On Thursday night, the finalists possible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame were announced. And three of those finalists were former Rams players: linebacker Kevin Greene, quarterback Kurt Warner, and offensive tackle Orlando Pace. Wide receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt did not make the cut.
The entire list of finalists are as follows: Greene, Pace, Warner, quarterback Brett Favre, wide receiver Terrell Owens, guard Alan Faneca, wide receiver Marvin Harrison, coach Tony Dungy, kicker Morten Andersen, safety Steve Atwater, coach Don Coryell, running back Terrell Davis, tackle Joe Jacoby, running back Edgerrin James and safety John Lynch.
Out of the fifteen modern-era finalists, only up to five can be selected for enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It is assumed Favre, considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, will be inducted this year. Andersen, who played 25 seasons and is the NFL’s all-time leading scorer, also has a strong shot to be inducted.
While Dungy is one of the coaches that is one the finalist ballot for induction, one that many believe is overdue for induction is coach Coryell. The late coach has strong ties to St. Louis, being the “Cardiac Cardinals” mastermind from 1973-1977, becoming an innovator for the football passing game, with the term “Air Coryell” being designated in his honor, and many former players and coaches have lobbied for his induction to take place.
Greene was drafted in 1985, and would eventually play 15 seasons in the National Football League. Of those 15 seasons, eight of them were with the Rams. He finished his long career with 160 total sacks, which is ranked in the top five in NFL history, and the most ever by a linebacker.
Pace was the key protector of Warner during the years of “The Greatest Show on Turf”, and was a first round selection in 1997. He won a Super Bowl ring with the Rams during the 1999 season, and was a durable NFL top offensive lineman for 12 seasons.
And as for Warner… it’s well documented what his accolades are, and his story, which has become one of the greatest Cinderella stories in sports history. From stocking shelves to leading a struggling franchise to the Super Bowl, Warner led not only the Rams to their only Super Bowl victory, but came close in bringing the Arizona Cardinals their first as well. He finished with 32,344 passing yards, a 208-128 TD:INT ratio, a career 93.7 passer rating, four pro bowls, and three NFL MVP awards.
On February 6th, the day before Super Bowl 50, the finalists will be announced.