Beginning with the annual football game Thursday night, the induction ceremonies for the National Football League Hall of Fame Class of 2017 takes place this weekend. The Hall, located in Canton, Ohio, will welcome seven more members into the prestigious fraternity, bringing the Hall total to 310 members. The Class of 2017 includes seven former players. One influential owner (Jerry Jones, not pictured) will be inducted, as well.
Morten Andersen: Born in Struer, Denmark, Andersen kicked for the Saints, Giants, Falcons, Chiefs, and Vikings over a 25-year career. A seven-time All-Pro, Andersen has the distinct achievement of being the leading career scorer for two different teams, New Orleans and Atlanta.
His best season was 1995 when he scored a career-high 122 points, making eight 50+ yard field goals. He was a member of the All-Decade Team for both the 1980s and the 1990s. Andersen is the first pure placekicker to make the National Football League Hall of Fame, though other enshrinees have placekicked, as well. Ray Guy, enshrined in 2014, is the only pure punter in the Hall.
Terrell Davis: Unlike the quarter-century career of Morten Andersen, Terrell Davis’ career was a short one. During his seven-year tenure with the Denver Broncos, Davis was just one of four running backs to gain more than 2,000 yards in a single season.
He achieved that pinnacle in 1998. Davis still holds the NFL record for consecutive playoff games with 100+ yards rushing (7). He was named the MVP of Super Bowl XXXII for his superb performance in Denver’s victory over Green Bay. Terrell Davis was born in San Diego.
Kenny Easley: Born in Chesapeake, Virginia, Easley was a devastating hitter during his collegiate days at UCLA.
He continued those contact pursuits as a member of the Seattle Seahawks. The fourth overall pick in the 1991 draft, Easley was named Defensive Rookie of the Year and was instrumental in turning the Seahawks’ defense into a feared unit. He was Defensive Player of the Year in 1984 after recording league-high and career-best 10 interceptions. His seven-year career, cut short by illness, included 32 interceptions for 538 return yards and three touchdowns.
Jason Taylor: Over a decade and a half, Taylor was one of the league’s most-feared defenders, compiling139.5 sacks, along with eight interceptions for 110 yards and three TDs.
He recovered 29 opponents’ fumbles, a number that ties him with Rickey Jackson for career most. Taylor was Miami’s MVP four times and was a three-time All-Pro selection. He also played for Washington and the New York Jets for one season each. Jason Taylor was born in Pittsburgh, PA.
LaDainian Tomlinson: Fans of the San Diego Chargers thrilled to LaDainian Tomlinson’s efforts on the field for nine years.
New York Jets’ fans cheered him on for two additional years at the end of his fine career. The fifth overall selection in the 2001 draft, he burst on the scene with over 1200 yards his rookie year. That was to be just the first of eight straight 1000+ yard campaigns. L.T. set an NFL record with at least one rushing touchdown in 18 straight games. Not just a gifted runner, he hauled in 100 receptions in his third year with the Bolts. Truly a triple-threat, Tomlinson threw seven TD passes during his career. He is a proud son of Rosebud, Texas.
Kurt Warner: “Out of nowhere” truly applies in the case of quarterback Kurt Warner. Undrafted out of tiny Northern Iowa, Warner failed to stick with both the Packers and the Rams. Eventually, he was to successfully toil for the Rams, Giants, and Arizona Cardinals.
Before his NFL career, he played in Amsterdam and in the Arena Football League. Once he arrived, though, it was a “wow” moment for Rams’ fans. He was to become a two-time NFL MVP (1999 and 2001) and was named Super Bowl XXXIV MVP for leading his team to a 23-16 victory over Tennessee. He is the only QB to throw for 300+ yards in three different Super Bowls and was a four-time Pro Bowler. Kurt Warner was born in Burlington, Iowa.