The Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Process

By Victoria Barnett


Fall is one of the best times of year, for many reasons! One of those reasons is that the process of selecting the new Pro Football Hall of Fame class begins. What an exciting few months! Deciding who will be enshrined into the Hall of Fame is no easy task. In fact, there are a lot of steps involved in the decision-making process.

Our goal is to simplify this process as much as we can, so that you can understand how it all works. Below, we’ve laid out the basics of the process in the easiest way we could. Take a look!

The Selection Committee

  • The new class is selected by a 48-person Selection Committee
  • The Committee consists of one media representative from each pro football city (with two from New York), 16 at-large selectors, and two members of the Hall of Fame
  • Meets annually on “Selection Saturday,” the day before the Super Bowl, to elect new members to the Hall of Fame
  • There is a separate committee for Seniors and Contributors. The Seniors Committee and the Contributors Committee each consist of nine veteran members of the overall Selection Committee

About the New Class

  • No set number of new enshrinees, but there must be between four and eight new members selected each year
  • Every candidate must receive at least 80 percent approval of the Committee
  • A player or coach must have been retired at least five years before he can be considered
  • There is no mandatory retirement period for a contributor
  • A senior candidate must have a career completed at least 25 years

The Process

  • Any fan may nominate any player, coach or contributor
  • The Selection Committee is polled three times
  • The Initial Preliminary List is sent to the committee by March 1. It includes first-time eligible candidates, eligible candidates nominated by any person, and Modern-Era nominees from the previous year’s final preliminary list who received at least four votes
  • The Second Preliminary List is sent during July and includes all nominees on the initial list and additional nominations received since the first list
  • The Third Preliminary List is sent during September to select Modern-Era Semifinalists. The Committee is asked to vote for 25 to become Semifinalists.
  • The Final Preliminary List of 25 Modern-Era nominees is distributed to the Selection Committee during November to select 15 Modern-Era nominees
  • The 16th, 17th and 18th finalists are the Senior and Contributor candidates

Selection Saturday

  • Each finalist is discussed by the committee and then reduction votes are taken
  • First, the Senior and Contributor candidates are discussed and voted on. They must receive the same 80% affirmative vote as the Modern-Era candidates
  • Next, the Committee reduces the Modern-Era finalists list from 15 to 10 and then from 10 to 5
  • The five remaining candidates are then voted on individually (yes or no) for membership

 Learn more about the Selection Process and the Enshrinement Week here

Celebrate the Class of 2018 in Canton!

Before we know it, August will roll back around and the Class of 2018 will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame during an exciting weekend in Canton, Ohio. You can be there to celebrate the new class at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls. Get access to a Class of 2018 autograph session, VIP parties and other Hall of Fame sanctioned events.

Get My 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame Ticket Package