And then there were 15.
Highlighted by four first-time eligibles, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has now reduced a list of 108 nominees to the 15 modern-day finalists that will be considered for the class of 2018.
Those 15 will be joined by two seniors nominees and one contributor that will be discussed and voted on during the selection committee meeting the day before Super Bowl LII on Feb. 3 in Minneapolis.
The maximum to be elected is eight: five from the modern-day group plus the seniors and contributor. During the meeting, the 15 modern-day players will be reduced to 10 and then five, with at least 80 percent of the 48-person committee having to vote yes. That standard is the same for the seniors and contributor, who will be voted on prior to the discussion beginning for the 15 finalists.
The 15 modern-day finalists are:
--Tony Boselli, Tackle - 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars; second time as finalist
--Joe Jacoby, Tackle - 1981-1993 Washington Redskins; third time as finalist
--Kevin Mawae, Center - 1994-97 Seattle Seahawks, 1998-2005 New York Jets, 2006-09 Tennessee Titans; second time as finalist
The seniors nominees are:
--Robert Brazile, Linebacker - 1975-1984 Houston Oilers; first time as finalist
--Jerry Kramer, Guard - 1958-1968 Green Bay Packers; 11th time as finalists
--Bobby Beathard, General Manager/Personnel Administrator - 1966-67 Kansas City Chiefs, 1968-1971 Atlanta Falcons, 1972-77 Miami Dolphins, 1978-1988 Washington Redskins, 1990-99 San Diego Chargers; first time as finalist
The modern-day finalists are comprised of nine offensive players, including five offensive linemen, three wide receivers and one running back, and six defensive players, which are four defensive backs (two cornerbacks and two safeties) and two linebackers.
Hutchinson, Lewis, Moss and Urlacher are the first-time eligibles, while Walls is the only other first-time finalist from the modern-day players. Walls has been a nominee previously, but had never been a semifinalist and is in his final year of modern-day eligibility as is Jacoby.
Nine of the 10 finalists that weren't elected last year are back again in the 15. James was a finalist for the first time in 2016, but failed to qualify last year. The only non-returning finalist this year is head coach Don Coryell, who has been a finalist four times, including the previous three years.
Howard Balzer, senior editor and writer for The Sports Xchange, is in his fifth decade covering pro football and is a selector for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a member of the Contributors Subcommittee.