Ex-Raiders, 49ers WR Randy Moss among 108 nominees for Hall of Fame


Ex-Raiders, 49ers WR Randy Moss among 108 nominees for Hall of Fame

Former Raiders and 49ers receiver Randy Moss is among the 108 modern-era nominees announced Tuesday for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018.

Moss and former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis top the list of the first-time eligible candidates, along with former Chicago linebacker Brian Urlacher and former Tampa Bay defensive back Ronde Barber.

Moss, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, ranks second all time behind Jerry Rice in receiving touchdowns and third all-time behind Rice and Terrell Owens in receiving yards. Moss played two seasons (2005, ’06) with the Raiders. He concluded his career in 2012 with the 49ers. His final game was the 49ers’ loss to the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII.

Owens and John Lynch, the 49ers’ first-year general manager, enter another year of candidacy for the Hall of Fame. Lynch, who played safety with Tampa Bay and Denver, made it to the final 10 this year, while Owens was among the final 15 but did not advance any further.

The modern-era nominees will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in November. In January, the list will be narrowed to 15 finalists.

Eighteen finalists will be presented to the 48-member Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee during its annual selection meeting on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, in Minneapolis, the day before Super Bowl 52.

The finalists will consist of 15 modern-era finalists, the recently named senior finalists, Robert Brazile and Jerry Kramer, and the contributor finalist, Bobby Beathard.

There is no set number of enshrinees for any year, but the selection process by-laws provide that from four to eight new members will be selected.

*-Finalist in 2017

(5) – Randall Cunningham, Rich Gannon, Donovan McNabb, Steve McNair, Phil Simms

Running backs 
(10) – Tiki Barber, Earnest Byner, Roger Craig, Corey Dillon, Eddie George, Edgerrin James, Lorenzo Neal, Fred Taylor, Herschel Walker (also KR), Ricky Watters

Wide receivers (13) – *Isaac Bruce, Donald Driver, Henry Ellard (also PR), Torry Holt, Chad Johnson, Randy Moss, *Terrell Owens, Sterling Sharpe, Jimmy Smith, Rod Smith, Steve Smith, John Taylor, Hines Ward

Tight end 
(4) – Mark Bavaro, Ben Coates, Ferrell Edmunds, Jay Novacek

Offensive linemen
 (21) – Willie Anderson (T), Matt Birk (C), *Tony Boselli (T), Lomas Brown (T), Ruben Brown (G), Ray Donaldson (C), *Alan Faneca (G), Bill Fralic (G/T), Jay Hilgenberg (C), Chris Hinton (G/T), Kent Hull (C), Steve Hutchinson (G), *Joe Jacoby (T), Mike Kenn (T), *Kevin Mawae (C/G), Tom Nalen (C), Nate Newton (G), Bart Oates (C), Jeff Saturday (C), Richmond Webb (T), Steve Wisniewski (G)

Defensive linemen 
(11) – La’Roi Glover (DT/NT), Leonard Marshall (DE/DT), Keith Millard (DT/NT/DE), Leslie O’Neal (DE), Michael Dean Perry (DT/DE), Simeon Rice (DE), Richard Seymour (DT), Neil Smith (DE), Greg Townsend (DE/NT/LB), Kyle Vanden Bosch (DE), Bryant Young (DT)

Linebackers (15) – Carl Banks, Cornelius Bennett, Tedy Bruschi, Seth Joyner, Ray Lewis, Greg Lloyd, Wilber Marshall, Clay Matthews, Willie McGinest (also DE), Karl Mecklenburg, Sam Mills, Joey Porter, Darryl Talley, Zach Thomas, Brian Urlacher

Defensive backs (12) – Eric Allen (CB), Steve Atwater (S), Ronde Barber (CB/S), LeRoy Butler (S), *Brian Dawkins (SS), Rodney Harrison (S), *Ty Law (CB), Albert Lewis (CB), *John Lynch (S), Dennis Smith (S), Everson Walls (CB), Darren Woodson (S)

Kickers/punters (3) – Gary Anderson (K), Sean Landeta (P), Nick Lowery (K)

Special teams (2) – Brian Mitchell (KR/PR also RB), Steve Tasker (ST also WR)

(12) – *Don Coryell, Bill Cowher, Tom Flores, Mike Holmgren, Jimmy Johnson, Chuck Knox, Buddy Parker, Richie Petitbon, Dan Reeves, Marty Schottenheimer, Clark Shaughnessy, Dick Vermeil

Editor’s note: Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee.

