Tagliabue, Matthews headline Hall finalists

Updated: January 10, 2007, 5:02 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CANTON, Ohio -- Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and durable offensive lineman Bruce Matthews headline the list of 17 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists
The 17 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Hall class will be elected Feb. 3. Who would you put in the Hall of Fame? Vote!

• Fred Dean, DE, 1975-1981 Chargers, 1981-1985 49ers
• Richard Dent, DE, 1983-1993, 1995 Bears, 1994 49ers, 1996 Colts, 1997 Eagles
• Russ Grimm, G, 1981-1991 Redskins
• Ray Guy, P, 1973-1986 Raiders
• x-Gene Hickerson, G, 1958-1973 Browns
• Michael Irvin, WR, 1988-1999 Cowboys
• Bob Kuechenberg, G, 1970-1984 Dolphins
• Bruce Matthews, G/C, 1983-2001 Oilers/Titans
• Art Monk, WR, 1980-1993 Redskins, 1994 Jets, 1995 Eagles
• Andre Reed, WR, 1985-1999 Bills, 2000 Redskins
• x-Charlie Sanders, TE, 1968-1977 Lions
• Paul Tagliabue, NFL Commissioner, 1989-2006
• Derrick Thomas, LB, 1989-1999 Chiefs
• Thurman Thomas, RB, 1988-1999 Bills, 2000 Dolphins
• Andre Tippett, LB, 1982-1993 Patriots
• Roger Wehrli, CB, 1969-1982 Cardinals
• Gary Zimmerman, T, 1986-1992 Vikings, 1993-1997 Broncos

x-Seniors nominee

The Hall's Board of Selectors revealed the finalists for the Class of 2007 on Wednesday.

A total of 111 former players, coaches and contributors who made up the preliminary list of nominees were reduced to 25 semifinalists before the 17 finalists were announced.

Tagliabue, who is among the contributors on the preliminary list, served as the NFL's commissioner from 1989-2006. His reign was highlighted by record-setting television deals, labor peace and a massive stadium building program.

Under Tagliabue's leadership, the NFL grew from 28 to 32 teams and revised its divisional alignment and scheduling formula. During this time, the NFL also expanded its international appeal and presence with the creation of NFL Europe.

Matthews holds the NFL record for most games (296) and seasons (19) played at any position. He spent his entire career with the Tennessee Titans franchise, retiring after the 2001 campaign.

The other 13 modern-era finalists are running back Thurman Thomas, wide receivers Michael Irvin, Art Monk and Andre Reed, guards Russ Grimm and Bob Kuechenberg, tackle Gary Zimmerman, defensive ends Fred Dean and Richard Dent, linebackers Derrick Thomas and Andre Tippett, cornerback Roger Wehrli and punter Ray Guy.

The Senior Committee nominees are guard Gene Hickerson and tight end Charlie Sanders.

The Hall of Fame class will be elected on Feb. 3, the day before Super Bowl XLI in Miami.

To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum of 80 percent of the total votes by the panel of media members. The panel will vote on Feb. 3, the day before the Super Bowl in Miami.

Enshrinement of the class of 2007 will take place on the weekend of August 4-5.

Information from SportsTicker and The Associated Press was used in this report.