The Pro Football Hall of Fame trimmed its list of modern era finalists to 15, including first-year candidates Larry Allen, Jonathan Ogden, Warren Sapp, and Michael Strahan.
Also on the list are two contributors and a coach -- former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., former Browns, Ravens owner Art Modell and Bill Parcells, who coached four NFL teams and was involved in administration with another.
Noticeably missing in the cutdown from 25 to 15 is former commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who resurfaced in the league this last season to rule on current commissioner Roger Goodell's actions in the Bountygate controversy.
A troika of wide receivers once again is among the finalists -- Tim Brown, Cris Carter and Andre Reed. For several years this trio seems to split the vote for wide receivers, effectively barring any of them from entry thus far.
The 15 modern day finalists will be considered for election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame when the Hall's Selection Committee meets in New Orleans, La., on Saturday, Feb. 2, the day before the Super Bowl.
The 15 modern-era finalists, along with the two senior nominees announced in August 2012 -- former Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Oilers defensive tackle Curley Culp and former Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins linebacker Dave Robinson -- will be the only candidates considered for Hall of Fame election when the 46-member Selection Committee meets.
The 15 modern-era finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall's Selection Committee from a list of 127 nominees that earlier was reduced to a list of 27 semifinalists, during the multi-step, year-long selection process. Culp and Robinson were selected as senior candidates by the Hall of Fame's Seniors Committee. The Seniors Committee reviews the qualifications of those players whose careers took place more than 25 years ago.
To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent.
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 in alphabetical order (*=Senior candidate):
--Larry Allen, Guard/Tackle: 1994-2005 Dallas Cowboys; 2006-07, San Francisco 49ers.
--Jerome Bettis, Running Back: 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams; 1996-2005, Pittsburgh Steelers
--Tim Brown, Wide Receiver/Kick Returner/Punt 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
--Curley Culp*, defensive lineman: 1968-1974, Kansas City Chiefs; 1974-1980 Houston Oilers; 1980-81, Detroit Lions
--Edward DeBartolo, Jr., owner: 1977-2000, San Francisco 49ers
--Kevin Greene, Linebacker/Defensive End: 1985-1992, Los Angeles Rams; 1993-95, Pittsburgh Steelers; 1996, 1998-99, Carolina Panthers; 1997, San Francisco 49ers
--Charles Haley, Defensive End/Linebacker: 1986-1991, 1999, San Francisco 49ers; 1992-96, Dallas Cowboys
--Art Modell - Owner: 1961-1995, Cleveland Browns; 1996-2011, Baltimore Ravens
--Jonathan Ogden, Tackle: 1996-2007, Baltimore Ravens
--Bill Parcells, Coach: 1983-1990, New York Giants; 1993-96, New England Patriots; 1997-99, New York Jets; 2003-06, Dallas Cowboys
--Andre Reed, Wide Receiver: 1985-1999, Buffalo Bills; 2000, Washington Redskins
--Dave Robinson*, linebacker: 1963-1972, Green Bay Packers; 1973-74, Washington Redskins
--Warren Sapp, Defensive Tackle: 1995-2003, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 2004-07, Oakland Raiders
--Will Shields, Guard: 1993-2006, Kansas City Chiefs
--Michael Strahan, Defensive End: 1993-2007, New York Giants
--Aeneas Williams, Cornerback/Safety - 1991-2000, Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals; 2001-04 St. Louis Rams
Other than the four first-year eligible nominees, all of the modern-era nominees have been finalists in previous years. Although they have been nominees in previous years, this is the first time the two senior nominees, Culp and Robinson, have been finalists.