OBR Daily Blog 1/8-9

First weekend without Browns football. Must. Not. Have. Nervous. Breakdown.

HoF announces 17 Finalists; Modell Denied Again
Barry McBride on January 9th, 2011 AT 11:44 AM

The Hall of Fame finalist list may be infested with Steelers and Ratbird players this year, but at least it does not include the noxious presence of one Art Modell, who finds himself denied yet again. This proves that some level of positive karma exists for Browns fans, even if there’s little evidence of it elsewhere.

Here’s the press release…

Five first-year eligible players – Jerome Bettis, Marshall Faulk, Curtis Martin, Deion Sanders, and Willie Roaf – are among the 15 modern-era finalists who will be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame when the Hall’s Selection Committee meets in North Texas on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011.

Joining the five first-year eligible players, are nine other modern-era players and a contributor. The 15 modern-era finalists, along with the two senior nominees announced in August 2010 (former Washington Redskins linebacker Chris Hanburger and former Los Angeles Rams linebacker Les Richter) will be the only candidates considered for Hall of Fame election when the 44-member Selection Committee meets. To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent.

Also, for the second consecutive year, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has teamed up with Van Heusen and JCPenney to ask fans to voice their choice for whom they think should be included in the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2011 at www.fanschoice.com.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee’s 17 finalists (15 modern-era and two senior nominees*) with their positions, teams, and years active follow:

Jerome Bettis – Running Back – 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers

Tim Brown – Wide Receiver/Kick Returner – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cris Carter – Wide Receiver – 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins

Dermontti Dawson – Center – 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers

Richard Dent – Defensive End – 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles

Chris Doleman – Defensive End/Linebacker – 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers

Marshall Faulk – Running Back – 1994-98 Indianapolis Colts, 1999-2005 St. Louis Rams

Charles Haley – Defensive End/Linebacker – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys

*Chris Hanburger – Linebacker – 1965-1978 Washington Redskins

Cortez Kennedy – Defensive Tackle – 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks

Curtis Martin – Running Back – 1995-97 New England Patriots, 1998-2005 New York Jets

Andre Reed – Wide Receiver – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins

*Les Richter – Linebacker – 1954-1962 Los Angeles Rams

Willie Roaf – Tackle – 1993-2001 New Orleans Saints, 2002-05 Kansas City Chiefs

Ed Sabol – Founder/President/Chairman – 1964-1995 NFL Films

Deion Sanders – Cornerback/Kick Returner/Punt Returner – 1989-1993 Atlanta Falcons, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-99 Dallas Cowboys, 2000 Washington Redskins, 2004-05 Baltimore Ravens

Shannon Sharpe – Tight End – 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens

Brown, Carter, Dawson, Dent, Haley, Kennedy, Reed, and Sharpe have all been finalists in previous years. Although they were eligible in previous years, this is the first time Doleman, Hanburger, Richter, and Sabol have been finalists.

From this year’s list, four players – Dawson, Hanburger, Kennedy, and Richter – spent their entire NFL career with just one team.

Hanburger and Richter were selected as senior candidates by the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee at their August 2010 meeting. The Seniors Committee reviews the qualifications of those players whose careers took place more than 25 years ago. The remaining 15 modern-era finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall’s 44-member Selection Committee from a list of 114 preliminary nominees that earlier was reduced to a list of 26 semifinalists.

To be eligible for election, modern-era players and coaches must be retired at least five years. Contributors need not be retired.

Dent has been eligible for election for nine years, Doleman and Haley seven years. Dawson, Kennedy, and Reed have each been eligible for election for six years, Carter four years, Sharpe three years and Brown two years. Bettis, Faulk, Martin, Roaf, and Sanders are in their first year of eligibility. Since the retirement minimum for a player prior to 1968 was three years, senior nominee Richter has been eligible for 46 years. Hanburger has been eligible for 28 years.

The Selection Committee will meet in North Texas, on Saturday, February 5, 2011, to elect the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011. The election results will be announced at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT) during a one-hour NFL Network special, live from the Super Bowl Media Center.

