Terrell Owens and Randy Moss will be at the center of the two most heated debates when it comes to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018.
The statistics and impact of both wide receivers are undeniably Hall-worthy. But T.O. and Moss were also controversial figures who didn’t have great relationships with the media or great reputations with a lot of fans. And it’s no secret that politics and goodwill with the voting media play a role in one’s Hall of Fame chances.
This isn’t the first year on the ballot for Owens, who should have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Moss is on the ballot for the first time. On Tuesday, they were announced as two of the 15 finalists for induction in the Hall’s 2018 class.
Four defensive backs also made the cut: Everson Walls, John Lynch, Ty Law and Brian Dawkins.
To get in, they’ll have to stay on the list of finalists as it’s cut to 10, and then five, before at least 80 percent of the 48-member Hall of Fame committee has to vote for them. I don’t expect any of the finalist DBs to make it this year, but I do think Dawkins and probably Lynch will get in eventually.
A look at their careers:
Everson Walls — A four-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro and three-time NFL leader in interceptions who won a Super Bowl with the New York Giants, Walls is one of the most decorated cornerbacks who isn’t already in the Hall of Fame. This is his first time as a finalist. Walls was a walk-on at Grambling and an undrafted rookie when he broke into the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys. He was a career underdog, and yet he played 13 years in the league with the Cowboys, Giants and Browns, making 57 interceptions in that time.
Ty Law — He won three Super Bowl titles with the New England Patriots and made the Pro Bowl five times, but to this day, the first thing I think of when it comes to Ty Law is getting pick-sixes with his digital likeness on Bill Walsh College Football for the Sega Genesis. Law made the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2000s. He made 53 career interceptions in 15 seasons (with the Patriots, Jets, Chiefs and Broncos), leading the league twice.
John Lynch — He became famous as the best defensive back on one of the best defenses of all-time, but after making five Pro Bowls with the notorious Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the early-2000s, Lynch turned around and made four more Pro Bowls with the Denver Broncos in the final four years of his career. Lynch was a punishing strong safety who was instrumental in the success of the Bucs’ vaunted Tampa 2 defense. He helped the Bucs win a Super Bowl title and is in their Ring of Honor and the Broncos’ Ring of Honor.
Brian Dawkins — Like Lynch, Dawkins also finished his career as a Pro Bowl safety for the Broncos, his second selection with that team after making the Pro Bowl seven times with the Philadelphia Eagles. Dawkins is a legend in Philly, where his No. 20 jersey is retired. “Weapon X” is as popular in that city as Allen Iverson, not just for his talent and his productivity (37 interceptions, 19 fumble recoveries, 26 sacks) but also because of his endless energy and outward passion for the game.
The complete list of 2018 Hall of Fame finalists: Ray Lewis (LB), Randy Moss (WR), Brian Urlacher (LB), Steve Hutchinson (OL), Terrell Owens (WR), Edgerrin James (RB), Isaac Bruce (WR), John Lynch (DB), Brian Dawkins (DB), Everson Walls (DB), Ty Law (DB), Tony Boselli (OL), Kevin Mawae (OL), Joe Jacoby (OL), Alen Faneca (OL).