On Wednesday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced their finalists for their senior and coach/contributor categories. Their list of 24 names has been whittled down from the 54 who were originally named semi-finalists. The Green Bay Packers who advanced to the next round of examination are former receiver Sterling Sharpe, former running back Cecil Isbell and former head coach Mike Holmgren.
The list of senior players was shaved from 25 to 12 with former Packers Mark Clayton and LaVern Dilweg not making the cut. Dilweg is a notable name missing on the list of senior finalists as the Pro Football Researchers of America officially supports the induction of Dilweg and Al Wistert, who also did not make the list of 12 finalists, to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Along with Sharpe and Isbell, Ken Anderson, Maxie Baughan, Randy Gradishar, Chuck Howley, Joe Klecko, Bob Kuechenberg, Eddie Meador, Tommy Nobis, Ken Riley and Everson Walls also advanced in the seniors category. Sharpe, a five-time Pro Bowler, and Isbell, a four-time Pro Bowler, are the only receiver and running back to advance, respectively.
On August 16th, the committee will decide which three senior candidates to present to the selection committee in early 2023 for the 2023 hall of fame class. For the next three classes, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will expand their senior inductions from a potential one inductee to a potential three inductees. If a player advances to the three-candidate phase, it is highly likely that the committee will push them in, as the hall of fame wishes to clear its logjam of senior candidates.
The coaches and contributors list has been slashed down from 29 semifinalists to just 12 finalists. Two former Packers, Jack Vainisi (scout, business manager) and Lee Remmel (sportswriter, public relations director and historian), were unable to advance with Holmgren. The other finalists include Roone Arledge, Don Coryell, Frank Kilroy, Robert Frank, Art Modell, Buddy Parker, Dan Reeves, Art Rooney Jr., Mike Shanahan, Clark Shaughnessy and John Wooten.
One week after the committee decides which three senior candidates to vote yes or no on in 2023, the committee will meet on the coaches and contributors list on August 23rd. Unlike the seniors list, though, only one coach/contributor finalist will advance to a yes or no vote next winter.
For three straight hall of fame classes in a row, a head coach has been inducted with Dick Vermeil (2022), Tom Flores (2021), Bill Cowher (2020) and Jimmy Johnson (2020) being enshrined in Canton, Ohio recently. With that being said, 14 contributors have been inducted in the time (2009-2022) that the last six head coaches have been enshrined. Among the 14 contributors are four owners, four general managers, two members of NFL Films, two scouts, one official and one commissioner.