The NFL on Tuesday night announced the 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2017, which will include seven first-time players on the ballot. Among these are two former Los Angeles Rams greats in wide receiver Isaac Bruce and quarterback Kurt Warner.
The duo is part of a stacked class that includes the likes of defensive Jason Taylor, safety John Lynch, wide receiver Terrell Owens, running back LaDainian Tomlinson, cornerback Ty Law, safety Brian Dawkins, and running back Terrell Davis among others. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue are up from the contributor committee.
The former Rams' combo were joined by wide receiver Torry Holt on the list of 26 semifinalists that was announced in the middle of November but didn't make it past that cut. The 2017 Hall of Fame class is expected to be revealed on Feb. 4, a day prior to the Super Bowl in Houston.
Warner had a unique NFL career that saw him go undrafted out of Northern Iowa in the 1994 Draft and was picked up by the Green Bay Packers on their practice squad. Following that one season with the Packers, he decided to play four years in the Arena Football League before joining the Rams as a backup quarterback.
He got his first opportunity to play after Trent Green suffered an ACL injury prior to the 1999 season where he got his first NFL start at age 28. In his first full season, he was the NFL and Super Bowl XXXIV MVP. Two seasons later, he won his second NFL MVP award while leading the Rams back to another Super Bowl where they fell short against the New England Patriots. During his tenure with the Rams he compiled two NFL MVP awards, three of his four Pro Bowl selections, two First-Team All-Pro nods, led the NFL in passing yards once (2001), and led the league in passing touchdowns twice (1999,2001).
Following a sub-par one-year stay with the New York Giants, his career got a second wind with the Arizona Cardinals leading them a Super Bowl XLIII where they fell short against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also became only the second quarterback in NFL history to throw 100 touchdown passes with two different teams joining Hall of Famer Frank Tarkenton. He finished his career with 32,305 passing yards, 208 touchdowns, 128 interceptions, and a 93.7 passer rating.
Warner also holds various NFL records such as being the only quarterback to throw for 400 or more passing yards in the Super Bowl, the three highest passing yardage totals in Super Bowl history, and tied for most touchdown passes in a single postseason. In his 13 career playoff games, he has the all-time mark for highest completion percentage (66.5% yards per attempt (8.55), and second in passer rating (102.8).
Bruce played 14 of his first 16 years with the Rams, where he's fourth all time in receiving yards (15,208), 13th in receptions (1,024) and 12th in receiving touchdowns (91). The four-time Pro Bowler finished his career as the franchise's all-time in receiving yards, catches, and yards from scrimmage. He also earned a Second-team All-Pro (1999) and led the NFL in receiving yards once (1996). Prior to his retirement, he became just the second wide receiver in NFL history to compile more than 15,000 career receiving yards.
The Rams already have 17 former players inducted into the Hall of Fame that include Eric Dickerson, Jackie Slater, Jack Youngblood, Marshall Faulk, Kevin Greene, and Deacon Jones among others.