– A portion of this report was courtesy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame
The 15 Modern-Era Player Finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021 is comprised of six individuals who are finalists for the first time, including four first-year eligible players: defensive end Jared Allen, wide receiver Calvin Johnson, quarterback Peyton Manning and cornerback/safety Charles Woodson. Two others — cornerback/safety Ronde Barber and linebacker Clay Matthews Jr. — have been eligible for the Hall of Fame previously, but this year marks their first time as finalists.
The 15 Modern-Era Player Finalists will be considered for election to the Hall of Fame when the Hall’s Selection Committee meets virtually January 19, 2021. The full committee will elect up to five Modern-Era Players, who must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent for election. Three others — Tom Flores, Bill Nunn and Drew Pearson, the finalists in the Coach, Contributor and Senior categories, respectively — also are candidates for the Class of 2021. Voting on each will be held individually, in conjunction with the meeting to decide the Modern-Era Player Finalists.
The Modern-Era Player Finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall’s Selection Committee from a list of 130 nominees named in September that was reduced to 25 Semifinalists on Nov. 24.
The 2021 Modern-Era Player Finalists with their positions, years and teams:
Jared Allen, Defensive End – 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers
Ronde Barber, Cornerback/Safety – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Reggie Wayne, Wide Receiver – 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts
Charles Woodson, Cornerback/Safety – 1998-2005, 2013-15 Oakland Raiders, 2006-2012 Green Bay Packers
Barber’s selection comes off of a 16-year career in Tampa Bay where he played all 16 games in every season with the exception of 1997, his rookie year. In that time Barber racked up 47 interceptions, 28 sacks and 15 forced fumbles, becoming the only player in NFL history to accrue more than 25 sacks and more than 40 interceptions in a career. His 14 defensive touchdowns gives Barber the fourth-most non-offensive touchdowns in NFL history, trailing only Devin Hester, Deion Sanders and Ron Woodson, with Sanders and Woodson already in possession of the elusive gold jacket.
Barber was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All Pro.
While Lynch finished his career with the Denver Broncos, the safety spent the first 11 of his 14 years in the NFL with Tampa Bay. Over the span of his career, Lynch hauled in 26 interceptions, forced 16 fumbles and tacked on 13 sacks while eclipsing 1000 total tackles.
Lynch was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and a two-time All Pro.
Both Barber and Lynch helped the Buccaneers win their first and only Super Bowl in 2002 and both have been inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org