The Pro Football Hall of Fame started with 103 candidates for the Class of 2019 and that list has officially been trimmed down to 25 semifinalists.
The Hall of Fame announced the list of semifinalists on Tuesday and it’s loaded with players who are eligible for the first time, including cornerback Champ Bailey, tight end Tony Gonzalez and safety Ed Reed.
The list also includes two other first-time semifinalists who have previously been nominated, but had not survived the initial cut in former NFL coach Tom Flores and former Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Steve Atwater and John Lynch will be hoping to get in after years of coming close. Atwater has been a semifinalist eight times, while Lynch has been named a semifinalist seven times. Of course, no one on the list has been kept out longer than offensive mastermind Don Coryell, who was named a semifinalist for the 11th time.
The announcement of the HOF semifinalists is the second step in the process to select the next inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. On Jan. 3, the Hall of Fame selection committee will be asked to trim the semifinalists list down to 15 finalists. There will also be two contributor finalists (Pat Bowlen and Gil Brandt), along with one finalist from the seniors committee (Johnny Robinson), which will bring the total number of finalists to 18.
From that total, voting rules from the Hall of Fame stipulate that at least four people get inducted each year, with a maximum of eight.
To be inducted, a finalist needs to receive at least 80 percent support from the 48-person selection committee. The 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame class will be announced during a CBS television special that will air Feb. 2 from Atlanta, one day before Super Bowl LIII.
Here’s the complete list of semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019