Predicting the 2017 Hall of Fame class
Tim Shaffer / Reuters

It's the eve of the Super Bowl, which also means between four and eight people will receive a phone call today confirming they'll be an inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame Selection Committee is meeting in Houston to evaluate the cases of 18 finalists. Candidates must reach 80 percent approval from the 48-member committee in order to be inducted.

Former Seattle Seahawk Kenny Easley represents the lone senior finalist, and former commissioner Paul Tagliabue and current Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones are the two finalists in the contributors category. Should they each receive inductions, that would leave five slots for the modern-day candidates.

Here's a prediction of who will be fitted for a gold jacket in 2017:


LaDainian Tomlinson, Terrell Owens, Kurt Warner

This is a rare occasion in which multiple NFL MVPs are up for induction. Tomlinson, the 2006 MVP, is a lock to get the call in his first year of eligibility. The former San Diego Chargers running back still owns the NFL record for most rushing touchdowns in a single season: 28 scores in '06. No rusher has come close to that mark in the 10-plus seasons since.

Warner, a two-time MVP, was blocked by all-time great Brett Favre last year, but he's the only finalist at the quarterback position this year. Warner was named the league's best player in 1999 and 2001, played in three Super Bowls, and owns some of the most coveted passing records in NFL history. He also participated in some of the most thrilling playoff games, and owns a made-for-TV back story.

Owens trails only the man considered the greatest receiver of all time - his former teammate, Jerry Rice - in career receiving yards. His constant brushes with teammates, jersey swapping (he played for five teams), and several controversies kept him out of Canton in his first year of eligibility, but the resulting backlash from the NFL community should lead enough committee members to change their minds about Owens in 2017.

This is their year

John Lynch, Morten Andersen

Of the 15 modern-era finalists, Lynch and Andersen have reached this point the most times. It's the fourth year they've been picked as finalists (it's the fourth year for Tagliabue and former coach Don Coryell, as well). Should they both be inducted, it would avoid a potential backlog at both positions.

A number of Hall of Fame-worthy safeties, including Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed, will soon be up for induction, joining Brian Dawkins, Rodney Harrison, Troy Vincent, and Darren Woodson in the lineup. Andersen and Gary Anderson should also get their due before Adam Vinatieri wraps up his standout career and gets the call, likely in his first opportunity.

Lynch was the hard-hitting quarterback of the feared Buccaneers defenses of the early 2000s and a central cog in the franchise's first championship team. He may not have a higher profile than he does right now, as the new general manager of the San Francisco 49ers.

Andersen is the league's all-time leading scorer and is generally regarded as the best kicker to have played the game.

Other candidates: Tony Boselli, Isaac Bruce, Don Coryell, Terrell Davis, Brian Dawkins, Alan Faneca, Joe Jacoby, Ty Law, Kevin Mawae, Jason Taylor

Predicting the 2017 Hall of Fame class
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