Pro Football Hall of Fame: Class of 2021 Semi-Finalists

Manning, Woodson, Johnson and Allen Are First Ballot Candidates

Peyton Manning Hall of Fame Candidate on First Ballot

Hey everyone this is Sam and I’m always excited about the Pro Football Hall of Fame candidates. Might have something to do with my sister living about 10-15 minutes away. There are four eligible players that are first year candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. These are players that I have actually watched play and some who I feel like I know.

The First Year Candidates

I mean who doesn’t feel like they know the whole Manning family. My dad loved Archie Manning in college and just felt so sorry for him getting drafted by the Saints. I can remember the “Ain’ts” wearing bags on their heads when I was little. Being a Gator fan, how can I mention the University of Tennessee alum QB that never beat us. I definitely followed Peyton’s career and am now following Peyton’s nephew, Arch in high school.

Charles Woodson…who can forget him in college with the Heisman Trophy? He was unbelievable as a safety and some wide receiver at Michigan. I think everyone I knew couldn’t believe the things he could do and he just got better and better in the pros. You could never count him out for an interception.

As far as Megatron, I first heard of Calvin Johnson destroying WVU in a bowl game and then getting drafted by my brother-in-law’s hometown team, Detroit Lions. I enjoyed looking for him on ESPN’s Catch of the Day every Sunday. He was a highlight reel by himself even playing for the Lions. There were games he kept them in all by himself. I can’t imagine if he would have actually had a pretty good QB with him.

Jared Allen is the one of the first time candidates that I know the least about. I know he was a five time Pro Bowler, but with him playing his college ball at Idaho State and then I wasn’t a fan of the teams he played for like the Kansas City Chiefs.

The 25 Semi-Finalists for Class of 2021

To be considered for selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a nominated individual must not have participated as an active player for five consecutive seasons.


Below is the full list of modern-era semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame received from

