- Kevin Seifert, NFL Nation
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The Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee has included a player with NFC North ties in every class dating back to the inception of this blog.
We had Minnesota Vikings guard Randall McDaniel in 2009. In 2010, Vikings defensive lineman John Randle and Detroit Lions defensive back Dick LeBeau were enshrined. Chicago Bears defensive end Richard Dent was elected in 2011 and Vikings defensive end Chris Doleman got in last year.
Will the streak continue in 2013?
As we noted earlier this month, four of the 15 finalists have ties to one of our teams. Former Vikings receiver Cris Carter and current Green Bay Packers outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene find themselves in familiar situations. Carter, as we discussed in detail last year, remains ensconced in a three-way logjam of receivers along with Tim Brown and Andre Reed. Greene, meanwhile, still has more career sacks (160) than any player not in the Hall of Fame. (My thoughts on Greene from last year's exclusion.) A newly eligible pass-rusher is on this year's ballot; Michael Strahan had 141.5 sacks in his career.
My AFC West colleague Bill Williamson spoke with defensive lineman Curley Culp earlier this week; Culp played his final two seasons with the Lions in 1980 and '81. So that leaves us to discuss former Packers linebacker Dave Robinson.
Like Culp, Robinson was nominated by the Hall's senior committee, and that status alone gives him a pretty decent chance to win election. The class' five-man limit doesn't include senior nominees, so they don't get caught in a numbers game. Over the past 19 years, 82 percent of senior nominees have been elected (23 of 28). The success rate remained high even after the Hall began allowing two senior nominees per year in 2004. Since then, all but four of the 18 nominees have been elected.
The procedure allows voters to correct perceived wrongs from previous generations, and Robinson is generally considered one of the best defensive players from his era. He was the Packers' first-round draft choice in 1963, started in three consecutive NFL championship victories, intercepted 27 passes in 12 seasons and was named to the league's all-decade team for the 1960's.
Voters will gather early Saturday morning, and the nominees will be announced during an NFL Network broadcast scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. ET. I'll be here to blog whatever needs to be blogged.