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When the Pro Football Hall of Fame last month announced changes to its senior vote, it said it planned to “mirror” the modern-era process and reveal results from beginning to end. The message gained little attention because it seemed like an insignificant move.

It’s not.

On the contrary, it could produce something that’s been missing from the vote for Hall-of-Fame worthy seniors, and that’s transparency.

So why is that important? Two years ago former Bengals’ cornerback Ken Riley, tied for fifth all-time with 65 interceptions, reportedly was the runner-up to senior finalist Drew Pearson. That should have made him a favorite one year later.

It didn’t. In fact, he wasn’t among the top finishers in 2022.

Don’t ask me why. I wasn’t involved in the process, and I know little of what was said. What I do know is that where Ken Riley had momentum one year, he didn’t the next. Others passed him, and, yes, I’d like to know who and why. So would Bengals’ fans.

That can happen now.

By “mirroring” the modern-era process, senior results will be known from start to finish. Maybe you don’t think that’s a big deal, but I do. Because I believe in respecting the queue, which means Hall-of-Fame qualified candidates shouldn’t jump the line unless they have compelling cases. Other selectors follow that mantra, too, returning leading finishers one year to the top of the board the next.

Look at the Class of 2022: Three of the top-10 finalists in 2021 were elected one year later (Tony Boselli, Richard Seymour and LeRoy Butler), and that’s consistent with history. In seven of the past nine years, at least two top-10 finalists from one year were inducted the next.

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I can’t tell you if that happens with the senior process. All we know from those closed-door sessions is who emerges as the finalist. We don’t know who was second or third.

That’s about to change, and it could – no, should – yield more consistency to the process.

Let’s face it, it needed tweaking, and new president Jim Porter came to the rescue. First, he pushed for three senior finalists instead of one in each of the next three votes. Then he pushed to expand the senior sub-committee from nine voters to 12. On top of that, all 12 are required to be involved in choosing the three finalists each year.

Previously, a rotating group of five was involved.

Now comes the last piece of the puzzle: Results of each vote will be public, just as they are with modern-era candidates – and that’s as important for selectors as it is for fans. With each member of the sub-committee involved annually in the choice of finalists, consistency in voting is not only possible; it’s likely.

As proof, let’s go the modern-era template that the senior process will “mirror” and look at safety John Lynch. He was a Hall-of-Fame finalist eight consecutive years and top 10-finalist four times before his induction to the Class of 2021.

But that's the point: He crossed the finish line. Voters never forgot him. He was always in the mix, never falling far down the leader board.

That can happen now with seniors. If someone like Ken Riley makes a stretch run, everyone will know. Voters. Candidates. Fans. Everyone will remember, too. That doesn’t guarantee election for the following year, but it should enhance a candidate’s chances.

With transparency comes a more complete and understandable picture, and that’s a welcome addition to a process cloaked too long in mystery.