- Nick Wagoner, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Greatest Show on Turf will have to wait another year to get its second member (and possibly more) into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The five modern-era finalists were announced Saturday night with former St. Louis Rams tackle Orlando Pace and quarterback Kurt Warner on the outside looking in.
The five modern-era players headed to Canton this year are running back Jerome Bettis, linebacker Junior Seau, defensive end Charles Haley, guard Will Shields and receiver Tim Brown. Contributors Bill Polian and Ron Wolf and senior nominee Mick Tingelhoff will join those five.
Warner and Pace were among 15 finalists for the award and both players made the cut to 10 before falling short of making the final five. In what was described by some voters as an incredibly close proceeding, Pace and Warner will now have to wait at least another year.
Pace's omission was probably the biggest surprise of those not making it but with Shields going in, it's reasonable to assume that voters viewed it as Shields' time to get in and they didn't want to double down on offensive linemen. Pace figures to be one of the strongest candidates next year, though guard Alan Faneca will be on the ballot for the first time then.
Warner's absence is less surprising though his path figures to get more muddled next year when former Green Bay Packers legend Brett Favre is added to the ballot. That's not to say two quarterbacks can't make it in one year but it might make things more difficult. Former Rams pass-rusher Kevin Greene was shut out again after being named a finalist for the fourth consecutive year.
For Rams fans hoping for some good news from this Hall of Fame class, the road to Canton might have removed a couple of road blocks for a few of those still trying to get in. With Shields going in, Pace moves to the head of the class among offensive linemen and Haley's entrance should help Greene's cause.
Receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt didn't make the list of finalists this year but the voters continue to put a receiver in every year which could help with the anticipated backlog. Brown going in still leaves Marvin Harrison waiting his turn but Terrell Owens will join Holt and Bruce next year, so it seems likely that duo will have to keep waiting.
Running back Marshall Faulk was the first Ram of the St. Louis edition of the franchise to make it, getting his call in 2011.