The modern-era finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall's 38-member Board of Selectors from a preliminary group of 71 players, coaches and contributors. The selectors will meet in New Orleans, Louisiana on Saturday, February 2, to elect the Hall of Fame Class of 2002.
At the 2002 election meeting the selectors will thoroughly discuss the careers of each finalist before narrowing the field to the Seniors Committee nominee and six modern-era candidates. At least four modern-era candidates must be elected but the total class, including the Seniors Committee nominee, cannot number more than seven. Following the meeting, the newest Hall of Fame members will be announced at a press conference scheduled for 12:30 p.m. (EST) in the Super Bowl media center in the Earnest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.
Listed alphabetically, the 15 finalists with their positions, teams, and years active follow:
George Allen, Coach, 1966-1970 Los Angeles Rams, 1971-1977 Washington Redskins
Harry Carson, Linebacker, 1976-1988 New York Giants
Dave Casper, Tight End, 1974-1980 Oakland Raiders, 1980-1983 Houston Oilers, 1983 Minnesota Vikings, 1984 Los Angeles Raiders
L.C. Greenwood, Defensive End, 1969-1981 Pittsburgh Steelers
Ray Guy, Punter, 1973-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
Dan Hampton, Defensive End/Defensive Tackle, 1979-1990 Chicago Bears
Lester Hayes, Cornerback, 1977-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
Jim Kelly, Quarterback, 1986-1996 Buffalo Bills
Bob Kuechenberg, Guard, 1970-1983 Miami Dolphins
James Lofton, Wide Receiver, 1978-1986 Green Bay Packers, 1987-1988 Los Angeles Raiders, 1989-1992 Buffalo Bills, 1993 Los Angeles Rams, 1993 Philadelphia Eagles
Art Modell, Contributor, 1961-1995 Cleveland Browns, 1996-present Baltimore Ravens
Art Monk, Wide Receiver, 1980-1993 Washington Redskins, 1994 New York Jets, 1995 Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Parcells, Coach, 1983-1990 New York Giants, 1993-1996 New England Patriots, 1997-1999 New York Jets
Donnie Shell, Safety, 1974-1987 Pittsburgh Steelers
John Stallworth, Wide Receiver, 1974-1987 Pittsburgh Steelers
To be eligible for election, modern-era players must be retired at least five years while a coach needs only to be retired. A nominee whose major contributions came in areas other than playing or coaching does not have to be retired to be considered. A Seniors Committee candidate, to be eligible for the 2002 class, must have completed at least 70 percent of his career by 1977. At the annual election meeting, the Seniors Committee nominee must receive the same affirmative majority - a minimum of 80 percent - required of any candidate to be elected.
Allen, Carson, Casper, Greenwood, Guy, Hampton, Hayes, Lofton, Monk, Parcells, and Stallworth have all been finalists in previous years. Although they have been eligible prior to this year, this is the first time that Kuechenberg, Modell, and Shell have been finalists. Only Kelly is a first-time eligible candidate.
Of the 2002 finalists, Allen, has been eligible 24 years, Greenwood for 16, Kuechenberg 14, Casper 13, Guy and Hayes 11, Shell and Stallworth 10, Carson nine, Hampton seven, Lofton four, Monk and Parcells two, and Kelly is eligible for the first time.
From this year's list, nine finalists - Carson, Greenwood, Guy, Hampton, Hayes, Kelly, Kuechenberg, Shell, and Stallworth - spent their entire NFL career with just one team. Kelly, however, also played two seasons in the defunct United States Football League with the Houston Gamblers (1984-85).
Representatives of the international accounting firm Andersen will tabulate all votes during the meeting. At the press conference, they will present Hall of Fame Executive Director John Bankert with an envelope containing the names of the nominees elected. The Hall will contact each new member immediately after the announcement.
Enshrinement of the Class of 2002 will take place on the front steps of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, on Saturday, August 3, 2002.