To celebrate a big birthday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is making one big change to the 2020 class. With the NFL turning 100, the Hall of Fame wants to let more people celebrate with a massive 20-person mega-class for its 2020 nominees. That marks a major turn, albeit for one year, as it will allow 20 people to enter the Hall of Fame as opposed to the typical four to eight inductees.
This may sound crazy, but the Hall of Fame is implementing major changes to the 2020 voting to make it happen.
What is the normal Pro Football Hall of Fame voting process?
The NFL’s nomination process is surprisingly open. According to the Hall of Fame’s website, anybody from fans to players can write in a player, coach, or valuable contributor to the game of football. That nomination gets reviewed by the Selection Committee, who is polled three times via mail until the list of semifinalists dwindles to 25. These votes occur in March, September, and October. Then, in November, the field gets cut down to 15 finalists.
From here, the selection goes to different committees. The Seniors and Contributors committees then adds one or two finalists to the final ballot, bringing its total to 18 finalists. From there, they are instructed to vote, not on what the player did outside of the football field, but what they did only in the game of football.
The final selection is made the day before the Super Bowl, and a player must receive at least 80-percent of the vote to make it in. If more than eight players get that many votes, the top vote-getters will get in.
What will Hall of Fame voting be like in 2020
The 2020 voting process is a one-year thing. While the nomination process will be largely the same, the field that they have to vote on will be much different. As people can see, the process can be an arduous one, so adding five-times the typical minimum adds some complications to even the most well-thought-out process.
To bypass that, the Football Hall of Fame will go through all the nominees, five Modern-Era players, ten senior players, three coaches, and two contributors, and put them through the selection process. From there, the coaches and contributors will be voted on in the same way that they always are, individually.
The selection committee will determine a 15-person mega-class for the NFL’s centennial, but they will not go one-by-one afterward. Instead, the mega-class will be voted as a whole. All 15 players will be subject to an all-or-nothing voting process. Things could go both ways for the class who is waiting for enshrinement.
Is it the right way to go?
Changing the voting is a convoluted way to try to get the Hall of Fame process streamlined. Voters will have to decide whether their love of one player is worth letting another that they don’t like in. Furthermore, if somebody is split, they could vote the whole class down. If the class is voted down as a whole, it will make it more complicated until the entire class gets the required 80-percent margin that gets people in.
On the other hand, it could be the final chance for some of the senior members to be voted in. A player who has been waiting for years could come in as with the whole group as they are pinned with somebody who everybody wants in. The vote could be the best chance for longshot players like Todd Christensen in.
The process is complicated and could backfire, but it is also hard to come up with an easy way to induct 20 people. The Hall of Fame will have to try to figure this before the ceremony occurs in September of 2020.