This year's Patriots Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, the day before the Patriots' regular season home opener against the Arizona Cardinals (9/16/12). The hall of fame induction ceremony takes place each year on the Patriot Place Plaza, located just outside The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon. The induction ceremony is open to the public and free to attend. The time of this year's event will be announced at a later date.
Beginning in 2007, the Patriots started a new hall of fame tradition, inducting one player or head coach into the team's hall of fame each year. The process for induction involves a panel of media, alumni and staff who collectively nominate the players and/or head coaches who have been out of football for at least four years who are most deserving of induction. After the nominations are made, the committee votes and the top three tallies become that year's finalists. The Patriots then give their fans the opportunity to vote online to select each year's hall of fame honoree.
In 2011, the Patriots formed a senior selection committee that meets every three to five years to ensure that early era players are not overlooked in the voting process. The committee consists of 10 veteran media and staff members who gather to discuss any candidates who have been retired for at least 25 years to identify the player most deserving of Patriots Hall of Fame recognition. The committee selected seven-time AFL all-star center Jon Morris, who joined Drew Bledsoe in last year's induction class into the Patriots Hall of Fame.
Earlier this month, a 17-person nomination committee met to discuss this year's candidates for induction. Those votes were tallied and the three finalists are now being revealed. Now it is up to the fans to decide who is most deserving. Voters for the Patriots Hall of Fame will be limited to one vote per computer IP address. The nominee receiving the most votes will become the 19th person named to the Patriots Hall of Fame. This year's finalists are listed below:
Troy Brown was drafted in the 8th round (198th overall) in the 1993 NFL Draft out of Marshall and spent his entire 15-season NFL career with the New England Patriots (1993-2007). He helped the Patriots qualify for the playoffs 10 times during his career and earned three Super Bowl Championships, five conference titles and eight division crowns. Brown retired in 2008 as the Patriots' all-time leading receiver with 557 career receptions and ranks second with 6,366 career receiving yards. He is also the team's all-time leading punt returner with 252 career returns for 2,625 yards and three touchdowns. Brown played in 192 games, placing him fourth in franchise history, and his 15 seasons with the Patriots ties Julius Adams for the second-longest tenure behind Steve Grogan's franchise-record 16 seasons. Brown was a five-time co-captain (2002-06) and earned Pro Bowl honors in 2001 after setting a then franchise record with 101 receptions for a career-high 1,199 yards. His production on offense and special teams that year helped propel the Patriots through the playoffs to earn the first Super Bowl title in franchise history. It was Brown's first of three Super Bowl titles in four years. In 2004, Brown became the first player in franchise history to record a reception and an interception in the same game when he filled in on defense after a rash of injuries decimated the Patriots secondary. He finished second on the team that year with three interceptions. Brown's significant contributions in all three phases of the game - offense, defense and special teams - made him one of the most versatile and beloved players in Patriots history.
Fred Marion spent his entire 10-year NFL career with the Patriots (1982-1991) after joining the team as a fifth-round draft choice out of Miami. In his first year as a starter in 1985, he helped the Patriots advance to their first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. He led the team with seven interceptions (second in the AFC) and led the NFL with 189 interception return yards to earn Pro Bowl honors. The 189 return yards are still the most by a Patriots player in a single season since the 1970 merger. Marion played a major role in the 1985 postseason when the Patriots made NFL history by becoming the first team to win three consecutive road games in the postseason to reach the Super Bowl with victories at the New York Jets, Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins. In the 1985 AFC Championship Game victory at Miami, Marion intercepted a Dan Marino pass at the 4-yard line to end a Dolphins drive and help the Patriots end an 18-game losing streak at the Orange Bowl. During his time in New England, he had a share of the lead in interceptions in four seasons, led the team in tackles four times and became the first player in team history to record more than 100 tackles in six consecutive seasons. Marion played in 144 career games and finished his career with 656 total tackles, 29 interceptions and 17 forced fumbles. His 29 interceptions are tied for the third most in Patriots history.
Bill Parcells was the head coach of the New England Patriots for four seasons (1993-96) and led the team to the playoffs twice. After inheriting a team that had finished 14-50 in the previous four years, including an NFL worst 2-14 season in 1992, he brought the clout of a two-time Super Bowl Champion to the Patriots sidelines, infusing instant credibility in 1993. In 1994, a season-ending seven-game win streak allowed the Patriots to clinch their first playoff berth in eight years. The performance earned Parcells NFL Coach of the Year honors. After finishing 6-10 in 1995, the Patriots rebounded with an 11-win season in 1996, tying the then franchise record for wins and earning their first division title in 10 years. After a convincing victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers (28-3) in the divisional playoff game in foggy Foxborough, the Patriots hosted their first AFC Championship game and defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars, 20-6, to earn a trip to the Super Bowl for just the second time in franchise history. This is the second consecutive year that the Patriots Hall of Fame Nomination Committee has nominated Bill Parcells for Patriots Hall of Fame induction. He is the first Patriots head coach to earn that distinction.
About the Patriots Hall of Fame
The Patriots Hall of Fame was officially formed in 1991 after John Hannah became the first Patriots player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. With the hall of fame, the Patriots created a new way of honoring their greatest players. It wasn't until 2008, with the opening of The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon, that Patriots players, past and present, truly had a place to call home that they could share with their fans. Now, enshrinement into The Hall is an honor befitting of the franchise's greatest players, with 30-foot video pylons displaying each enshrinee. Beginning in 2007, fans became part of the hall of fame tradition and active participants in the selection process.
The complete list of Patriots Hall of Famers (with their year of induction) is listed below:
John Hannah (1991)
Nick Buoniconti (1992)
Gino Cappelletti (1992)
Bob Dee (1993)
Jim Lee Hunt (1993)
Steve Nelson (1993)
Vito "Babe" Parilli (1993)
Mike Haynes (1994)
Steve Grogan (1995)
Andre Tippett (1999)
Bruce Armstrong (2001)
Stanley Morgan (2007)
Ben Coates (2008)
Jim Nance (2009)
Sam Cunningham (2010)
Jon Morris (2011)
Drew Bledsoe (2011)
William "Billy" Sullivan (2009)
About The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon
The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon is the crown jewel of Patriot Place and the only sports and education experience of its kind. Through a dazzling array of interactive multimedia exhibits and artifacts never before viewable by the public, The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon showcases the tradition of the New England Patriots, explores the history of football in New England, and promotes math and science education for the thousands of schoolchildren expected to visit each year. For more information, please visit www.thehallatpatriotplace.com.