The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its list of 108 nominees for induction in 2018, and the list has a very Eagles flare.
Fifteen players and one coach who spent at least one season with the Eagles are up for enshrinement this year, although some naturally have better odds than others. There are a handful that many feel should be a lock to have their bust immortalized in Canton, Ohio, and there is at least one player who is literally on the list by mistake. Otherwise, it's usually an honor just to be nominated.
The process certainly could be exciting for Eagles fans, as two former club members have an excellent shot to get in, and two or three more might be knocking on the door. We handicapped the group and took a closer look at each candidate's specific situation.
Brian Dawkins: 3/2
If Dawkins doesn't make it this year, he may have to wait awhile. There's about to be a logjam at safety. Ed Reed becomes eligible in 2019, Troy Polamalu in 2020, and for whatever reason, those two guys are higher-profile players. That certainly isn't reflected in the numbers. Dawkins is the only player in NFL history to record at least 25 interceptions (37), forced fumbles (36) and sacks (26), and leads both players in every major statistical category except interceptions, where Reed has the edge (64). What's more, Dawkins did it first. Voters will recognize the situation, which should result in a strong push -- and Dawkins slipping in the door before his peers.
Terrell Owens: 5/2
As much as Owens probably deserves to be in the Hall, he has only himself to blame for this plight. At first glance, the path doesn't appear to get any clearer in 2018 now that Randy Moss is eligible. Then again, Moss was no saint, either, and Owens has his fellow wide receiver beat in receptions (1,078 to 982), yards (15,934 to 15,292) and is only beaten only narrowly in touchdown catches (156 to 153). Plus, this is not the most loaded class we've seen, with Ray Lewis seemingly the only mortal lock to get in. Production should win out over politics, although Owens continues to hurt his own cause, so it wouldn't be a complete shock if the voters pass once again.
Donovan McNabb: 8/1
We've officially entered McNabb's very small window for the Hall. There are only five quarterbacks among the nominees, and McNabb's 37,276 yards and 234 touchdowns through the air has the other four beat by a mile. Those numbers are only good for 22nd and 29th all-time, respectively, and will continue falling down the list, but it just seems like a signal caller gets in every year. McNabb has an additional 3,459 yards and 29 touchdowns rushing, not to mention seven trips to the playoffs in a 10-year span. It's now or never, though. If McNabb doesn't get in this year or next, he'll likely wind up forever lost in the mix of more prolific passers.
Dick Vermeil: 10/1
Vermeil's resume doesn't scream Hall of Fame. He has the one Super Bowl championship with the Rams, and another appearance in the big game with the Eagles. That being said, Vermeil only has a 120-109 record with three division championships and eight trips to the playoffs in his 15-year NFL coaching career. He has the fame part going for him, being at the helm for two of the league's most famous underdog stories -- Vince Papale and Kurt Warner -- and is a renowned nice guy who has always stayed around the game. Vermeil absolutely could sneak in on reputation in a thin class.
Brian Mitchell: 12/1
If this were any other year in any other period in history, a return specialist might not be in the conversation. Yet, the voters have been making it a point to include some specialists in the Hall, electing punter Ray Guy and kicker Morten Anderson in recent years. The depth of this class is also creating opportunities for some fringe candidates. For what it's worth, many feel Mitchell is deserving on merit. He's second all-time in all-purpose yards with 23,330 -- only 246 back of Jerry Rice, so it's not at all difficult to envision somebody championing Mitchell's cause, especially at this point in time.
Randall Cunningham: 20/1
If you want to talk about a player who revolutionized a position, paving the way for guys like McNabb, like Michael Vick, like Cam Newton today, Cunningham is the guy. Cunningham was the first weaponized mobile quarterback of the modern era, which that alone qualifies him for the discussion based on fame. His numbers weren't bad either, with 29,979 yards and 207 touchdowns through the air, and 4,928 yards and 35 touchdowns on the ground. But if Cunningham made it this long without ever garnering serious consideration, don't expect a sudden groundswell of support to emerge.
Seth Joyner: 25/1
Some would say it's criminal that Seth Joyner isn't in already. Joyner was one interception away from becoming the first player ever to record at least 25 picks (24), forced fumbles (26) and sacks (52.0), long before Dawkins accomplished the feat. He also picked up his Super Bowl ring in his final season with Denver, something Dawkins, Owens and McNabb all lack on this list. Yet, Joyner never really racked up the individual accolades, earning an invitation to just three Pro Bowls over 13 seasons. The weak class of '18 gives an otherwise overlooked great a remote chance, but it's just that -- remote.
Eric Allen: 40/1
Allen is in a similar boat with Joyner. When you see cornerbacks like Aeneas Williams get in a few years back, you wonder why Allen's name never comes up. Nothing against Williams, but Allen had one less interception (54) in the same span of 14 NFL seasons. Regardless, his time appears to have come and gone without any meaningful consideration. It's a shame, but Allen is a serious long shot.
Greg Townsend: 50/1
Ricky Watters: 50/1
Mark Bavaro: 75/1
Keith Millard: 75/1
Herschel Walker: 75/1
Gary Anderson: 250/1
Sean Landeta: 250/1
Steve Smith: 1,000,000/1
Whoops! There were once two NFL wide receivers named Steve Smith. The good one, Steve Smith Sr. of Panthers and Ravens fame, finished his career with 14,731 yards and 81 touchdowns -- but is not yet eligible for the Hall of Fame. The other Steve Smith wound up with 2,641 yards and 12 touchdowns, his career shortened by injury. Yet, that is the Steve Smith who's eligible for the Hall and was mistakenly voted one of the 108 nominees in for enshrinement in 2018. We have to assume the voters will sort this out, and bad Steve Smith will not be inducted by accident. Smith spent one season with the Eagles in 2011, recording 124 yards and a touchdown.