We asked 57 analysts — reporters, editors and former players — which five modern-era finalists they would vote for as the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020.
Here are the top six vote-getters (we had a tie at No. 5), led by a first-time-eligible player. The class will be chosen by the Hall of Fame selection committee on Saturday in Miami and will be formally announced during the NFL Honors award show.
Point system explained: First-place votes are worth five points, second-place votes worth four, third-place votes worth three and so on. Full results are at the bottom.
1. Troy Polamalu: 227 points
Safety: Pittsburgh Steelers, 2003-14
Résumé highlights: Two-time Super Bowl champion (XL, XLIII); four-time first-team All-Pro; last defensive back to win Defensive Player of the Year award (2010).
Key stat: 32. Polamalu had 32 career interceptions, and also forced 14 fumbles, recovering seven.
They said it: “His actions as a human being were just as impressive as any of the many inhuman plays he made on the football field.” — Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert
2. Steve Hutchinson: 82 points
Guard: Seattle Seahawks 2001-05; Minnesota Vikings 2006-11; Tennessee Titans 2012
Résumé highlights: Seven-time Pro Bowl selection; named to the league’s All-Decade team of the 2000s.
Key stat: 44. Hutchinson once went 44 consecutive games without a called penalty on him having been accepted, and he blocked for two NFL rushing leaders with different teams — Shaun Alexander and Adrian Peterson.
They said it: “Just as Walter Jones was the best tackle I ever saw, Steve Hutchinson was the best guard.” — Former Packers and Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren
3. Tony Boselli: 81 points
Offensive tackle: Jacksonville Jaguars, 1995-2001
Résumé highlights: Selected to five Pro Bowls; three-time All-Pro.
Key stat: 15.5. Although Boselli’s career was limited to 91 games because of shoulder injuries, he allowed just 15.5 sacks and had only 11 accepted holding penalties against him in his seven seasons.
They said it: “At the height of his game, he was as good as any left tackle in the National Football League.” — Former Panthers and Texans coach Dom Capers, in 2003
4. Alan Faneca: 69 points
Guard: Pittsburgh Steelers 1998-2007; New York Jets 2008-09; Arizona Cardinals 2010
Résumé highlights: Super Bowl champion (XL); nine-time Pro Bowl selection, six-time first-team All-Pro.
Key stat: 12. Faneca is one of just 12 guards in league history to be first-team All-Pro six or more times — the other 11 are already enshrined in Canton. His teams were among the league’s top five in rushing six times in his 13 seasons.
They said it: “It started with him. He was the guy up front.” — Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher
5 (tie). Isaac Bruce: 66 points
Wide receiver: Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1994-2007; San Francisco 49ers, 2008-09
Résumé highlights: Super Bowl XXXIV champion; first player in NFL history with three consecutive games of at least 170 yards receiving; three career 200-yard receiving games.
Key stat: 15,208. When Bruce retired, he was second all time with 15,208 receiving yards, as he and Jerry Rice were the only players to have topped 15,000 yards.
They said it: “The best route runner that probably ever played football as a wide receiver.” — Jim Haslett, former Saints and Rams coach
5 (tie). Steve Atwater: 66 points
Safety: Denver Broncos, 1989-98; New York Jets 1999
Résumé highlights: Two-time Super Bowl champion (XXXII, XXXIII); eight-time Pro Bowl selection; two-time first-team All-Pro.
Key stat: 24. Atwater is one of just 24 players to have been named to at least eight Pro Bowls and start three Super Bowls. Twenty of those players are in the Hall of Fame; the other four are Atwater, Polamalu, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
They said it: “Tough, smart, reliable, great teammate, great player, great in big moments, a Hall of Famer in every way. [Atwater] could do it all. He would be there to knock you on your ass because he knew the play you were running and then ask nicely if you were OK.” — Broncos Ring of Fame wide receiver Rod Smith