The selection process for the NFL Hall of Game begins with a 44 person Board of Selectors that votes on the candidates. The board is largely made up of sportswriters who are members of the Board for life and only can be removed from the Board by death, retirement, or resignation.
The Board consists of one media representative from each pro football city with two from New York. A 33rd member is a representative of the Pro Football Writers of America and there are 11 at-large delegates. Bob Gretz is the Kansas City Chiefs representative.
The board will vote by mail three times before they narrow the list of HOF candidates down to 15 in November. The Senior Committee then adds two candidates who finished their careers 25 or more years prior, making 17 total HOF candidates each year.
The Board meets before the Super Bowl to elect at least four and no more than seven candidates to the HOF. A candidate must get 80% of the vote (35 votes) to become a finalist.
So, what are Derrick Thomas' chances of getting into the Hall of Fame this year?
Since 2005, his first year of eligibility, Derrick Thomas was a HOF finalist and has been every year since then. This is familiar territory for Chiefs' fans to be in.
Let's take a look at the other finalists to determine DT's chances. Remember, at least four and no more than seven players will be inducted in this year's class.
Bruce Smith (1st year eligible)
Rod Woodson (1st year eligible)
Shannon Sharpe (1st year eligible)
John Randle (1st year eligible)
Dermontti Dawson (1st time finalist)
Cortez Kennedy (1st time finalist)
Claude Humphrey (Senior Committee Selection)
Bob Hayes (Senior Committee Selection)
Paul Tagliabue (Contributor)
Ralph Wilson (Contributor)
Right off the bat, I'm going to say that Bruce Smith and Shannon Sharpe make it in the Hall of Fame in their first year. Smith has the all time sack record (200) and Sharpe is near or at the top of many tight end statistical categories. Don't forget about those three Super Bowl wins too.
Also, I'm going to say that former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue gets in too. Rod Woodson is a Hall of Famer but I'm not sure about a first time inductee.
Relative to recent inductees, I think this year's class is not as strong as others that Thomas has been in. That means I think that this year may be the year that Derrick Thomas makes it into the Hall of Fame.
Class of 2005
Class of 2006
Class of 2007
Class of 2008
I wouldn't be surprised if this year only four candidates were elected. The class has Hall of Famers in it for sure. Just not right at this moment. Cris Carter is a possibility, especially after looking at the current receivers in the Hall of Fame. Carter's stats and accomplishments match up with many of those guys.
Lots of room for arguments in this one. In the poll below, make sure you vote on whether or not you think DT will make it this year. Don't vote on if you think he should be in.