The NFL Hall of Fame announced the 60 semifinalists for the senior and contributor/coach’s categories this week and there are some familiar names on the list with ties to the Browns. Most notably Clay Matthews, Jr., Marty Schottenheimer and Art Modell. Other semifinalists with connections to the Browns are Carl Banks, Mike Holmgren and John Wooten. Every Browns fan would love to see Matthews and Schottenheimer make the HOF. The closest Mathews has come was in 2021, the last year he was listed with the present-day players. He made it to the final cutdown of fifteen but didn’t make the final list.
The other name that will draw the most attention from Browns fans will be Art Modell. His supporters will list his willingness to help the league when the AFL & the NFL merged and he agreed to have the Browns go to the AFC. Others will list the large television deals he negotiated for the league and his help in creating Monday Night Football. To most, he will be remembered for stealing a beloved NFL franchise and moving it to Baltimore because of his poor business decisions. So what are Mathews’ and Modell’s chances?
The senior category has 31 players listed. A 12-person panel will pare down this list to 12 nominees. Because there is a very large pool of former players in this category, the Hall of Fame has increased the number of players as finalists from two to three. If Clay Matthews can make it to the list of 12, he would have a 25% chance to be an inductee. Other notables on the list of 31 are, Randy Gradishar, Roger Craig, Lester Hayes, Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, Jim Marshall, Art Powell, Steve Tasker and Emerson Walls. Based on Matthews’ career statistics, 1595 tackles, 69.5 sacks, 16 interceptions and one touchdown, and his longevity, 19 seasons, he’s long overdue for the Hall of Fame.
The contributor/coach’s category has 29 individuals listed. The same 12-person panel will again pare down this list to 12. Out of these twelve one will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. One. Because this list is stacked, Modell has a slim chance to make the list of 12. Besides Schottenheimer, Holmgren and Wooten, other notables are Bud Adams, Tom Coughlin, Robert Kraft, John McKay, Carl Peterson, Dan Reeves, Art Rooney, Jr., George Seifert and Mike Shanahan. Modell and his supporters will have to wait for another year, which is appropriate.
The finalists from these two categories will be announced on July 27. Let’s hope Clay Matthews gets the recognition he deserves.