Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, Thurman Thomas, and Reggie White, four first-year eligible candidates, are among the 15 finalists who will be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame when the Hall's Board of Selectors meets in Detroit, Michigan on Saturday, February 4, 2006.
Joining the first-year eligible players as finalists, are nine other modern-era players and a coach and player nominated earlier by the Hall of Fame's Seniors Committee. The Seniors Committee nominees, announced in August 2005, are John Madden and Rayfield Wright. The other modern-era player finalists include defensive ends L.C. Greenwood and Claude Humphrey; linebackers Harry Carson and Derrick Thomas; offensive linemen Russ Grimm, Bob Kuechenberg and Gary Zimmerman; and wide receivers Michael Irvin and Art Monk.
To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent.
Listed alphabetically, the 15 finalists with their positions, teams, and years follow:
- Troy Aikman - Quarterback - 1989-2000 Dallas Cowboys
- Harry Carson - Linebacker - 1976-1988 New York Giants
- L.C. Greenwood - Defensive End - 1969-1981 Pittsburgh Steelers
- Russ Grimm - Guard - 1981-1991 Washington Redskins
- Michael Irvin - Wide Receiver - 1988-1999 Dallas Cowboys
- Bob Kuechenberg - Guard - 1970-1984 Miami Dolphins (injured reserve - 1984)
- John Madden - Coach - 1969-1978 Oakland Raiders
- Art Monk - Wide Receiver - 1980-1993 Washington Redskins, 1994 New York Jets, 1995 Philadelphia Eagles
- Derrick Thomas - Linebacker - 1989-1999 Kansas City Chiefs
- Thurman Thomas - Running Back - 1988-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Miami Dolphins
- Reggie White - Defensive End/Defensive Tackle - 1985-1992 Philadelphia Eagles, 1993-1998 Green Bay Packers, 2000 Carolina Panthers
- Rayfield Wright - Tackle - 1967-1979 Dallas Cowboys
- Gary Zimmerman - Tackle - 1986-1992 Minnesota Vikings, 1993-1997 Denver Broncos
Carson, Greenwood, Grimm, Humphrey, Irvin, Kuechenberg, Madden, Monk, Derrick Thomas, Wright, and Zimmerman have all been finalists in previous years.
From this year's list, nine nominees - Aikman, Carson, Greenwood, Grimm, Irvin, Kuechenberg, Madden, Derrick Thomas, and Wright - spent their entire NFL career with just one team.
Madden and Wright were selected as senior candidates by the Hall of Fame's Seniors Committee at their August 2005 meeting. The Seniors Committee reviews the qualifications of those players, coaches, and contributors whose careers took place more than 25 years ago. The remaining 13 modern-era finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall's 39-member Board of Selectors from a list of 112 preliminary nominees that earlier was reduced to a list of 25 semi-finalists. To be eligible for election, modern-era players must be retired for at least five seasons while a coach needs only to be retired.
At the 2006 election meeting, the selectors will thoroughly discuss the careers of each finalist before narrowing the field to six candidates. At least three candidates must be elected but the total class cannot number more than six.
Of the 2006 finalists, Madden has been eligible for 27 years, Wright 22 years, Greenwood and Humphrey 20 years, Kuechenberg 17 years, Carson 13 years, Grimm 10 years, Monk six years, Zimmerman four years, Irvin and Derrick Thomas two years, and for Aikman, Moon, Thurman Thomas, and White, 2006 is their first year of eligibility.
The Class of 2006 will be announced at a press conference at 2 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, February 4, at the Super Bowl media center in the Marriott Renaissance Center.
Representatives of the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche will tabulate all votes during the meeting. At the press conference, they will present Hall of Fame Interim Executive Director Ron Dougherty with an envelope containing the names of the nominees elected. The Hall will contact each new member immediately after the announcement. Members of the Class of 2006 in Detroit for the Super Bowl will be asked to join the press conference. Those not able to attend will be asked to join via teleconference.
Enshrinement of the Class of 2006 will take place at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio on the weekend of August 5-6.