The Board of Trustees of the Pro Football Hall of Fame formally announced on Wednesday changes to the selection process that will include a separate category for contributors, starting in 2015.
Contributors are defined as individuals who “made outstanding contributions to professional football in capacities other than playing or coaching.”
The contributor finalist will also be voted on for election independent of senior and modern-day finalists. Contributors will still be required — like all other finalists — to receive an 80-percent vote for election by the 46-member Selection Committee.
Contributors have previously been part of the modern-era nomination list that included coaches and players. The result has been that since 1963, when the Hall of Fame opened, only 19 contributors, such as Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt, have been elected, and 10 of those were elected in the first five Hall of Fame classes.
In an effort to address the backlog of contributor candidates, the board also approved a temporary measure allowing for two contributor finalists in years one, three and five, of the next five years. In years two and four of that same period, there will be just one contributor finalist. At the end of the five-year period, the number of Contributor finalists going forward will be one per year.
To keep the maximum number of finalists elected at a maximum of eight per year, the senior finalists (players whose active careers has been completed for at least 25 years) will be reduced from two to one per year in years one, three and five of the same five-year period.