Coaches will have their own category for being voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame — at least for the next four years.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Trustees on Friday approved a change in the selection process. Effective with the class of 2021, there will be 15 modern-era players as finalists (with a maximum of five ultimately elected). There also will be one coach finalist, one senior finalist and one contributor finalist through the selection of the class of 2024.
Previously, coaches were considered along with players, lessening their chances of being elected to the Canton, Ohio, shrine. There also were one or two senior and one or two contributor finalists, with those numbers alternating each year, with three candidates combined annually.
“This important change came from information we learned during the blue-ribbon panel’s selection of the Centennial Class of 2020,” said Saleem Choudhry, the hall's vice president of museum/exhibit services. “It became widely recognized that coaches deserved their own path, like seniors and contributors, to be considered by the full selection committee.”
The Centennial Class elections were a one-time option to celebrate the NFL's 100th season.
The total number of finalists will remain at 18 for the selection meeting on the day before the Super Bowl. The maximum size of each enshrinement class is eight. A candidate must receive at least 80% approval to earn election.
Coach, senior and contributor candidates will be considered by special committees in virtual meetings this month, with one from each category recommended for consideration at the selection meeting next February.
Two new voters were added to the selection panel, one already familiar with the Hall of Fame: Bill Polian. Now an analyst for ESPN and SiriusXM, Polian was voted into the hall in 2015 as a contributor.
ESPN's Lisa Salters also has been added to the panel.
This year's enshrinements, scheduled for Saturday and mid-September because of the additional of the Centennial Class have been postponed. They will be held next August.
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