The Patriots have two of their longtime, cornerstone players on the 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalists ballot. In reality though, that number should probably be three.
26 players made it to the semifinal round of voting from the 122 on the initial ballot. Included in those 26 are defensive tackles Richard Seymour – who has reached the finalist round in each of the last three seasons – and Vince Wilfork – who is in his first year of eligibility. Notably absent is safety Rodney Harrison, who last year made it to the semifinalist round for the first time in his eight years of eligibility.
Seymour has gotten plenty of campaigning in recent years, including from Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Seymour’s case has been an interesting one, given his lack of eye-popping stats due to the nature of the defensive tackle position. However, he was able to impact games tremendously without accumulating numbers on the stat sheet, and is seen as a revolutionary player at the position. Seymour was a seven-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro, and a member of the NFL All-2000’s team.
Historical hesitancy from the selection committee to recognize defense tackles makes Wilfork’s inclusion on the semifinalist bracket somewhat surprising. However, that’s not to say it isn’t warranted. Like Seymour, Wilfork was a play-to-play presence in the middle of multiple championship defenses, even if the box score didn’t always reflect it. He was a four-time All-Pro in 13 NFL seasons, 11 of which he spent with the Patriots.
Alex Barth is a writer and 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. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.