Peyton Manning, Calvin Johnson, Charles Woodson lead finalists for Pro Football Hall of Fame

Peyton Manning and Charles Woodson headline the newest group of finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining four other first-time finalists who will be considered the Class of 2021.

Also new to the final slate: Calvin Johnson, Jared Allen, Ronde Barber and Clay Matthews, Jr.

 Allen and Johnson, like Manning and Woodson, are in their first year of eligibility. Barber and Matthews have been on the ballot previously, but advanced to the group of 15 modern-era player finalists for the first time. 

Other finalists: Tony Boselli, LeRoy Butler, Alan Faneca, Torry Holt, John Lynch, Sam Mills, Richard Seymour, Zach Thomas and Reggie Wayne.

Lynch is a finalist for the eighth time, in his ninth year of eligibility. 

Peyton Manning leads the finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame (Photo: Denny Medley, USA TODAY Sports)

Matthews is in 20th year of eligibility, while Mills has been on the ballot for 19 years. Boselli and Butler are in their 15th year of eligibility.    

The Hall’s Selection Committee will choose the new class during a virtual meeting on January 19. Typically, the 48-member panel conducts a marathon meeting on the eve of the Super Bowl in the host city. Yet the Hall opted for a video conference this year, due to the pandemic.

 The committee will also cast votes for Tom Flores, Bill Nunn and Drew Pearson, finalists in the coach, contributor and seniors categories, respectively.

The 15 modern-era player finalists were determined by voting on two previous ballots, as a collection of 130 nominees named in September was reduced to 25 semifinalists on Nov. 24. For any of the finalists in any of the categories to be elected, they must receive approval votes from at least 80% of the panel.

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