For those that overcome the odds and make it to the NFL, there’s typically two goals: win a Super Bowl and make the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Although it’s rare to get both, especially in Atlanta, it’s a dream worth chasing.
On Wednesday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame revealed a list of 122 modern-era nominees for the class of 2022. Of those names, a good number of former Atlanta Falcons players have been nominated and are now one step closer to joining the prestigious club of football immortality.
BREAKING: The Modern-Era nominees for the Class of 2022 have been unveiled. The list is comprised of 122 players. Among the group are 10 first-year eligible players.— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) September 22, 2021
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Of the 122 names listed, there are a few notable former Falcons who made the list:
- RB Steven Jackson
- RB Eric Metcalf
- WR Devin Hester
- WR Joe Horn
- WR Andre Rison
- OT Jake Long
- DE John Abraham
- LB Cornelius Bennett
- DB Allen Rossum
- DB Asante Samuel
Of those listed, only a handful of them actually had their best years with the Falcons, such as John Abraham, Allen Rossum and Andre Rison. Overall, the Falcons’ franchise doesn’t get a lot of love from the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as there are several former players who have waited far too long to get in, such as: Tommy Nobis, Mike Kenn, Jessie Tuggle, Jeff Van Note, etc. If they had the same playing career with a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers or Dallas Cowboys, they would have been enshrined a long time ago. But for now, all we can do is hope that someday they receive the respect they deserve.
Abraham would seem to have the best shot. On the NFL’s official list of sacks, he’s 13th all-time, clocking in at 18th all-time if you include unofficial names like Claude Humphrey. One of the more feared pass rushers of his era, Abe was an all-time Falcons great, and it would be awesome to see him make it. Rossum was noteworthy for his stellar work at special teams and Rison has a great peak in Atlanta as one of the league’s better receivers, too.
18 finalists will be presented to the full 49-member Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee during its annual meeting. The finalists will consist of 15 modern-era finalists and the recently named senior finalist, Cliff Branch; contributor finalist, Art McNally; and coach finalist, Dick Vermeil.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022 will be enshrined in August 2022.