The Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2012 has been selected, with the maximum of five modern-era players selected to be enshrined and one veterans committee player selected. There were a number of surprises, but the group of 17 finalists was incredibly strong, and the limitations set by the Hall of Fame mean that a number of spectacular players are left out every season.
The first five modern-era finalists cut were Will Shields, Tim Brown, Jerome Bettis, Kevin Greene and Ed DeBartolo, Jr. That this group of five individuals could be cut from consideration before the final cut is a testament to how strong this group is. There were no first-ballot selections, but two players got in on their second try in 2012. Here are the inductees.
Dermontti Dawson: Center - Pittsburgh Steelers
Dawson played 184 games and started 181 games in his NFL career, playing his entire professional career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. In his time in the NFL, Dawson was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and a six-time All-Pro selection.
Doleman played the vast majority of his career with the Minnesota Vikings and retired with 150.5 sacks, then the fourth-highest career total. Doleman went to the Pro Bowl eight times and was named to the NFL All-Decade team for the 1990s.
Cortez Kennedy: Defensive Tackle - Seattle Seahawks
Though nose tackles are not usually on the field for their pass-rushing ability, Kennedy regularly recorded massive sack totals from the position. Playing his entire career with the Seahawks, Kennedy recorded 58 sacks as a pro and went to eight Pro Bowls.
A five-time Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection, Martin retired from football in 2005 as the fourth-leading rusher in NFL history, amassing over 14,000 yards on the ground in his career. Martin appeared in one Super Bowl and was also a recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award.
Roaf was somehow not a first-ballot selection, but has finally been rightfully enshrined on his second try. Roaf was one of the most dominant left tackles in NFL history and made 189 starts in his career. He was an 11-time Pro Bowl and six-time All-Pro selection, and was named to the All-Decade teams for the 1990s and 2000s.
Jack Butler: Cornerback - Pittsburgh Steelers
The lone veterans' committee inductee in 2012, Butler played for nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, was selected to four Pro Bowls and was first-team All Pro on three occasions.
Missed final cut
Charles Haley: Outside Linebacker - Dallas Cowboys, San Fransisco 49ers
Dick Stanfel: Offensive Guard - Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins (Veterans' committee)