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Fans vote in 5 Raiders as HOF semifinalists

For the first time ever, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has been asking fans to voice their choice for whom they think should be included into the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2010.  The Van Heusen Fan’s Choice campaign which launched in September, mirrors the Hall of Fame’s selection process and will name the first-ever Fan’s Choice Class live on the NFL Network just prior to the official announcement from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Raider fans as well as football fans in general have spoken loudly in support of several former Raiders that they think deserve enshrinement. 8 players out of the top 25 fan’s choice’s are former Raiders. And this doesn’t include Super Bowl winning quarterback Ken Stabler who was mysteriously vacant from the list of choices.

After the first cut-down and more than 220,000 votes, the Van Heusen Fan’s Choice Top 25 list includes 14 candidates who also appear on the official Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee list, 5 of whom are former Raiders. Expectedly the number one overall vote getter is Jerry Rice. The other Raiders are: Ray Guy at #3, Tim Brown at #5, Lester Hayes at #9, and Cliff Branch at #10.

The other 9 choices are: Emmitt Smith (2), Cris Carter (4), Shannon Sharpe (6), Richard Dent (11), Charles Haley (13), Andre Reed (18), John Randle (21),  Kevin Greene (24), and Steve Tasker (25). 

An interesting observation is that right behind the greatest receiver the game has ever seen (Jerry Rice) and the NFL all-time leading rusher (Emmitt Smith) is punter Ray Guy. If that doesn’t tell the committee that football fans want to see not only a punter but the greatest punter of all time in the Hall, nothing will.

Others Raiders, despite making the Van Heusen Fan’s Choice Top 25 list, who didn’t make the official Hall of Fame Selection Committee list include Tom Flores, Todd Christensen, and Jim Plunkett. 

Plunkett received the most votes of any vote getter who didn’t make the list. He came in at 7th overall in votes received. Which says that football fans also think it is time for the only 2 time Super Bowl winning quarterback not in the Hall of Fame, to have his day. Unfortunately the committee will not allow that to happen. Not this year or for the last 20 years.

Along with Plunkett; Flores was 12th in voting and Christensen was 14th. In fact, of the top 14 vote getters only 4 were not chosen as semifinalists and 3 of them were former Raiders (those three). But I suppose 5 of the top 10 is still pretty good.

Also receiving top 25 in votes but not making the list were an athletic trainer, Otho Davis (8); a game official, Jim Tunney (23); as well as former players Steve Atwater (17), Randall Cunningham (15), Ed “Too Tall” Jones (20), Sterling Sharpe (22), Phil Simms (16), and Joe Theismann (19).

From here the vote will be cut down to 15 modern-era finalists. The results of reduction vote will be announced on January 7, 2010. 

From there, it will come down to likely between 4 and 5 from this list for induction into the Hall of Fame.

The Class of 2010 will be determined at the Selection Committee’s annual meeting on Saturday, February 6, in South Florida the day before Super Bowl XLIV. The election results will be announced at 5 p.m. ET during a one-hour NFL Network special, live from the Super Bowl media headquarters.

Fans are encouraged to continue to vote for their choices by visiting www.fanschoice.com daily before the next Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee reduction vote in January.

Ok Raider Nation, you have about a month to make your voice heard…again. Make it loud and clear who you think deserves enshrinement.

My top three choices mirror that of the consensus: Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Ray Guy. The greatest at three positions is a good place to start.