A new group of men — a group of mostly young men — will soon be joining the NFL’s most prestigious club.
The NFL unveiled the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018 at the NFL Honors show, which included a couple of locks and not one, but two pairs of position players making it in.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018 includes middle linebacker Ray Lewis, middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, receiver Randy Moss, receiver Terrell Owens, safety Brian Dawkins, along with personnel executive Bobby Beathard and senior committee nominees Robert Brazile and Jerry Kramer.
Three players made it in their first year of eligibility, which included Lewis, Urlacher, and Moss. The group includes two linebackers and two receivers, which sparked earlier talk of one or the other getting in. But the committee did what they should’ve done: they picked based on the best player and not the number of players at the position.
If there was one player that was a lock to make it in this year, it was first-year eligible Ray Lewis, who dominated the position of linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens. Lewis is one of the best linebackers to play the game and is among the greats he grew up aspiring to be, like Bears linebackers Mike Singletary and Dick Butkus. Lewis’ resume includes 13 Pro Bowls, two Defensive Player of the Year awards, a Super Bowl win, and Super Bowl MVP.
The knock that changes everything. pic.twitter.com/68FVPDpnZ2
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) February 4, 2018
There’s no doubt that Brian Urlacher should’ve been a first-ballot hall of famer. Never mind the fact that he was eligible in the same year as Lewis. This is about who the best players are, and when Urlacher was playing middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears, he was one of the best in the league — and one of the best middle linebackers of all time, which includes Bears Hall of Famers Dick Butkus and Mike Singletary. Urlacher was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection, 2005 Defensive Player of the Year, and an NFC Championship in 2006.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) February 4, 2018
It was a foregone conclusion that Randy Moss would be a first ballot hall of famer. Moss, who played for five teams in his career including the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots, is second all time in touchdown receptions (156) and had eight 1,200-yard seasons. While Moss isn’t the best receiver of all time (that honor belongs to Jerry Rice), there’s no denying that Moss was electric to watch and productive in both the early and late years of his career.
Grab a tissue.
— ESPN (@espn) February 4, 2018
Some believe Terrell Owens should’ve been a first ballot hall of famer. But for the two years that he was eligible before this year, Owens never made the cut. That’s the downside of only five spots for modern era players. Owens was electric in his time with the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, and Dallas Cowboys. He ranks second in receiving yards (15,935), eighth in receptions (1,078), and touchdown receptions (153).
Brian Dawkins was a force in his 16 NFL seasons, which included 13 with the Philadelphia Eagles, who will play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. Dawkins was a nine-time Pro Bowler that finished his career with 35 interceptions and 20 sacks.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) February 4, 2018
The Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony will be on Aug. 4 in Canton, Ohio.