(Photo courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts)
By Clark Judge
Talk of Fame Network
The surprise with this year's Hall of Fame’s list of 15 finalists is not that candidates like running back Roger Craig or wide receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt didn't make the cut. It’s that three head coaches did.
Tony Dungy, Don Coryell and Jimmy Johnson will be presented to the Hall’s board of selectors Jan. 31 … and make Dungy the overwhelming favorite. That doesn’t mean he’s a favorite to be elected then; it just means he’s the coach most likely to pull the most support from the board’s 46 selectors.
Though qualified, Coryell and Johnson are longshot -- at least for now. Coryell was a finalist in 2010, but didn’t make it through to the final 10, and Johnson is a finalist for the first time.
Another first-time finalist is former Super Bowl and league MVP Terrell Davis, the league’s premier running back for four seasons – or, until injuries shortened his career. Like Coryell and Johnson, Davis is considered unlikely to be elected this month – but his candidacy just gained a boost with his crashing the Final 15.
Davis is one of five first-time finalists – with three seemingly destined for election now or at some point in the near future. They are tackle Orlando Pace, linebacker Junior Seau and quarterback Kurt Warner. Seau is considered the most likely to make it in 2015, with Pace close behind.
The Final 15 (with years as finalists in parentheses):
QB -- Kurt Warner (1).
RB -- Jerome Bettis (5); Terrell Davis (1).
WR – Tim Browns (6); Marvin Harrison (2)
T – Orlando Pace (1).
G – Will Shields (4).
K -- Morten Andersen (2)
DE/LB -- Charles Haley (6)
LB – Kevin Greene (4); Junior Seau (1).
S – John Lynch (2).
Coach Don Coryell (2).
Coach Tony Dungy (2).
Coach Jimmy Johnson (1).