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QB greats top list of Hall of Fame nominees

+ Complete list of Hall nominees, 7C

Dan Marino and Steve Young set dozens of passing records in the 1980s and '90s, some of which Peyton Manning is erasing now. Marino and Young soon might have something else in common: membership in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The quarterbacks are among 15 finalists for the Hall announced Tuesday. The class of 2005, which will have from three to six members, will be announced Feb. 5, the day before the Super Bowl in Jacksonville.

"It's an honor to get to this stage of the selection process and to be considered along with 14 other deserving candidates," Marino said in a statement released by CBS, where he is a commentator on its NFL pregame show.

"I've always said that election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame was the greatest individual achievement in the game and it would be one of the highlights of my career to join the sport's greatest players in Canton."

Marino, who holds many career passing records, and Young, who led San Francisco to the 1995 Super Bowl title, are among four finalists who made the list in their first year of eligibility.

The others are Michael Irvin, a receiver on the Cowboys teams that won three Super Bowls from 1992-95, and Derrick Thomas, the Chiefs linebacker who died in 2000 after a car accident.

Marino completed 4,967 of 8,358 passes for 61,343 yards and 420 touchdowns from 1983-99 with the Dolphins. He passed for 3,000 yards in 13 seasons and 4,000 in six. The Pittsburgh native, who played for the University of Pittsburgh, passed for 300 yards in a game 63 times and 400 13 times.

He held the record of 48 touchdown passes in a season until Manning threw 49 this season for the Colts.

Young, one of the top-rated passers in history, was the 1995 Super Bowl MVP after throwing six touchdowns in the 49ers' 49-26 win over San Diego.

"It's a huge honor to be considered with the names on this list, some of the all-time greats," Young said in a statement issued through ESPN, where he is an analyst. "I have always had enormous respect for the Hall of Fame and all it represents, and should this come to pass it would be the capstone to my athletic career."

The left-handed Young threw for at least 3,000 yards six times and had 20 or more touchdown passes five times. Adept at avoiding pass rushes and scrambling for yardage, he rushed for 4,239 yards and 43 touchdowns.

His league record for passer rating in a season, 112.8 in 1994, was also shattered this season by Manning, who finished at 121.1.

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