  • CB Eric Allen (1988-1994 Philadelphia Eagles, 1995-1997 New Orleans Saints, 1998-2001 Oakland Raiders): 54 INT (8 TD), 6-time Pro Bowler with Eagles (5) and Saints (1).
  • DE Jared Allen (2004-2007 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-2015 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers): 136.0 sacks, 4 career safeties (T-most all-time), 22.0 sacks in 2011 (T-2nd all-time), 1 of 7 players to lead NFL in sacks in a season twice, 4-time First Team All-Pro.
  • T Willie Anderson (1996-2007 Cincinnati Bengals, 2008 Baltimore Ravens): Started 184 of 195 games played in career, 4-time Pro Bowler, 3-time First Team All-Pro.
  • CB/S Ronde Barber (1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Only player in NFL history with 40+ interceptions & 25+ sacks, NFL All-Decade Team of the 2000s, won Super Bowl XXXVII with Buccaneers.
  • LB Cornelius Bennett (1987-1995 Buffalo Bills, 1996-98 Atlanta Falcons, 1999-2000 Indianapolis Colts): 71.5 sacks, 7 INT (1 TD), 27 fumble recoveries, 5-time Pro Bowler with Bills, played in 5 Super Bowls with Bills (XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII) and Falcons (XXXIII), All-Decade Team of the 1990s.
  • T Tony Boselli (1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars): NFL All-Decade Team of the 1990s, 3-time First Team All-Pro.
  • S LeRoy Butler (1990-2001 Green Bay Packers): 38 career interceptions, only player in NFL history with 3+ interceptions & 3+ sacks in 3 straight seasons, NFL All-Decade Team of the 1990s, won Super Bowl XXXI with Packers.
  • G Alan Faneca (1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-2009 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals): NFL All-Decade Team of the 2000s, 6-time First Team All-Pro, won Super Bowl XL with Steelers.
  • S Rodney Harrison (1994-2002 San Diego Chargers, 2003-2008 New England Patriots): 34 INT, 30.5 sacks, 1 of 2 players in NFL history in the 30/30 club (Ray Lewis), played in 4 Super Bowls, won Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX with Patriots.
  • WR Torry Holt (1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars): 13,382 receiving yards, 920 receptions, led NFL in receiving yards in 2000 & 2003, 1 of 5 players with multiple 1,600 receiving yard seasons, NFL All-Decade Team of the 2000s, won Super Bowl XXXIV with Rams.
  • WR Calvin Johnson (2007-2015 Detroit Lions): 1,964 receiving yards in 2012 (most all-time), 86.1 career receiving YPG (2nd all-time), All-Decade Team of 2010s, 3-time First Team All-Pro.
  • S John Lynch (1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-2007 Denver Broncos): 26 career interceptions, 16 career forced fumbles, 2-time First Team All-Pro, won Super Bowl XXXVII with Buccaneers.
  • QB Peyton Manning (1998-2011 Indianapolis Colts, 2012-2015 Denver Broncos): 200 career wins including playoffs (2nd all-time), 539 career pass TD (3rd all-time), 71,940 pass yds (3rd all-time), 5,477 pass yds in 2013(most all-time), 55 pass TD in 2013 (most all-time), 14-time Pro Bowler (T-most all-time), 7-time First Team All-Pro, won Super Bowl XLI with Colts & Super Bowl 50 with Broncos (only QB to win Super Bowl with multiple franchises).
  • LB Clay Matthews (1978-1993 Cleveland Browns, 1994-1996 Atlanta Falcons): 278 career games, Browns all-time sacks leader (62.0), 2nd-most games played (232) in Browns franchise history.
  • LB Sam Mills (1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-1997 Carolina Panthers): 20.5 career sacks, 11 career interceptions, 1996 First Team All-Pro.
  • DE/DT Richard Seymour (2001-2008 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders): NFL All-Decade Team of the 2000s, 3-time Super Bowl champion with Patriots (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX).
  • ST/WR Steve Tasker (1985-1986 Houston Oilers, 1986-1997 Buffalo Bills): 7-time Pro Bowl selection, 2,159 career all-purpose yards.
  • RB Fred Taylor (1998-2008 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2009-2010 New England Patriots): 11,695 rushing yards (17th all-time), 7 seasons with 1,100+ rushing yards (T-6th most all-time), led NFL in rush YPG in 2000 (107.6).
  • LB Zach Thomas (1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys): 17 career interceptions, 20.3 career sacks, 4 career INT return TD, 184 career games, NFL All-Decade Team of the 2000s.
  • WR Hines Ward (1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers): 1,000 receptions, 12,083 receiving yards, 85 receiving TD, Steelers franchise leader in receptions, receiving yards & receiving TD, won 2 Super Bowls with Steelers (XL, XLIII).
  • WR Reggie Wayne (2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts): 1,070 receptions (10th all-time), 14,345 receiving yards (10th all-time), led NFL with 1,510 receiving yards in 2007, 5th-most receiving yards for a single franchise in NFL history, 7 straight 1,000+ receiving yard seasons (T-6th longest streak in NFL history), won Super Bowl XLI with Colts.
  • LB Patrick Willis (2007-2014 San Francisco 49ers): 2007 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year, led NFL in tackles in 2007 (174) & 2009 (152), 950 career tackles, 20.5 career sacks, 52 TFL, 8 career interceptions in 112 games (all starts).
  • CB/S Charles Woodson (1998-2005, 2013-2015 Oakland Raiders, 2006-2012 Green Bay Packers): 13 defensive TD (most all-time), 11 INT return TD (T-2nd all-time), 1 of 3 player in NFL history with 25+ INT with 2 different franchises, 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, 3-time First Team All-Pro, All-Decade team of 2000s, won Super Bowl XLV with Packers.
  • S Darren Woodson (1992-2003 Dallas Cowboys): 23 career interceptions, won 3 Super Bowls with Cowboys (XXVII, XXVIII, XXX).
  • DT Bryant Young (1994-2007 San Francisco 49ers): 89.5 career sacks (most in 49ers history), 208 career games played, 1999 Comeback Player of the Year, NFL All-Decade Team of the 1990s, won Super Bowl XXIX with 49ers.


There are already some finalists named for Pro Football Hall of Fame: Drew Pearson-Senior Finalist, Bill Nunn-Contributor Finalist and Tom Flores-Coach Finalist. Then there will also be 15 modern-era finalists from the list below.

There isn’t a set number for any class of Hall of Famers, but their by-laws say between four and eight new members will

be selected. According to the NFL, “the Class of 2021 will be revealed during NFL Honors on Saturday, Feb. 6. The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021 will be enshrined Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021 in Canton, Ohio.”

Who are your picks right now? Sports Obsessive will be giving picks as we get closer to it. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Written by Samantha Sayre

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