Who's ticketed for Canton?
By Thomas Neumann and Scott Symmes
The Pro Football Hall of Fame welcomes six new members into its exclusive fraternity this weekend.
The additions of Gene Hickerson, Michael Irvin, Bruce Matthews, Charlie Sanders, Thurman Thomas and Roger Wehrli will bring the total number of players enshrined in Canton to 208.
This made us wonder which active players will ultimately walk across the stage at Fawcett Stadium wearing tacky bright yellow jackets and huge grins.
Matthews will become the 36th player from the 1985 NFL season to make the Hall of Fame. Fifty-four players from 1975 and 58 players from 1965 have been so honored. Therefore, it's reasonable to expect that at least 50 players from the upcoming season will land in Canton.
After extensive research, fact-checking, educated guessing and hunch playing, here are 50 active NFL players we predict will someday be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, listed in order of predicted Hall of Fame probability. Perhaps not everyone on this list will appear to be Hall of Fame material at first glance. Some might have to wait a few years to gain entry -- one of this year's inductees, Hickerson, last played in 1973.
We rated players on a 20-point scale in five categories. Details are found in the ratings key on the right side of the page.
Before you post a snarky comment at the bottom of this page understand that these are predictions. Very few active players would be locks for the Hall of Fame if they retired today. That leaves the door open to interpretation on who else will fill the field of 50 -- even a couple players who have yet to take a regular-season snap.
OK, now check our list -- and post that snarky comment.
1. Brett Favre
2. Tom Brady
3. Peyton Manning
4. Larry Allen
5. Ray Lewis
6. Richard Seymour
7. Jonathan Ogden
8. Marvin Harrison
9. LaDainian Tomlinson
10. Adam Vinatieri
Cantonized: Hall of Fame predictions
Thomas Neumann is an editor for Page 2. Scott Symmes is an editor for the NFL section.
CANTONIZED: HALL OF FAME PREDICTIONS
50 Future Hall of Famers• Cantonized: Selections Nos. 1-10
• Cantonized: Selections Nos. 11-20
• Cantonized: Selections Nos. 21-30
• Cantonized: Selections Nos. 31-40
• Cantonized: Selections Nos. 41-50
• Cantonized: The list 1-50
Extra• 10 players on the Canton bubble
• 10 big names who won't be Hall of Famers
Video analysis• Ron Jaworski on quarterback selections
• Floyd Reese on running back selections
• Sean Salisbury on receiver/tight end selections
• Mark Schlereth on offensive line selections
• Mike Golic on defensive line selections
• Tom Jackson on linebacker selections
• Eric Allen on defensive back selections
Audio analysis• Jeremy Green, John Clayton and Michael Smith dissect selections 1-25 | 26-50, bubble players
Photo gallery• Zoom gallery of top-10 selections
SportsNation• Vote: Who is bound for Canton?
Ratings keyWe rated players on a 100-point scale in five categories worth up to 20 points each:
Mortality -- 10 possible points based on injury history (the more durable the player, the higher the score) and 10 possible points based on how close he would be to the Hall of Fame if an injury ended his career today.
Statistics -- Statistical milestones, awards, records and Pro Bowl appearances.
Team success -- Super Bowl victories and appearances, playoff appearances and victories, top playoff seeds earned.
Upside -- Perceived statistical potential based on age, skill, talent, fitness and durability. This includes potential to break records, climb statistical lists and earn Pro Bowl selections.
Intangibles -- Anything not covered by the other four categories, for instance: leadership, reputation, team success potential, superstar potential and positional representation in the Hall of Fame.
Order of tiebreakers: 1. Team; 2. Statistics; 3. Mortality