As is the case every year the day before the Super Bowl, the latest class of enshrinees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame was announced today. The 2013 class includes guard Larry Allen, wide receiver Cris Carter, defensive tackle Curley Culp, left tackle Jonathan Ogden, coach Bill Parcells, linebacker Dave Robinson, and defensive tackle Warren Sapp. Culp and Robinson were the seniors' committee nominees, while Allen, Carter, Ogden, Parcells, and Sapp were modern-era finalists, cut down from the initial list of 15. No modern-era finalist after the cutdowns were made was not enshrined.
Among the finalists, Allen, Ogden, and Sapp were in their first season of eligibility. Allen, a mainstay of the great Dallas Cowboys' teams of the 1990's, was one of the greatest guards of all time. Ogden was one of a great group of left tackles that entered the NFL in the mid-1990's that combined both great agility and power in the run game. The first player drafted by the Baltimore Ravens also becomes the team's first home-grown Hall of Famer. Sapp is known today as much for his loquaciousness on NFL Network and his money problems as anything else, but he was an at-times dominant interior penetrator for the great Tampa Bay Buccaneers defenses, including the 2002 team that won the Super Bowl.
Carter's name had been before the committee before, but as part of a terrible receiver logjam with Tim Brown and Andre Reed. Brown's dubious allegations that Bill Callahan threw the Super Bowl may have affected his candidacy this year, as the former Raider was among the first five modern-era candidates eliminated. Perhaps that let Carter, who made eight Pro Bowls and still ranks fourth all-time in receptions and receiving TDs, break through. Culp, who spent time with the Chiefs and Oilers, was the first true 3-4 nose tackle, and a dominant presence in the middle of the defensive line. Parcells' name had previously been discussed in the selection room, but selectors were really waiting for evidence that he had really retired. His tenure with the Dolphins, which did not include time on the sidelines, ended, his two Super Bowl rings and success outside of New York as well made him a lock. Robinson meanwhile becomes the latest Vince Lombardi-era Packers star to make the Hall of Fame.
Among candidates who did not make it, Michael Strahan losing out to Warren Sapp is probably the biggest surprise. The longtime Giants star defensive end made just as many All-Pro teams and Pro Bowls as did Sapp, had many more sacks, and was a fine two-way player, while Sapp was sometimes criticized as not a stout enough player against the run. Strahan was another first-year eligible, and should make it in the near future. Also making it to the round of ten but not the round of five were running back Jerome Bettis, outside linebacker/defensive end Charles Haley, wideout Andre Reed, and cornerback Aeneas Williams. The first five modern-era finalists eliminated were wideout Tim Brown, owner Eddie DeBartolo, outside linebacker Kevin Greene, owner Art Modell, and guard Will Shields.