Marshall Faulk and Deion Sanders Lead 7-Man 2011 Hall of Fame Class

5 Feb

From L to R: Marshall Faulk, Shannon Sharpe and Deion Sanders

The NFL moved its Hall of Fame induction announcement to prime time this year. Coincidence?

Yes, but also fitting, given the next wave of greatness on their way to immortality.

Cornerback Deion Sanders, who made the moniker “Prime Time” his own, and NFL Films creator Ed Sabol, whose historic and famous footage changed the way the game was watched, led a seven-member Class of 2011, announced live Saturday night on the NFL Network.

Sanders and Sabol were joined by defensive end Richard Dent, running back Marshall Faulk, tight end Shannon Sharpe and a pair of veterans committee inductees in linebackers Chris Hanburger from the 1960s-70s and Les Richter from the ’50s.

The trio of Sanders and Faulk made it in in their first year of eligibility. Sabol, now 95, also was up for induction for the first time after a small faction of voters lobbied for him to be considered for the impact his creation, NFL Films, had on the game.

The new class will officially be enshrined at the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio in August.

“If you are going to have letters behind your name, I wasn’t going to have M.D. or PhD. HOF is pretty good.”
– Shannon Sharpe

The Hall’s voters needed 7 1/2 hours to reach the final count of seven. The day began with 15 finalists on the 44-member committee’s ballot.

Running back Jerome Bettis, in his first year of eligibility, along with wide receivers Tim Brown and Cris Carter, and defensive ends Charles Haley and Chris Doleman were eliminated after the first vote. The second vote eliminated center Dermonti Dawson, defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, wide receiver Andre Reed and offensive tackle Willie Roaf.
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