Quarterback Jim Kelly, coach Bill Parcells and team owner Art Modell are among 15 nominees who have been named as finalists for induction into the National Football League's Hall of Fame.
Other finalists named in Canton, Ohio, Thursday include the late coach George Allen, linebacker Harry Carson, tight end Dave Casper, defensive end LC Greenwood and punter Ray Guy. Also, defensive lineman Dan Hampton, defensive backs Lester Hayes and Donnie Shell, offensive lineman Bob Kuechenberg, and wide receivers Art Monk, James Lofton and John Stallworth.
Kelly is the only candidate in his first year of eligibility. He passed for more than 3,000 yards in eight different seasons during his career with the Buffalo Bills between 1986 and 1996. Kelly led the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls, but lost each time.
Parcells turned around the fortunes of the New York Giants, New England Patriots and New York Jets, he coached the Giants to Super Bowl victories in 1987 and 1991, and he led the Patriots to the 1996 Super Bowl. He was twice selected the NFL's coach of the year.
NFL rules require that a coach be retired in order to be inducted, and Parcells could become ineligible if he replaces the fired Tony Dungy as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. When he left the New York Jets after the 1999 season, Parcells vowed he was done coaching, but all indications are that he plans to return to the NFL.
The Hall of Fame's board of selectors will vote on the nominees and announce the winners on February 2, one day before Super Bowl 36.