Players must be out of the league for at least 5 years before they can be nominated.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame unveiled its 2021 class of semifinalists to be considered for inclusion in the football honor of a lifetime.
The 25 semifinalists, pared down from an original list of 130 nominees, include Eric Allen, Jared Allen, Willie Anderson, Ronde Barber, Cornelius Bennett, Boselli, LeRoy Butler, Alan Faneca, Rodney Harrison, Torry Holt, Johnson, Lynch, Manning, Clay Matthews Jr., Sam Mills, Richard Seymour, Steve Tasker, Fred Taylor, Zach Thomas, Hines Ward, Reggie Wayne, Patrick Willis, Charles Woodson, Darren Woodson, and Bryant Young.
Among the cohort of 25 players is former Indianapolis Colts and Broncos QB Peyton Manning, who is eligible just this year to be nominated and widely considered a shoo-in for Hall-of-Famer (some arguing he would be the top of the list just from his Denver years alone). Manning was at the helm of the Broncos Super Bowl 50 win in 2015 and was the all-time leading passer with 539 touchdown passes and 71,940 yards. He also holds single-season records that haven't been touched yet, including 55 touchdown passes and 5,477 passing yards in the 2013 season with the Broncos.
"Peyton Manning was the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft out of Tennessee by the Colts. During his illustrious career, Manning was a 14x Pro Bowler, 7x First-team All-Pro, 5x NFL Most Valuable Player, 2x NFL Offensive Player of the Year, Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, and Super BowlXLI MVP. He is the only starting QB to win a super bowl with two different teams," said his nomination profile on the Pro Football Hall of Fame website.
Manning is joined by Charles Woodson, Jared Allen, and Calvin Johnson as first-year eligible players.
There are several veterans to make the list again this year, as well, including former Bronco John Lynch, who has made it to the finalist stage of the Hall of Fame selection process for the last seven years.
While there is no set number of players that will be selected into the Hall of Fame each year, the 48-person selection committee is generally tasked with naming four to eight individuals a year. The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021 will be enshrined Sunday, August 8, 2021, in Canton as part of the 2021 Enshrinement Week.
Fans can also vote for their favorite semi-finalist on the Pro Football Hall of Fame website. Not only will their vote help decide the selected Hall of Famers, but it also enters them into drawings for several prizes.
"Fans can vote as many times as they wish at www.profootballhof.com/fanvote to predict the five Modern-Era players who will be elected to the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2021," said the Hall of Fame. "This marks the 11th consecutive year that Ford, the Official Automobile of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has invited fans to predict the outcome of the annual Hall of Fame class. More than 25 million votes have been cast in the past decade."
Who are you voting for, and why is it Peyton Manning? Kidding! Let us know who you are voting for in the comments below.