The list of preliminary nominees for the 2009 Pro Football Hall of Fame was released yesterday, and the Redskins are well represented. It’s mainly by guys who have been preliminary nominees for years now, or guys who technically spent a few years here but are much more closely identified with other teams, but they’re there.
The latter category is especially full of wide receivers, as the Redskins became something of an elephant’s graveyard for very good WRs for a while there. Henry Ellard, Irving Fryar, and Andre Reed will never, ever be thought of as Redskins, but they all were, at least for a while. Even just in the guys nominated in their first year of eligibility, there are a few of these Redskins-in-name: Bruce Smith, Dana Stubblefield, and Jessie Armstead for sure, and even Larry Centers is someone I tend to picture in an Arizona uniform.
There are still a lot of steps before any of these people are actually considered for enshrinement anyhow, as the press release explains.
From this preliminary list of modern-era nominees, Hall of Fame selectors will choose 25 candidates who will advance as semifinalist nominees. The list of 25 modern-era semifinalists will be announced later next month.
The 25 modern-era semifinalists list will be reduced by a mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists.
Rod Woodson was named to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team midway through his career,
The final list of nominees that will be considered for election will consist of the 15 modern-era finalists and the two previously announced senior nominees, Bob Hayes and Claude Humphrey. Hayes and Humphrey were selected this past August by the Hall of Fame’s Senior Selection Committee.
Still, if a quarterback off this preliminary list makes the cut to the next list, there’s a 33% chance it will be a Redskin (although if Joe Theismann or Doug Williams were going to be enshrined, you’d think it would’ve happened by now).
Realistically speaking, the best chance for a Redskins presence at Canton this year is Russ Grimm, who made the finalists list last year. And it’ll be interesting to see how the selectors handle Brian Mitchell, although I never thought of him as a Hall of Famer while he was playing. Now that Art Monk has been enshrined, though, an awful lot of the emotional response this list used to evoke in me is gone. Maybe people need to start championing Grimm, Joe Jacoby, or Jim Lachey as a passed-over candidate so we can someday recreate the insane Canton atmosphere from this summer. Doesn’t seem too likely, though.