NFL: Top 5 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Candidates

Jason Miller/Getty Images

Jason Miller/Getty Images

The finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2015 were announced on the night of Wednesday, January 8. There are names on the list that will be slam-dunk first-ballot Hall of Fame selections, while other names on the list will likely never get in until they are eligible for selection by the senior committee. Here is a look at the 17 finalists.

  1. Morten Anderson, placekicker
  2. Jerome Bettis, running back
  3. Tim Brown, wide receiver
  4. Don Coryell, coach
  5. Terrell Davis, running back
  6. Tony Dungy, coach
  7. Kevin Greene, defensive end/outside linebacker
  8. Charles Haley, defensive end
  9. Marvin Harrison, wide receiver
  10. John Lynch, safety
  11. Orlando Pace, offensive tackle
  12. Bill Polian, executive
  13. Junior Seau, linebacker
  14. Will Shields, offensive guard
  15. Mick Tingelhoff, center
  16. Kurt Warner, quarterback
  17. Ron Wolf, executive

Here is a look at the five finalists we feel have the best chance at earning football immortality with a bronze bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, in 2015.

All statistics courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

1.  Marvin Harrison, wide receiver

Career Stats:

  • 1,102 receptions (3rd-highest total in NFL history)
  • 14,580 yards (7th-highest total in NFL history)
  • 128 touchdown receptions (5th-highest total in NFL history) 

Notable Accomplishments:

  • 8 Pro Bowl selections
  • 8 All-Pro selections
  • Super Bowl XLI champion
  • 2 single-season NFL receiving yardage titles
  • 2 single-season NFL reception titles
  • Holds the record for most receptions in a single season (143)

Harrison was Peyton Manning’s favorite target for most of his career with the Indianapolis Colts. From 1999-2006, he put together eight-straight seasons of 1,100 receiving yards or more, and caught 100 or more passes in a single season four times during his career. Harrison’s longevity, consistency, and play-making ability make him one of the top candidates to be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015.

Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images

Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images

2.  Jerome Bettis, running back

Career Stats:

  • 3,479 carries
  • 13,662 yards
  • 91 rushing touchdowns
  • 200 receptions
  • 1,449 receiving yards
  • 3 touchdown receptions

Notable Accomplishments:

  • 6 Pro Bowl selections
  • 3 All-Pro selections
  • Super Bowl XL champion
  • NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (1993)
  • 6th-highest career rushing total of all time
  • 10th-highest career rushing touchdown total

“The Bus” is one of the greatest players in Pittsburgh Steelers franchise history and one of the best running backs to ever suit up in the NFL. Bettis, who played in the NFL at 5-foot-11 and 252 pounds, was known for his bruising running style and consistent play. He ran for over 1,000 yards in eight of his 13 NFL seasons, and helped the Steelers to a Super Bowl XL victory. As the sixth leading rusher of all time, Bettis is likely bound for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the near future.

STEVE SCHAEFER/Getty Images

STEVE SCHAEFER/Getty Images

3.  Kurt Warner, quarterback

Career Stats:

  • 66-49 career record
  • 32,344 yards
  • 208 touchdown passes
  • 128 interceptions
  • 65.5% career completion percentage
  • 93.7 career quarterback rating

Notable Accomplishments:

  • 4 Pro Bowl selections
  • 2 All-Pro selections
  • Super Bowl XXXIV champion
  • Super Bowl XXXIV MVP
  • 1999 NFL MVP
  • 2001 NFL MVP
  • Threw 100 touchdown passes with two different teams

Warner’s road to NFL stardom is one of the most unique stories in NFL history. At his prime, Warner was arguably the best player in the entire league. He is one of the few quarterbacks who was able to lead to different franchise to the Super Bowl, and had one of the best three-year runs of quarterback play in NFL history from 1999-2001 with the St. Louis Rams. It would come as no surprise if Warner gets elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of candidacy. 

Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Donald Miralle/Getty Images

4.  Junior Seau, linebacker

Career Stats:

  • 1,846 total tackles
  • 56.5 sacks
  • 18 interceptions
  • 18 fumble recoveries
  • 1 defensive touchdown

Notable Accomplishments:

  • 12 Pro Bowl selections
  • 10 All-Pro selections
  • 2 Super Bowl appearances
  • NFL 1990’s All-Decade team
  • 1994 Walter Payton Man of the Year

Seau is one of the best linebackers to ever play in the NFL. He played 20 years in the league – 13 of them with the San Diego Chargers – at one of the most physically demanding positions on the field. Most people view Seau as the best player in Chargers history, and the 10-time All-Pro linebacker is a near lock to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Chris Livingston/Getty Images

Chris Livingston/Getty Images

5.  Orlando Pace, offensive tackle

Career Stats:

  • 161 career starts

Notable Accomplishments:

  • Super Bowl XXXIV champion
  • 7 Pro Bowl selections
  • 5 All-Pro selections

Pace is one of the best offensive tackles to ever play in the NFL. He was an unsung hero of sorts on the St. Louis Rams offense know as the “Greatest Show on Turf,”, and should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

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