Fouts: Owens received fair evaluation of his career with HOF voting

Fouts: Owens received fair evaluation of his career with HOF voting

Programming note: Watch the John Lynch-Kyle Shanahan introductory press conference on Thursday at 1pm on CSN Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts was a Hall of Fame voter for the first time on Saturday in Houston.

Fouts said on a radio interview on Nashville’s 104.5 The Zone that he presented the room with the results of a poll in which he sought input from Hall of Famers.

“The feedback I got was strong, it was passionate and it was interesting,” said Fouts, who now works in the media for CBS Sports.

Fouts was asked about the discussion of wide receiver Terrell Owens, who was a finalist in his second year of eligibility and was not elected into the Hall of Fame.

“I think he did receive a fair evaluation of his career, both pros and cons,” Fouts said. “But, obviously, ripping the Hall of Fame and the process, what good is that going to do? I just don’t understand that. But I didn’t understand a lot of things he did in his career.”

Shortly after he received word from a Hall of Fame representative that he did not receive the necessary votes to be part of the Class of 2017, Owens tweeted, “HOF is a total joke. Honestly, doesn’t mean anything to me to get in beyond this point.”

When asked what his stance was on Owens, Fouts spoke about the dilemma he faced as a voter.

“I think his numbers are very worthy,” Fouts answered. “But, again, on the other side of it, I think his actions on and off the field, on the sideline, in the locker room, and the fact that he played for so many teams. He was such a great player, the question always comes back to, if he was so great, why would those teams get rid of him? And I think we all know the answers.”

Fouts and Hall of Fame wide receiver James Lofton of Westwood One were added this season to the 48-member Board of Selectors.

Inside the room: How Hall-of-Fame voting went down

Inside the room: How Hall-of-Fame voting went down

After more than 20 years of covering the 49ers, I was one of four rookies in the room on Saturday morning inside Room 350 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.

My first year as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 48-member Board of Selectors, it was my duty to open the discussion of Terrell Owens as one of the 15 modern-era finalists.

As luck had it, the wide receivers were randomly selected as the final position group to be talked about. And Owens’ presentation followed Isaac Bruce. My presentation was the final one of the day before the ballots were collected and tabulated by the accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche.

During the course of the meeting, former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue did not receive the required 80-percent vote from the selectors as a contributor nominee. Contributor Jerry Jones and seniors nominee Kenny Easley were voted in.

After three rounds of voting, the modern-era Class of 2017 to emerge consisted of Morten Andersen, Terrell Davis, Jason Taylor, LaDainian Tomlinson and Kurt Warner.

Owens did not even make it into the top 10.

It might be a #FlawedProcess, as Owens suggested with his hashtags on Twitter after receiving the call of bad news on Saturday evening, but I do not question the motives of the men and women in that room who set out to “honor the heroes of the game.”

It is an incredibly thorough process that culminates with a discussion that lasted more than eight hours on Saturday.

Each of the selectors with whom I’ve held conversations and who spoke on Saturday take this duty very seriously. And the detailed approaches were evident in the presentations and additional comments in the discussions of the 15 modern-era finalists and the nominees in the contributors and seniors categories.

The media members have tremendous resources available for them to form their opinions. And many of the selectors expressed -- not their personal opinions so much – but the observations, experiences and thoughts of many coaches, executives and players, including Hall of Famers, about the candidates.

Many times those outside-the-room resources were named – with the approval of those respected NFL men. Other times, their identities were withheld at the request of those individuals.

This year is the first time the Hall of Famers had a voice in the room. In fact, they had two voices. Dan Fouts and James Lofton made their debuts on the selection committee after sitting in on the process a year ago as observers. Fouts (CBS) and Lofton (Westwood One) are eligible to vote because of their status as working media.