At the 2011 selection meeting, the selectors will thoroughly discuss the careers of each finalist. Although there is no set number for any class of enshrinees, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s current ground rules stipulate that between four and seven new members will be selected each year. No more than five modern-era nominees can be elected in a given year and a class of six or seven can only be achieved if one or both senior nominees are elected. Representatives of the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche will tabulate all votes during the meeting.

At the announcement, Pro Football Hall of Fame President/Executive Director Steve Perry will be presented with an envelope containing the names of the nominees elected. Each newly elected member will be contacted immediately by the Hall of Fame. Members of the Class of 2011 in North Texas for the Super Bowl will be asked to join the live announcement show. Those not able to attend will be asked to join via teleconference.

The Van Heusen Fan’s Choice campaign which launched in September mirrors the Hall of Fame’s selection process and will name the Fan’s Choice for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011 live on NFL Network just prior to the official announcement from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Van Heusen Fan’s Choice Top 15 list includes only five candidates who also appear on the official Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee list including: Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Marshall Faulk, and Andre Reed. Others who made the Van Heusen Fan’s Choice Top 15 list who didn’t make the official Hall of Fame Selection Committee list include coach, Tom Flores, as well as former players, Darryl Talley, Steve Tasker, Cornelius Bennett, Kent Hull, Fred Smerlas, Ray Guy, Jim Plunkett, Lester Hayes and Donnie Shell.

The Final Round of fan voting begins today and the top 15 Fan’s choices will be combined with the official Hall of Fame Selection Committee choices for one powerhouse list of candidates looking for fans’ votes to become a part of the Fan’s Choice for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011.

Fans are encouraged to visit www.fanschoice.com to vote for their favorites before the Fan’s Choice for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011 is revealed on February 5.

Tales From the NFL Playoffs: Part One
Dave Kolonich on January 9th, 2011 AT 10:39 AM

Perhaps the Browns' front office was onto something this past April.  The selections of corner Joe Haden and safety T.J. Ward signaled that the team's biggest weakness in 2009 – a leaky secondary – needed to be fixed in 2010.

While the results weren't anything extraordinary, the secondary did improve throughout the season, as Haden warranted some serious Rookie of the Year consideration, while Ward managed to stay healthy and make some plays.

At the least, as the Browns approach the 2011 offseason, the play of both Haden and Ward means that Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert can shift their focus to other areas of the roster come this April.

As for the defending Super Bowl Champion Saints, their 2011 offseason plans could rival the Browns' approach from a year ago.

No better evidence of this could be found than during the Saints' meltdown in Seattle on Saturday. 

A mostly pedestrian offense throughout the season, the 7-9 Seahawks torched the Saints' secondary for four touchdowns en route to one of the biggest playoff upsets in league history.  Making the story even more sensational is the idea that the Seahawks don't feature many game-changing offensive talents. 

Instead, the Seahawks simply called some smart plays and repeatedly caught the Saints' defenders out of position.  At times during Saturday's game, the Saints' secondary looked old and lethargic. 

While the Saints' offense is still among the league's most prolific units, their pass defense ultimately cost the defending champs. 

Perhaps the lesson to be learned here is the importance of the NFL's shift towards a passing league.  As it relates to the Browns, while the passing offense needs nothing short of a total reformation, at least a small portion of this equation has begun.

Latest Links from the OBR Newswire
OBR Newswire on January 8th, 2011 AT 10:00 AM

These are links from the OBR Newswire for January 8th from 09:46 to 09:54:

Stranger Than Non-Fiction
Dave Kolonich on January 7th, 2011 AT 10:40 PM

From the Department of News That Almost Was, here's an interesting little tidbit regarding the Browns' most recent ex-head coach.

Miami Herald – Dolphins' Ross Wanted Advice From Mangini

Dolphins sources insist the intent of the meeting was not to interview Mangini for the team’s head-coaching position, but instead to pick his brain as a “consultant” who has “knowledge of the division.”

Eric Mangini – the "consultant?"

Stranger things have happened – like Marty Morningwheg again becoming a prime NFL head coaching candidate.

The OBR Top Stories