The Pro Football Hall of Fame will be inducting a new class of enshrinees in Canton, Ohio the weekend of August 5th through 8th. The enshrinees and other nominees go through a series of nominations and voting processes that begin over a year before the ceremony.
A player, coach, or contributor can be nominated for the Hall of Fame in two ways: a fan can nominate someone by writing to the Hall of Fame, and a committee at the Hall of Fame compiles an “Initial Preliminary List” featuring anyone they feel has the credentials to be in the Hall. The Selection Committee receives this list and recommends anyone they feel was left off. The only eligibility requirement is that the nominee must be retired at least five years to be considered.
The “Initial Preliminary List” is sent to the Committee by March 1st of the year preceding the class in question (for example, the selection process for 2010 began in March 2009). A “Second Preliminary List” is presented in September, with all of the initial nominees and anyone else added to that list. The “Third Preliminary List” is sent in October for an actual vote: Committee members must chose 25 “Modern era” (retired in the last 25 years) semifinalists.
The “Final Preliminary List” is sent in November, and features the top 25 votegetters from the third list; Committee members must choose 15 nominees from this list. The Committee then meets in February to vote on the finalists: 15 “modern era” nominees from the final list, and two Senior Candidates, chosen by the Seniors Committee through a similar process (Seniors must have retired at least 25 years ago). Voting members receive autobiographies of each nominee, and each one is discussed. The Senior Selections are voted on first, and must receive at least 80 percent affirmative vote. The next vote narrows the list of 15 to 10, followed by a vote to reduce the list to five. These remaining nominees are voted on individually, and must receive at least 80 percent affirmative vote.
The 44-member Selection Committee includes one media representative for each current franchise, a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA), and 11 at-large members. While the PFWA representative is appointed for two years, other memberships are “open-ended,” and can only be terminated by retirement or resignation, as long as the member is in good standing.
sources: “Selection Process,” profootballhof.com
“Selection Process FAQs,” profootball hof.com