Looking Ahead to Charles Woodson and the Hall of Fame

Jairo Alvarado

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony on Aug. 8 has been postponed until 2021.

A ceremony which was going to headline 20 inductees, five from the modern-era including Troy Polamalu and 15 others who would represent the centennial slate, which includes coaches, senior players and contributors.

As first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the postponement will allow both the 2020 and 2021 HOF classes to be inducted together. As a result, the 2020 class will be inducted one day and a few days later induct the 2021 HOF class.

"The health and safety of our Hall of Famers, fans and volunteers who make Enshrinement Week so special remains our top priority," Pro Football Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker said in a statement. "The Hall will honor the Centennial Class of 2020 next August, along with what promises to be an equally spectacular Class of 2021, as part of a multi-day celebration of football with an atmosphere that will deliver for fans 'Twice the Fun in '21.'"

As we look ahead at potential first-ballot inductees, a no-brainer comes to light. Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson.

Woodson, from the University of Michigan, was selected fourth overall of the 1998 NFL Draft. While in Michigan, Woodson would become the first and only primarily defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy, beating out favorite Peyton Manning, quarterback for the University of Tennessee, in 1997.

Woodson would have an excellent 18-year-career, playing 254 games with the Raiders and Green Bay Packers.

Woodson would serve his earlier years with the Raiders from 1998 through 2005. He would join the Green Bay Packers for seven years between 2006 through 2012 and later returned to the Raiders in 2013.

After spending three more seasons with the Raiders, Woodson would retire following the 2015 season.

In 1998, during his rookie year, Woodson would be awarded the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year Award.

To his success, Woodson would add nine Pro-Bowls, selected to three First-Team All-Pro teams, earned the 2009 AP Defensive Player of the Year Award, and was selected to the 2000s All-Decade Team.

He would cap it off with his only Super Bowl victory in 2011 as a member of the Green Bay Packers.

In Green Bay, Woodson led the NFL in interceptions in 2009 and 2011.

As a member of the Raiders, his 27 picks rank him No. 8 in team history. 

Woodson finished his career with 65 interceptions, which ranks fifth on the NFL's all-time list. Woodson also had 11 interceptions returned for touchdowns, which ranks second on the all-time list.

Woodson would tally 28 forced fumbles, two of which he returned for touchdowns, and record 20 career sacks.

He is the first player in NFL history to record 60 interceptions and 20 sacks.

According to Pro Football DB Hall of Fame Monitor, (a metric designed to estimate a player's chances of making the Pro Football Hall of Fame), Woodson scores 125.03, ranked the seventh-best score of all defensive backs who played professionally and highest among all eligible players not in the HOF.

Woodson’s resume looks nearly perfect, as he has crossed off all the boxes as a potential first-ballot Hall of Famer. His call into the HOF will come soon, and we will just have to wait until next year, when he becomes eligible.

Other candidates for the first ballot class of 2021 include quarterback Peyton Manning, defensive end Jared Allen, running back Steven Jackson, wide receiver Calvin Johnson, quarterback Michael Vick and former Raiders defensive end Justin Tuck.

Another list to pay attention to are the 2020 finalists of who did not make the cut this year. They include Raiders coach Tom Flores, wide receiver Cliff Branch and defensive end Richard Seymour.

Other notables include tackle Tony Boselli, safety John Lynch and wide receivers Reggie Wayne and Torry Holt.

As the HOF selection returns back to normal, we can expect a fewer number of inductees in next year’s HOF ceremony.

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