This year features one of the deepest pool of finalists for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in history, but no more than seven of the 17 nominees can be inducted on Saturday. A maximum of five of the 15 modern-era finalists can be enshrined each year, and both senior nominees could be elected in addition to make a maximum class size of seven.
The Class of 2013 will be announced on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 5:30 p.m. ET in the Super Bowl Media Center in New Orleans; the announcement will be aired on the NFL Network. A finalist must receive at least 80 percent approval from the Selection Committee to be elected.
The 17 finalists this year are offensive lineman Larry Allen, Jonathan Ogden, and Will Shields, running back Jerome Bettis, wide receivers Tim Brown, Cris Carter, and Andre Reed, defensive tackles Curley Culp, Warren Sapp, owners Edward DeBartolo, Jr. and Art Modell, linebackers Kevin Greene and Dave Robinson, defensive ends Charles Haley and Michael Strahan, coach Bill Parcells, and defensive back Aeneas Williams.
Culp and Robinson are the two senior nominees, meaning only five of the other 15 players can be enshrined this year. It is likely that most of these players will eventually find their way into the Hall of Fame, but who will be inducted on Saturday?
The voters first narrow the list of 15 finalists down to 10, then down to five before voting on each player. Last year Carter, Reed, Haley, Parcells, and Williams were all among the final 10 candidates while Bettis, Brown, DeBartolo, Greene, and Shields were cut when dropping from 15 to 10. That doesn't mean things will shake out in a similar manner this year, but it gives an indication to what the voters might be thinking.
It is rare for multiple non-players to be selected in the same year, meaning Parcells, Modell, and DeBartolo may all be fighting for one spot. With Modell having died this year and the Ravens in the Super Bowl he may get a boost, but it will be hard to pass Parcells.
The finalists also include four first-time nominees in Allen, Ogden, Sapp, and Strahan. It would not be a shock to see two or more of the first-timers elected. Ultimately, it is wide open and we will have to wait and see who the committee selects.