How the selection process works
The 46-member selection committee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame consists of one media representative from each NFL city, with two from New York, the Pro Football Writers of America president and 13 at-large delegates.
There is a seniors committee that consists of five voters. They identify players who have exhausted their 15-year period of eligibility and were not elected but might still be considered worthy of induction.
The list of about 125 nominees — players and coaches must be out of football for five years to be eligible — is released in September, then cut to 25 semifinalists in November. Today's 15 finalists were revealed in January.
On the Saturday before the Super Bowl, the 46 selectors meet and the NFL city representative serves as the presenter for that team's nominated person. Tampa Bay's Warren Sapp will be presented by Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune.
After a group discussion, there is a vote, with the top 10 moving to the second round. Then there is a second vote on just that list, with the top five moving on to final consideration.
Then there is a third vote, but this time just yes or no on whether the finalist deserves to be inducted. A finalist must receive 80 percent (37 yes votes) approval for entry.
The accounting firm Deloitte & Touche tabulates the votes and presents a sealed envelope with the names of the enshrinees to the Hall of Fame president at a news conference immediately after the selection meeting.
Rick Stroud, Times staff writer