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New York Jets represented by 2 semifinalists HOF, Joe Klecko update

CANTON, OH - AUGUST 06: Tony Dungy, former NFL head coach, is seen during his 2016 Class Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech during the NFL Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on August 6, 2016 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CANTON, OH - AUGUST 06: Tony Dungy, former NFL head coach, is seen during his 2016 Class Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech during the NFL Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on August 6, 2016 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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The New York Jets have 2 representatives among the semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame + an update on Joe Klecko’s chances to get in.

On Tuesday evening the Pro Football Hall of Fame revealed the 25 semifinalists (modern era) for the class of 2020.

The New York Jets have two representatives who made the cut:

  • Steve Atwater, safety
    • He played for the Denver Broncos for the majority of his career (1989 through 1998) but played his final professional season as a member of the New York Jets in 1999.
      • Atwater has been a semifinalist for the last nine years for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
  • Alan Faneca, guard
    • Faneca is another player who played the majority of his career elsewhere (Pittsburgh Steelers from 1998 through 2007) and then joined the New York Jets from 2008 through 2009 during their back-to-back AFC Championship runs. He finished his career with the Arizona Cardinals.
      • Alan has been a semifinalist for the last five years for the Hall of Fame.

Although the player that most Jets fans want to see enshrined is, of course, defensive lineman Joe Klecko.

Joe has been eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for a very long time and now resides in the “senior category.” This means we’ll have to wait a few more weeks before we hear an update on Klecko’s status.

Although this is the best shot Klecko may ever have of finally getting inducted:

“The Hall of Fame Board recently passed a resolution that suspended the Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee Bylaws for the Class of 2020 election cycle only. The measure is intended to honor the NFL’s Centennial Celebration through a special Centennial Class that will be comprised of 20 members in 2020. The group will include five Modern-Era players to come from the list announced today in addition to 10 Seniors (a player who has been retired for more than 25 seasons), three Contributors (an individual other than a player or coach) and two Coaches,” per the official site.

In other words, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is opening its doors wider than ever before for 2020 to honor the NFL’s 100th season.

10 senior candidates will be inducted in August, but who those 10 will be is up for debate.

Ultimately which players are chosen will be decided by a special 25-person Centennial “Blue-Ribbon” Panel who will look back at the current backlog of players that have been waiting for so long (that’ll include seniors, coaches, and contributors to the game).

This special group features Hall of Fame selectors, Pro Football Hall of Famers, media members, football historians and industry experts per the site.

Joe Klecko is the stuff of legend. He earned Pro Bowl recognition at not one, not two, but three different positions on the defensive line. That’s never been done before in NFL history.

He played 12 seasons (11 with the New York Jets, 1 with the Indianapolis Colts) in the pros and while his overall sack number may seem small (24 sacks), that’s because the NFL didn’t start recognizing the sack as an official statistic until 1982.

Ironically enough that came one year after his historic 20.5 sack season in which he won Defensive Player of the Year honors in the AFC, NEA, and via the Pro Football Writers Association.

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Hopefully, this is finally the year where everything lines up for Klecko to be inducted because quite frankly he’s long overdue.

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