Packers’ Sterling Sharpe, Mike Holmgren and Cecil Isbell named Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists

Wednesday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced its finalists for the senior and coach/contributor categories. Their list of 24 names was reduced from the 54 who were originally named semi-finalists. The Green Bay Packers who have qualified for the next round of reviews are former receiver Sterling Sharpe, former running back Cecil Isbell and former head coach Mike Holmgren.

The senior roster was reduced from 25 to 12, with former Packers Mark Clayton and LaVern Dilweg not selected. Dilweg is a notable name missing from the list of senior finalists as Professional Football Researchers of America officially supports the induction of Dilweg and Al Wistert, who also did not make the 12 finalists, into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Along with Sharpe and Isbell, Ken Anderson, Maxie Baughan, Randy Gardishar, Chuck Howley, Joe Klecko, Bob Kuechenberg, Eddie Meador, Tommy Nobis, Ken Riley and Everson Walls also progressed through the senior category. Five-time Pro Bowler Sharpe and four-time Pro Bowler Isbell are the lone forward receiver and running back, respectively.

On August 16, the committee will decide which three senior nominees will present to the selection committee in early 2023 for the Hall of Fame class of 2023. For the next three classes, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will expand its senior inductions by one inductee potential to three potential inductees. If a player advances to the three-candidate stage, there’s a good chance the committee will push him, as the Hall of Fame wants to eliminate its block of senior candidates.

The list of coaches and contributors has been reduced from 29 semi-finalists to just 12 finalists. Two former Packers, Jack Vainisi (scout, business executive) and Lee Remmel (sportswriter, public relations director and historian), couldn’t move forward with Holmgren. The other finalists are Roone Arledge, Don Coryell, Frank Kilroy, Robert Frank, Art Modell, Buddy Parker, Dan Reeves, Art Rooney Jr., Mike Shanahan, Clark Shaughnessy and John Wooten.

A week after the committee decides which three senior candidates to vote yes or no for in 2023, the committee will meet on the list of coaches and contributors on August 23. Unlike the senior roster, however, only one coach/contributor finalist will move on to a yes or no vote next winter.

For three consecutive Hall of Fame classes, a head coach has been inducted with Dick Vermeil (2022), Tom Flores (2021), Bill Cowher (2020) and Jimmy Johnson (2020) being recently enshrined in Canton, Ohio. That being said, 14 contributors have been inducted in the period (2009-2022) where the last six head coaches have been enshrined. Among the 14 contributors are four owners, four general managers, two members of NFL Films, two scouts, an official and a commissioner.

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