalists by ballot plus 2 additional finalists based on the recommendations of the Seniors Committee. On the Seniors Committee this year are Ray Guy and Claude Humphrey.
Only six of the 25 semifinalists are new to this round of the selection process, and four are first-time nominees. Keep reading to find out who they are and how they spent their careers.
1. Derrick Brooks, linebacker, 1995-2008 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Derrick Brooks spent his college career at Florida State University, where he was a two-time All American; as a junior, he was named Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year in 1994. In 1995, he was drafted in the first round by the Buccaneers, and he spent his entire career there. He was named AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2002 and won a Super Bowl in Tampa Bay’s 48-21 win over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII. Brooks was also selected for 11 Pro Bowls.
ESPN NFL reporter Pat Yasinskas wrote in 2008 that Brooks deserved a spot in the Hall of Fame and to be included in the conversation of the greatest linebackers ever. Yasinskas said that although Brooks had slowed down in the few years before his retirement, up until that point, ”he played in space like no linebacker in history.” Yasinskas estimates that Brooks amassed between 1,600 and 1,900 tackles in his career.
Brooks was also recognized for off-the field work, receiving the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award in 2000 and the Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award in 2004.
2. Tony Dungy, coach, 1996-2001 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and 2002-2008 Indianapolis Colts
Tony Dungy earned a Super Bowl on the playing field with the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XIII, making him one of only three men to clinch the prize as both a player and a coach. After five years of playing, he was taken on as an assistant coach. Dungy then went on to Tampa and in 1997 coached the Buccaneers to their first winning season in 15 years.
With the Colts, he became the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl, in Super Bowl XLI. Dungy’s teams made the playoffs in his last 10 seasons as a coach. Dungy is 20th on ESPN’s Greatest Coaches in NFL History list.
In 2007, President George W. Bush named Dungy to the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.
3. Marvin Harrison, wide receiver, 1996-2008 Indianapolis Colts
Marvin Harrison played for Syracuse before being drafted to the NFL. He set a school record with 2,718 career receiving yards and later became the 19th pick in the 1996 NFL draft, going to the Colts. Harrison’s partnership with Peyton Manning is considered one of the greatest wide receiver-quarterback tandems in the history of the NFL. Harrison broke — and still holds – numerous records during his time with the Colts. In 2002, he set an NFL record with 143 receptions, and during his career, he accumulated more than 5,305 receiving yards. Harrison’s Super Bowl ring comes from the Colts’s win in Super Bowl XLI.
4. Walter Jones, tackle, 1997-2008 Seattle Seahawks
Walter Jones is another Florida State alum. As a Seahawk, he was named to eight consecutive Pro Bowls and an overall nine during his career. He played in 180 games and is a six-time AP All-Pro player. Following the 1999 season, he became the first Seahawks offensive lineman to play in a Pro Bowl. In 2005, he was named NFL Alumni Offensive Lineman of the Year and was also named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team.
5. Jimmy Johnson, coach, 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys and 1996-1999 Miami Dolphins
Jimmy Johnson’s opening season coaching the Cowboys was a rough 1-15, but in the following years, he turned the team around. Johnson lead the Dallas Cowboys to back-to-back Super Bowl victories following the 1992 and 1993 seasons, and he has an overall NFL career coaching record of 89–68. Johnson ranks 13th on ESPN’s list of Greatest Coaches in NFL History.
Johnson also appeared on as a contestant on Survivor.
6. Steve Wisniewski, guard, 1989-2001 Oakland/Los Angles Raiders
Steve Wisniewski was drafted in the second round to the Dallas Cowboys, and in that draft, traded to the Raiders. At Penn State, he was twice an All American and was on the college’s 1986 national championship team. During his time with the Raiders, he was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection. Wisniewski was also selected for the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s.