The 2012 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony won't take place until August, but on Saturday afternoon we'll find out the candidates who will be enshrined into Canton. Forty-four voters will meet in a hotel on Saturday before the Super Bowl and state their case for the next class in the Hall.
The 2012 candidates include:
Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Jack Butler, Cris Carter, Dermontti Dawson, Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Chris Doleman, Kevin Greene, Charles Haley, Cortez Kennedy, Curtis Martin, Bill Parcells, Andre Reed, Willie Roaf, Will Shields, Dick Stanfel, and Aeneas Williams.
Parcells and Shields are your first-year eligible candidates while Butler and Stanfel are the Senior era nominees. Candidates need 80 percent of the vote to get in which means just nine "no" votes would eliminate them.
Best Chance Of Getting In: Bill Parcells
The former Giants, Patriots, Jets and Cowboys coach is considered the early favorite to get inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday afternoon. He is technically a first-time eligible candidate but he was on the ballot before the Hall of Fame required a candidate to be out of the game for five seasons. It's hard to determine how the voters will view him on the first year. Is he the coach that is 10th all-time in wins and took four teams to the playoffs? Or is he the guy that ruffled some feathers with the media who's voting him in?
The best thing you can say about Parcells is that he's been a winner everywhere he's been. He started his NFL head coaching career with the New York Giants in 1983 and won two Super Bowls in eight seasons. He then took the reigns of the New England Patriots going to the Super Bowl once in four seasons. From there, he became the head coach of the New York Jets and won a playoff game with them. His last stop was Dallas, where he coached the Cowboys to two playoff appearances in four years. He finishes his career with a 172-130 coaching record.
It's A Crapshoot From There
After Parcells, it's very difficult to handicap who will get in next. There are a number of possibilities but to me many of the candidates are similarly on the bubble.
A couple of receivers, Andre Reed and Cris Carter, could get in this year with no real locks. Reed and Carter have been among the biggest Hall of Fame debates in recent years because it's difficult to compare the numbers of the receivers in this era versus those in previous eras due to the passing game surge we've seen. You also have to wonder when former Raiders receiver Tim Brown will get in.
Eddie DeBartolo, the former 49ers owner, is up for consideration and he fielded one of the greatest dynasties in NFL history, which should make him a strong candidate. He also hired Bill Walsh, one of the greatest coaches in history.