The Pro Football Hall of Fame named 122 Modern-Era nominees this week, and it included seven former Cincinnati Bengals.
Boomer Esiason, Corey Dillon, Chad Johnson, Willie Anderson, Justin Smith, and Takeo Spikes all made the list.
The list of 122 will be narrowed considerably, down to just 15 Modern-Era nominees by the time Super Bowl LVI kicks off.
Willie Anderson presumably has the best chance of getting into the Hall of Fame. Anderson was a four-time Pro Bowler and a three time First-Team All-Pro selection. He helped block for Corey Dillon and Rudy Johnson as the running backs set several franchise records.
Boomer Esiason is another former Bengals that could be enshrined. He was a four-time Pro Bowler, and led the Bengals to Super Bowl XXIII. He was named First-Team All-Pro and MVP in 1988. That year, he led the NFL in passer rating and yards per attempt.
Even if these two don’t get into the Hall of Fame, they’re probably at the top of the list for the Bengals’ Ring of Honor selection, for whatever that is worth.
The list of nominees will be narrowed down to 25 finalists in November. By January, the pack will be thinned out again, with only 15 finalists. From there, a selection committee will narrow the list to ten, and then to five. Once it is at five, each member votes yes or no. The players receiving 80% or more yes votes will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
None of the current Bengals nominees have even been named as finalists, so it would be an atmospheric ascension if one of them were to be named to the Hall of Fame.