By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Patriots Hall of Fame finalists have been announced for 2020. Two familiar faces from recent ballots are back, while the third is the return of a big-time old friend.
Former head coach Bill Parcells is back for his fourth time as a finalist to make the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2020. He previously made the final three in 2011, 2012, and 2014. Parcells joins Mike Vrabel, who is now a finalist for the fifth straight year, and Richard Seymour, who has been named a finalist in each of his first four years of eligibility.
Voting is now open for fans at Patriots.com.
Parcells coached the Patriots from 1993-96 and was heavily responsible for transforming the team into a playoff contender over the course of his full season. After the 1996 season he bolted for the New York Jets, a decision that was heavily rumored to happen before the Patriots even played the Packers in Super Bowl XXXI.
The way Parcells left has certainly hurt his case to get over the hump for enshrinement in the Patriots Hall of Fame. But there’s no denying the on-field success that the team had while he was here. He also drafted and developed numerous key players from the early years of the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady dynasty – Ty Law, Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, Troy Brown, Ted Johnson, Lawyer Milloy.
Vrabel and Seymour’s accomplishments speak for themselves at this point. Vrabel started all nine playoff games over the Pats’ first three Super Bowl championship runs in 2001, 2003, and 2004, and famously caught touchdown passes from Tom Brady in Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX. Seymour played in all of the Patriots’ first three Super Bowl wins, including a start as a rookie in 2001, and earned three First Team All-Pro honors during his Patriots tenure.
However, Parcells is easily the most intriguing name on the 2020 list of finalists with his return after a five-year absence. Some post-Parcells figures have bypassed the former head coach for induction, like Rodney Harrison, Matt Light, and Kevin Faulk. We’ll see whether Parcells can now leapfrog Seymour or Vrabel, or if one of the other two will finally take that last step forward for a red jacket.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.