Hall-of-Fame's plan: Expand Centennial Class to 20 inductees for 2020

Clark Judge

In conjunction with the celebration of the NFL’s 100th anniversary, the Pro Football Hall of Fame tentatively has agreed to an expanded Centennial Class of 20 inductees for 2020.

According to the Hall’s CEO and President David Baker, the plan is to enshrine five modern-era candidates … per normal … but then to include 10 seniors, three contributors and two coaches.

The proposal is subject to approval of the Hall’s board of directors when it meets Aug. 2.

“There’s a lot of guys through the years (who have slipped through the cracks),” Baker said on Sirius XM NFL Radio. “We have several guys who are on all-decade teams who aren’t in the Hall of Fame, so this is an opportunity with the Centennial coming up.

“What we’ve looked at potentially … and (that) has been approved, at least in concept by our operating board … is that potentially we would have 20 Hall of Famers enshrined for the year 2020.”

Several figures had been rumored, with one a separate class of 17 seniors, contributors and coaches to mirror the Hall’s charter class in 1963. But there is no way that figure … nor the one mentioned by Baker … could cover the number of deserving seniors who, as Baker said, slipped through the cracks.

According to our Rick Gosselin, there are currently 65 all-decade players in the senior pool missing from Canton, including seven named to the first team. Worse, of that group, only one -- former Dallas safety Cliff Harris – has been a finalist … and that happened just once (2004).

Oddly, he made the cut from 15 to 10 – normally the launching pad for future years -- but never returned as a finalist.

How and when candidates will be chosen and honored has not been decided, but, presumably, Harris and the other first-team all-decade choices would be first in line. And with two coaches eligible, you have to figure that Don Coryell won’t be far behind.

Coryell is a five-time finalist, including four of the past five years.

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