The Owens Debate
The bylaws for the Selection Committee states:

“The only criteria for election into the Hall of Fame are a nominee’s achievements and contributions as a player, a coach or a contributor in professional football.”

While off-the-field issues are not to be weighed, it is up to each member to determine how literally to consider that guideline. Some consider the sideline and locker room to be an extension of the field.

Peter King of the MMQB explained in his column Monday: “If something factors into how or whether a player plays, and if something factors into a tangible effect on the team’s performance (such as leadership), we can consider it. In other words, we can extend the on-field factors to the locker room and practice field if we think that had a bearing on his team and his own play.”

(The voting takes place via secret ballot, but King disclosed he voted for Owens, as did I.)

My presentation of Terrell Owens included an acknowledgement he had uneasy relationships with his quarterbacks but those same quarterbacks – Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb and Tony Romo – also thrived with Owens as their top pass-catcher.

Garcia, McNabb and Romo each posted his best win-loss record in single seasons in which Owens averaged more than 1,300 yards receiving and 15 touchdowns.

The discussion lasted 32 minutes. Some in the room supported Owens’ induction as one of the top receivers in NFL history. But others raised concerns about his role in locker-room dramas that led to the 49ers, Eagles and Cowboys parting ways with him while he was in the prime of his career.

As a result, Owens did not make the cut from 15 to 10 for the second time in his two years of eligibility into the Hall of Fame.

The Final Five
There is a good chance the three remaining defensive backs – John Lynch, Brian Dawkins and Ty Law – and offensive linemen Tony Boselli and Kevin Mawae split the vote and, in essence, canceled each other out.

That left the modern-era top-five vote-getters as Tomlinson, Davis, Andersen, Warner and Taylor.

Tomlinson was such a lock for the Hall of Fame, that he was probably considered in a completely separate class. Therefore, it would seem, he did not have any kind of canceling-out impact on Davis.

Davis’ career consisted of three remarkable years in a row, including a 2,000-yard, 21-touchdown performance in 1998. He was the driving force that led the way to John Elway’s back-to-back Super Bowls before he retired.

What pushed Davis over the top were his performances in the playoffs. In those eight games – half an NFL regular season – Davis rushed for 1,140 yards and 12 touchdowns.

With Davis now out of the way, that could open the door for other running backs to get into the conversation, such as Roger Craig, in future years.

Next year, will be a big year for the safeties. Lynch and Dawkins should be expected to advance far in the process once again. But after next year, things could get difficult for the safety position with likely first-ballot Hall of Famers Ed Reed and Troy Palomalu becoming eligible for induction in 2019 and ’20, respectively.

Class of 2018?
The first five out from this year were those who advanced to the top 10 but were not inducted. That list is comprised of Lynch, Dawkins, Law, Boselli and Mawae.

The next five were Owens, Isaac Bruce, Joe Jacoby, Alan Faneca and Don Coryell.

Linebacker Ray Lewis and wide receiver Randy Moss are eligible for the first time. They are certain to be in the top 15. Linebacker Brian Urlacher is a strong candidate to advance as a finalist, too.

There are a lot of Hall-of-Fame worthy candidates who were left out this year, no doubt. And that’s not going to change any time soon. Next year will be the same. It’s unavoidable.

And that’s what makes the entire process is so agonizing for some and so rewarding for others.

Notable First-Time Eligibles
Class of 2018
Ronde Barber
Ray Lewis
Jeff Saturday
Donald Driver
Matt Birk
Steve Hutchinson
Brian Urlacher
Randy Moss

Class of 2019
Dallas Clark
Tony Gonzalez
Ed Reed
Champ Bailey

Class of 2020
Troy Polamalu
Reggie Wayne
Patrick Willis

Class of 2021
Peyton Manning
Charles Woodson
Calvin Johnson
Jerod Mayo
Justin Tuck
Jared Allen
Heath Miller
Marshawn Lynch
Logan Mankins
Source: The Pro Football Hall of Fame