Coach Dick Vermeil, tackle Tony Boselli and DE Richard Seymour lead Hall of Fame Class of 2022

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2022 is unique and uncharacteristic.

For the first time since 2012, a finalist in his first year of eligibility went undrafted, four of the five new modern-era Immortals played defense, and four of the five were eligible for at least 10 years.

Tackle Tony Boselli, safety LeReoy Butler, linebacker Sam Mills, defensive tackle/end Richard Seymour and defensive tackle Bryant Young are the new immortals of the modern era. Senior receiver Cliff Branch, former NFL officiating director Art McNally (contributor finalist) and Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil make up the Class 2022.

The select group will be enthroned at the Canton, Ohio campus in early August.

The list of notable candidates in their first year of eligibility who will have to wait at least another year includes linebacker DeMarcus Ware, wide receiver Andre Johnson and kick returner Devin Hester.

Of the five modern-era draft picks, Boselli (16-year eligibility) is the only offensive player; Mills (20 years of eligibility), Butler (16 years) and Young (10 years) all waited at least a decade to get their golden coat.

Mills, a five-time Pro Bowl selection with the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers, in addition to being one of the best players in the defunct USFL, was in his final year of eligibility as a modern-era candidate. Boselli, a five-time Pro Bowl selection with the Jacksonville Jaguars whose career was cut short by a shoulder injury, had been a finalist six times.

This year’s class was elected on January 18 during a virtual meeting.

Butler, who is credited with creating the “Lambeau Leap” celebration, was the only All-Defensive starter of the 1990s who hadn’t been selected to the Hall of Fame. Boselli had also been part of that team.

Seymour was a member of the first three New England Patriots teams to win the Super Bowl and joins cornerback Ty Law (Class of 2019) as the first two defensive backs from those Patriots to come to Canton.

McNally is considered the father of modern arbitration. His use of video to evaluate, score and teach officials was copied throughout professional sports leagues and he was the leading proponent of the use of replay to review plays during games.

Branch, who played his entire career for the Las Vegas Raiders, participated in all three Super Bowls won by the black and silver. Considered one of the fastest players in NFL history, he averaged more than 17 receiving yards in six seasons and led the league in receiving touchdowns twice.

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