LaDainian Tomlinson earned induction in his first year of eligibility as did defensive end Jason Taylor. Kicker Morten Andersen, quarterback Kurt Warner and running back Terrell Davis were the other modern-era candidates elected Saturday, with contributor candidate Jerry Jones and seniors candidate Kenny Easley.
Terrell Owens, in his second year of eligibility, again was eliminated in the reduction vote from 15 to 10 along with Isaac Bruce, Don Coryell, Alan Faneca and Joe Jacoby. John Lynch, Brian Dawkins, Tony Boselli, Ty Law and Kevin Mawae were eliminated in the cut to five.
Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, a contributors candidate along with Jones, became the first finalist voted down since seniors candidate Dick Stanfel in 2012. Stanfel finally earned induction last year.
Tagliabue also failed to obtain the required 80 percent needed for induction in 2007.
The discussion on Tomlinson was the shortest of the 18 candidates, lasting only 5 minutes, 43 seconds in a meeting that went 8 hours, 50 minutes. His resume spoke for itself.
Tomlinson, who played nine seasons with the Chargers and two with the Jets, ranks fifth in NFL history in rushing yards with 13,684. Only Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders and Curtis Martin rushed for more. Smith, Payton and Sanders earned induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility, and Martin made it his second year of eligibility.
But Tomlinson has an MVP award that Martin doesn’t, having won it in 2006 after rushing for 1,815 yards while setting NFL records for rushing touchdowns (28) and total touchdowns (31). His 186 points surpassed the previous single-season record of 176 set by Green Bay Packers halfback Paul Hornung in 1960.
Only two other non-quarterbacks – running backs Shaun Alexander and Adrian Peterson – have won the MVP award the past 15 years.
Tomlinson also ranks second in rushing touchdowns with 145, third in total touchdowns with 162 and fifth in yards from scrimmage with 18,456.
The Class of 2017 will earn enshrinement Aug. 5 in Canton, Ohio, with Tomlinson and Davis joining 30 other the will be enshrined as the 31st running back of the modern era in a ceremony on Aug. 5 in Canton, Ohio, along with the rest of the Class of 2017.