New England coach Bill Belichick is among the 25 persons chosen for the “Blue Ribbon Panel” that will name the 10 seniors, three contributors and two coaches for the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame’s Centennial Class of 2020.
The panel, selected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was announced Thursday afternoon.
Belichick is the only active coach in the group, but he is not the only coach. Former Oakland coach John Madden and defensive assistant and head coach Dick LeBeau are the others.
In all, there are 10 non-media members, including former GMs Ozzie Newsome, Ernie Accorsi, Ron Wolf, Bill Polian and Carl Peterson, and five Hall of Famers – with Wolf, Polian and Newsome three of them.
There are also four historians, including former Hall-of-Fame executive director Joe Horrigan, as well as 13 Hall-of-Fame selectors, including our own Rick Gosselin.
The panel is heavily tilted toward the senior committee, with seven of its nine members named. Gosselin is one of them. He is also a member of the nine-member contributor committee, with four of its nine members included.
There is no indication when the “Blue Ribbon Panel” will meet, how it will make its decision or when it will make its decision. What we do know is that the 15 candidates they name – the 10 seniors, three contributors and two coaches – will be presented to the 48-member board of selectors on Feb. 1, the day prior to Super Bowl LIV.
That is not unusual. What is extraordinary is what happens next: The entire slate will be subject to one vote – up or down – with 80 percent approval required.
Normally, candidates are decided individually, but there is nothing normal about the Centennial Class. It is a one-time process totally apart from the modern-era Class of 2020 and is designed to usher in some of the dozens of qualified seniors who have somehow been neglected or forgotten.
What follows is the Blue Ribbon Panel for the Hall’s Centennial Class of 2020:
ERNIE ACCORSI – Former GM Baltimore Colts, Cleveland Browns and N.Y. Giants.
BILL BELICHICK – New England Patriots head coach.
JARRETT BELL – Hall of Fame selector, USA Today.
JOEL BUSSERT – Former NFL executive, pro football historian.
JOHN CLAYTON – Hall of Fame selector, Washington Post.
FRANK COONEY – Hall of Fame selector, SportsXchange.
JOHN CZARNECKI – Hall of Fame selector, Fox Sports.
RICK GOSSELIN – Hall of Fame selector, Talk of Fame Network.
ELLIOTT HARRISON – Pro football historian, NFL.com.
JOE HORRIGAN – Former Pro Football Hall of Fame executive, pro football historian.
IRA KAUFMAN – Hall of Fame selector, JoeBucsFan.com.
DICK LEBEAU – Hall of Fame cornerback, former NFL coach.
JEFF LEGWOLD – Hall of Fame selector, ESPN.com.
JOHN MADDEN – Hall of Fame coach.
JOHN McCLAIN – Hall of Fame selector, Houston Chronicle.
GARY MYERS – Hall of Fame selector, The Athletic.
OZZIE NEWSOME – Hall of Fame tight end, former GM Baltimore Ravens.
CARL PETERSON – Former GM Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs.
SAL PAOLANTONIO – Hall of Fame selector, ESPN.
BILL POLIAN – Hall of Fame contributor, former GM Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts.
DAN POMPEI – Hall of Fame selector, The Athletic.
CHAREAN WILLIAMS – Hall of Fame selector, Pro Football Talk.
CHRIS WILLIS – Producer/head of research library NFL Films, pro football historian.
BARRY WILNER – Hall of Fame selector, Associated Press.
RON WOLF – Hall of Fame contributor, former executive Oakland/L.A. Raiders, GM Green Bay Packers.
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