The Buffalo Bills hope to be partying like its 1992 leading up to the Super Bowl day. Three key figures from Buffalo's Super Bowl teams in the 90s are finalists for the Hall of Fame.
The day before Super Bowl XLIII, the vote for this year's class of Hall of Famers will be cast in Tampa, Fla. On the 17-person list are Bruce Smith, Andre Reed and Ralph Wilson. Up to seven men can be chosen for induction.
The trio's competition includes: receiver Cris Carter; center Dermontti Dawson; guards Russ Grimm, Bob Kuechenberg and Randall McDaniel; tight end Shannon Sharpe; defensive tackles Cortez Kennedy and John Randle; defensive end Richard Dent; linebacker Derrick Thomas; safety Rod Woodson, and former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Also, senior candidates Bob Hayes and Claude Humphrey are on the ballot.
For Reed and Wilson, it's the third time they've made the final cut. For Smith, it's a first --- players must be retired for five years to be considered for induction.
Each candidate brings some major credentials to the table.
---Wilson, the only owner the Bills have ever had, played a key role in the emergence of the AFL and it's eventual merger with the NFL. He's helped keep the Bills in Buffalo for 50 years.
---Smith is the NFL's all-time sack leader. In 19 NFL seasons, the Bills' defensive end racked up 200 sacks. Reggie White is second with 198 sacks in 15 seasons. Smith was the NFL's Defensive MVP twice (1990 and 1996) and made the Pro Bowl in 11 seasons.
---Reed was Jim Kelly's go-to target through Buffalo's unprecedented run of four straight AFC titles. In his 16-year career, Reed caught 951 passes for 13,198 yards and 87 touchdowns. He is tied for sixth all-time in receptions and is 10th in receiving yards. Of course, Reed's most memorable moment with the Bills came in the 1993 Wild Card when he scored three touchdowns to spark the greatest comeback in NFL history against the Houston Oilers.
Buffalo special teams standout Steve Tasker made the cut to 25, but not to 15.