Top to Bottom: TE Ben Coates, C Jon Morris, RB Jim Nance
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots have announced the three 2008 finalists for the team's Hall of Fame. This year's finalists are (listed in alphabetical order) tight end Ben Coates, center Jon Morris and running back Jim Nance. For the second straight year, fans will vote online to ultimately decide who will be inducted into the team's hall of fame. Voting begins today on www.patriots.com and will continue through July 4, 2008.
Last month, a 23-person nomination committee met to discuss the candidates and to cast their votes for the Patriots players and head coaches they felt were most deserving of New England Patriots' Hall of Fame induction. Those votes were tallied and three finalists have been named. Now it is up to the fans to decide who is most deserving.
Fans are encouraged to vote any time over the next two months. Voters will be limited to one vote per registered e-mail address. The player receiving the most votes will become the 13th person named to the Patriots Hall of Fame and will be inducted in a ceremony at The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon this fall.
Ben Coates played for the Patriots for nine seasons, appearing in 142 games from 1991-99. His 50 total touchdowns rank second in team history; his 490 receptions rank third; and his 5,471 receiving yards place fourth. Coates was the Patriots' leading receiver five times in a six-year span from 1993-98, and his 96 catches in 1994 set a team record at the time. Coates was selected to five consecutive Pro Bowls from 1994-98. He was selected by the Patriots in the fifth round of the 1991 NFL Draft (124th overall) out of Livingstone College.
Jon Morris played for the Patriots for 11 seasons, appearing in 130 games from 1964-74. He earned seven consecutive American Football League All-Star appearances from 1964-70, and his seven league All-Star selections ranks second in Patriots history behind Pro Football Hall of Famer John Hannah (9). Morris anchored an offensive line that opened holes for Jim Nance to amass a team-record 45 rushing touchdowns from 1965-71. He was selected by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 1964 American Football League Draft out of Holy Cross.
Jim Nance played for the Patriots for seven seasons, appearing in 94 games from 1965-71. His 45 rushing touchdowns are a franchise record, while his 5,323 rushing yards place second in team history. He was the American Football League's Most Valuable Player in 1966, leading the league with 1,458 rushing yards - the highest single-season total in the AFL's 10-year history and a mark that stood as a Patriots record for 20 years. Nance was the AFL's leading rusher again in 1967, totaling 1,216 yards. He was selected by the Patriots in the 19th round of the 1965 American Football League Draft out of Syracuse.
Patriots Hall of Famers
This year's enshrinee will join 12 other Patriots' greats as a member of the New England Patriots' Hall of Fame (listed in alphabetical order below with year of induction):
Bruce Armstrong (2001)
Nick Buoniconti (1992)
Gino Cappelletti (1992)
Bob Dee (1993)
Steve Grogan (1995)
John Hannah (1991)
Mike Haynes (1994)
Jim Lee Hunt (1993)
Stanley Morgan (2007)
Steve Nelson (1993)
Vito "Babe" Parilli (1993)
Andre Tippett (1999)