2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class Predictions

On Tuesday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame released the list of 25 modern-era semifinalists for the 2021 class. The list includes four players eligible for the first time and four older players making their first semifinalist list:

Eric Allen (first-time semifinalist)
Jared Allen (first-year eligible)
Willie Anderson (first-time semifinalist)
Ronde Barber
Cornelius Bennett (first-time semifinalist)
Tony Boselli
LeRoy Butler
Alan Faneca
Rodney Harrison (first-time semifinalist)
Torry Holt
Calvin Johnson (first-year eligible)
John Lynch
Peyton Manning (first-year eligible)
Clay Matthews (final year of eligibility)
Sam Mills
Richard Seymour
Steve Tasker
Fred Taylor
Zach Thomas
Hines Ward
Reggie Wayne
Patrick Willis
Charles Woodson (first-year eligible)
Darren Woodson
Bryant Young

The first-ballot choices are interesting, because there has never been a HOF class with more than three of them. I think that trend will continue as voters will wait on Calvin Johnson because of an early retirement, and Jared Allen isn’t a lock to go right in either. Remember, Michael Strahan had to wait until his second year. But I do believe all four will be in soon enough.

Clay Matthews (Sr.) is in his final year of eligibility, but much like Carl Banks a year ago, I do not see a strong push for him. He’ll get added to the senior list next year.

I’m not convinced any of the four first-time semifinalists are going much further in the process. In fact, I don’t see Willie Anderson, Rodney Harrison, Cornelius Bennett, or Eric Allen making the Hall of Fame at all. Maybe as senior selections some day. Harrison, despite an indisputable reputation as a dirty cheater, has the best shot of the four due to his postseason success with New England. He should have been the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIX against Philadelphia.

Here are my predictions for the 15 finalists:

  • Ronde Barber
  • Tony Boselli
  • LeRoy Butler
  • Alan Faneca
  • Torry Holt
  • Calvin Johnson
  • John Lynch
  • Peyton Manning
  • Sam Mills
  • Richard Seymour
  • Zach Thomas
  • Reggie Wayne
  • Patrick Willis
  • Charles Woodson
  • Bryant Young

Finally, these are the five players I predict to make up the 2021 modern-era class:

  • Tony Boselli
  • Alan Faneca
  • John Lynch
  • Peyton Manning
  • Charles Woodson

Now if only we could get a ceremony next year as we already didn’t have an oversized one in 2020 for the centennial class. Manning deserves a big audience to close the night, or the end of a long week after the Hall of Fame will have 28 people to induct in 2021.

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