FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots held their annual nomination committee meeting today to nominate this year's candidates for induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame. Prior to that meeting, a 10-person senior selection committee met to discuss candidates for the Hall of Fame who have been retired for at least 25 years and unanimously selected defensive lineman Houston Antwine (1961-71) to the Patriots Hall of Fame.
Antwine played for the Patriots for 11 seasons, appearing in 142 games from 1961-71. He led the Patriots in sacks in three consecutive seasons from 1967-69 and his 39 career sacks are tied for 10th (with Richard Seymour) on the Patriots all-time career sacks list. Antwine earned six consecutive American Football League (AFL) All-Star selections from 1963-68. His six all-star appearances are tied for the fourth highest total in franchise history. He was acquired in a trade from the Houston Oilers in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 1962 AFL Draft on April 1, 1961. He is a member of the Patriots 50th Anniversary Team and a member of the 1960s All-Decade Team.
Patriots Alumni: Houston Antwine
Antwine passed away on Dec. 26, 2011 at the age of 72.
"For those of us who grew up watching the Boston Patriots, we applaud the senior selection committee's choice," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "In the 1960s, the defensive tackle tandem of Houston Antwine and Jim Lee Hunt was as good as any in the league. Houston's play helped push the Patriots to our first division championship in 1963. I had the good fortune of hosting Houston and his wife, Evelyn, at my home in 2009 when we honored the Patriots 50th Anniversary Team. It was a thrill for me to hear his stories about those early days in Boston. I look forward to hosting his daughter, Regina, when we honor her late-father later this summer for his induction ceremony."
Antwine was a finalist for Patriots Hall of Fame consideration for three straight years from 2009 through 2011. He is the second Patriots Hall of Fame inductee to be selected by the senior selection committee. Center Jon Morris was elected by the senior selection committee into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2011. Antwine will be inducted along with one of the 2015 Patriots Hall of Fame finalists in a ceremony later this year. The three 2015 hall of fame finalists will be revealed online at www.patriots.com on April 16, 2015. Fans will have one month to vote for the finalist they believe is most deserving of hall of fame induction. The Patriots are the only NFL team that includes their fans in the voting process and gives them the responsibility of making the annual selection.
A 10-person senior selection committee, consisting of some of the most tenured Patriots beat writers and staff, was approved by Kraft to ensure that early-era players who are deserving of Patriots Hall of Fame induction are given that consideration.
The senior selection committee met on Thursday, April 2 for the second time in the nine years of the new induction process to discuss early-era candidates for the Patriots Hall of Fame. Induction of a candidate is not automatic or mandatory and is limited to no more than one inductee each meeting. Candidates must be retired for at least 25 years to be eligible for senior selection committee consideration. Previous finalists for the Patriots Hall of Fame who have been retired for at least 25 years are automatically eligible for consideration. If there are less than three previous hall of fame finalists who qualify in any given year, the senior selection committee will be allowed to nominate other qualifying players who are deserving of the consideration. The early-era candidate must be approved by a minimum vote of 80 percent of the senior selection committee to be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame.
Since 2007, a committee consisting of media, staff and alumni has gathered annually to discuss Patriots players who are eligible and deserving of hall of fame induction. Any player or head coach who has been out of the NFL for at least four years is eligible. Once the presentations are completed, the committee votes and the top three candidates, based on total points, are presented as that year's nominations for hall of fame induction. Fans are then given an opportunity to vote for the player they feel is most deserving of the team's highest honor. Once selected, the hall of famer receives a formal induction ceremony held just outside The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon. The timing of this year's induction ceremony will be announced at a later date.