Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists: Jonathan Ogden, Michael Strahan lead first-year candidates

Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its 15 finalists for enshrinement. We take a look at the players most likely to get in.

On Friday, the NFL Hall Selection Committee announced its 15 finalists for the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame class. There are four names on the final list in their first year of eligibility, joining a solid backlog of players, general managers and owners. Let's take a look at the candidates and determine who is most likely to receive enshrinement:

Larry Allen - Offensive Guard/Tackle

Teams: Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers

Pro Bowl: 11

All-Pro Selections: 6

Ballot History: First-time candidate

Allen was an essential cog for the Cowboys' dynasty run of the '90s, opening up holes for Emmitt Smith and keeping Troy Aikman upright. His HOF case is just about bullet-proof, but his position may be the one thing holding him back. Voters have been typically slow inducting offensive lineman, especially guards, and with only seven inductees allowed and a crowded ballot, don't be surprised if Allen is forced to wait a year or two.

Induction chances: 80 percent

Jerome Bettis - Running Back

Teams: St. Louis Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers

Awards: 1993 Offensive Roookie of the Year, 1996 Comeback Player of the Year

Pro Bowls: 6

All-Pro Selections: 2

Ballot History: Finalist in 2011, 2012

It's been a curious two-year wait for "The Bus," who ranks sixth all time in rushing yards and is tied for 23rd in touchdowns. He has both the stats and the narrative that voters love so much -- blue-collar Pittsburgh lunch pail guy who got to ride off into the sunset with a Super Bowl ring in his last year. I suspect he won't be waiting for much longer.

Induction chances: 55 percent

Tim Brown - Wide Receiver

Teams: Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Pro Bowls: 9

Ballot History: Finalist from 2010-12

A fixture on some of the last great Raiders teams, Brown is one of only eight receivers with 1,000 receptions or more and ranks fifth all time in receiving yards. He also did all of this before passing numbers exploded across the league. It's a head-scratcher as to why he's not in yet, and his chances aren't looking good with a loaded batch of newcomers.

Induction chances: 40 percent

Cris Carter - Wide Receiver

Teams: Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins

Pro Bowls: 8

All-Pro Selections: 2

Ballot History: Finalist from 2008-12

Carter enters his sixth year of candidacy, as he's been inexplicably shut out despite being the best receiver of the '90s not named Jerry Rice. Much like Tim Brown, his numbers have been eclipsed by the next generation as the passing game evolved, but his résumé is undeniable. By all rights, he should have been in years ago, but the voters apparently don't agree. I don't see them changing their mind this year, either.

Induction chances: 35 percent

Edward DeBartolo, Jr. - Owner

Team: San Francisco 49ers

The former owner of the 49ers, perhaps DeBartolo's greatest achievement is the hiring of Bill Walsh in 1979, paving the way for a groundbreaking offense and team dynasty. Owners typically take a while to get in the HOF, and DeBartolo's case is hurt by being forced to give up the team in 2000 amid legal troubles.

Induction chances: 15 percent

Kevin Greene - Defensive End

Teams: Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers

Pro Bowls: 5

All-Pro Selections: 2

Ballot History: Semifinalist from 2006-11, Finalist in 2012

After years of playing bridesmaid, Greene finally broke through to the final short list last year. Ranking third all time in sacks, Greene has a solid case, but his chances are slim with so many strong newcomers on the ballot.

Induction chances: 20 percent

Charles Haley - Defensive End/Outside Linebacker

Teams: San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys

Pro Bowls: 5

All-Pro Selections: 2

Ballot History: Semifinalist in 2005, 2007-09, finalist from 2010-12

With 100.5 sacks and a fearsome presence during the Cowboy's '90s run, Haley is slowly gaining momentum among voters. He's also clinically insane, which may explain why he took so long to build said momentum. I don't see him getting in this year, but if he does, it could be the greatest induction speech ever.

Induction chances: 30 percent

Art Modell - Owner

Teams: Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens

This will be by far the most polarizing candidate on the ballot. Everyone knows about Modell's legacy and notoriety, so I won't bore you with the gory details. His death last September may garner more support than usual, but I still don't see it happening, if only because Browns fans may burn Canton to the ground.

Induction chances: 25 percent

Jonathan Ogden - Offensive Tackle

Team: Baltimore Ravens

Pro Bowls: 11

All-Pro Selections: 4

Ballot History: First-time candidate

Ogden is in the conversation for greatest left tackle of all time. I don't really have much to add besides that. This is one of the biggest slam dunks of the 2013 class.

Induction chances: 95 percent

Bill Parcells - Head Coach

Teams: New York Giants, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys

"The Tuna" orchestrated the Giants mini-dynasty in the '80s and had nice runs with the Patriots and Jets. In addition to his on-field achievements, he built one of the most impressive coaching trees in league history, with names like Bill Belichick, Tom Coughlin and Sean Payton. Parcells had a huge influence on the game, but I'm not sure about his HOF chances with so many deserving players vying for votes.

Induction chances: 40 percent

Andre Reed - Wide Receiver

Teams: Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins

Pro Bowls: 7

Ballot History: Finalist from 2007-12

Another great receiver from the '90s who's had to wait way longer than he should. This feels like a running theme. With a lesser résumé than Carter and Brown, Reed may have to wait even longer to get his due. I just don't see where the votes are coming here with a loaded class of newcomers.

Induction chances: 20 percent

Warren Sapp - Defensive Tackle

Teams: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oakland Raiders

Awards: 1999 Defensive Player of the Year

Pro Bowls: 7

All-Pro Selections: 4

Ballot History: First-time candidate

The face of the Bucs' legendary defense at the turn of the century, Sapp was the rare DT that could get to the quarterback in addition to stopping the run. He will undoubtedly get in on the first year as one of the best interior linemen the game has ever seen.

Induction chances: 90 percent

Will Shields - Offensive Guard

Team: Kansas City Chiefs

Pro Bowls: 12

All-Pro Selections: 2

Ballot History: Finalist in 2012

This year is a bumper crop for offensive guards. Shields was snubbed in 2012, likely facing many of the problems Larry Allen could face this year -- guards take a while to get in, and don't normally get in on the first year. I like his chances better this year, but it's an uphill battle.

Induction chances: 55 percent

Michael Strahan - Defensive End

Team: New York Giants

Awards: 2001 Defensive Player of the Year

Pro Bowls: 7

All-Pro Selections: 4

Ballot History: First-time candidate

Another no-brainer choice, Strahan should have little trouble getting in on the first ballot. The only questions are if he'll invite Kelly Ripa to introduce him at the ceremony, and how big they'll make his gap tooth on the bust.

Induction chances: 95 percent

Aeneas Williams - Cornerback

Teams: Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams

Pro Bowls: 8

All-Pro Selections: 3

Ballot History: Semifinalist from 2010-11, finalist in 2012

I'm normally loathe to use the phrase "Hall of Very Good," but I can't think of any other way to describe Williams. He was very good, and the HOF is sadly under-represented for defensive backs. I just don't know if he has the votes this year, or next year even. He at least seems to be gaining momentum.

Induction chances: 25 percent

Who do you think deserves to go in the Hall of Fame this year?

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