On Tuesday, the National Football League announced 27 semifinalists for the 2018 class of the Hall of Fame. Among those people hoping to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame are two former Philadelphia Eagles stars: safety Brian Dawkins and wide receiver Terrell Owens.
Dawkins is one of the more beloved Eagles in recent memory. This is his second year eligible for the Hall. He made the semifinal group last year as well, though fell short of the final quintet to be elected. Dawkins is a four-time first-team All-Pro and nine-time Pro Bowler. He played 16 years in the league, 13 of which came in Philadelphia. Dawkins developed a fearsome, ball hawk mentality that preceded him anytime an opponent came to town. As noted at Philly.com, Dawkins is the only defensive back in NFL history to have 25+ career sacks, interceptions, and forced fumbles. He was a one-of-a-kind force at the safety position who paved the way for the likes of Earl Thomas and Eric Berry of today.
Owens has a much more complicated history with the city of Philadelphia and the league at large, though that doesn’t mean he’s any less deserving of making the Hall of Fame. In fact, his personality and off-field antics from the breadth of his career have likely been the only things keeping him out to this point.
Owens made five first-team All-Pro teams, six Pro Bowls, and ranks top 10 all-time in receptions (eighth), receiving yards (second), receiving touchdowns (third), and total touchdowns (fifth). If not for rubbing people and media members the wrong way, Owens would already be in the Hall. This is his third straight year being a semifinalist.
HoF voters will meet later this winter to cut the list down from 27 to 15. The day before Super Bowl LII they will meet yet again to shape the ’18 class, which can contain up to five former players and coaches. First-year members on the list this season include corner Ronde Barber and receiver Randy Moss, two guys who compare very favorably to Dawkins and Owens respectively. It will be interesting to see if the Philly guys make it further in the process than their positional peers.