There are only five modern-era slots for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018 and there’s a good chance an offensive linemen will claim one of them – especially after 2017 when blockers were shut out entirely.
In the last 12 Hall of Fame classes, offensive linemen have been inducted in 10 of them. The last time two blockers were inducted in the same year was 2013 when tackle Jonathan Ogden and guard Larry Allen both received busts. But that was when the classes included six modern-era candidates. Since 2015, the field for modern-era candidates was whittled to five.
There are five offensive linemen among the 25 semifinalists for the Class of 2018, forming a stout field of blockers. All five were named to NFL all-decade teams and all three positions are represented. That’s the subject of this week’s Talk of Fame Network poll – if there’s one offensive linemen in the Class of 2018, who should it be? Here are your candidates:
Tony Boselli, tackle. First-team NFL all-decade for the 1990s. A first-round pick by Jacksonville in 1995, Boselli started 90 games over seven seasons before knee injuries prematurely ended his career. But in those seven seasons he went to five Pro Bowls and was a three-time first-team all-pro. The Jaguars reached the AFC title game in 1999 with Boselli.
Alan Faneca, guard. First-team NFL all-decade for the 2000s. A first-round pick by Pittsburgh in 1998, Faneca went on to start 201 games over 13 seasons with two teams – the Steelers and Cardinals, although all but his final season was spent in Pittsburgh. He went to nine Pro Bowls and was a six-time first-team all-pro. He also has two Super Bowl rings with the Steelers.
Steve Hutchinson, guard. First-team NFL all-decade for the 2000s. A first-round pick by Seattle in 2001, Hutchinson went on to start 169 games over 12 seasons with three teams – the Seahawks, Vikings and Titans. He went to seven Pro Bowls and was a five-time first-team all-pro. He also won a national championship in college as an All-America at Michigan.
Joe Jacoby, tackle. Second-team NFL all-decade for the 1980s. An undrafted free agent in 1981, Jacoby went on to start 148 games over 13 seasons, all with the Redskins. He was the starting left tackle on two Super Bowl championship teams and the starting right tackle on a third champion. This is his final year of eligibility as a modern-era candidate.
Kevin Mawae, center. First-team NFL all-decade for the 2000s. A second-round draft pick by Seattle in 1994, Mawae went on to start 238 games over 16 seasons with three teams – the Seahawks, Jets and Titans. He went to eight Pro Bowls and was a three-time first-team all-pro. He blocked for 13 1,000-yard rushing seasons by five different backs.