Hall of Fame list sets up selection Saturday scrimmage

Brady rallies Pats by Texans with 5th TD (DOMAIN)/(SPORT)/story.asp?i=20170924165442009769010&ref=hea&tm=&src=NFL 20170924165442009769010 NFL <img src="(DOMAIN)/(SPORT)/photos/201709241557574296549-p3.jpeg" title="FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 24: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts after throwing the game winning touchdown pass during the fourth quarter of a game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium on September 24, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)" style="float: left"> <p>FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Rob Gronkowski saw the looks in his teammates' eyes in the huddle before his team's final drive Sunday.</p> <p>"We all looked at each other and counted on each other to make plays," Gronkowski said. "Not one player in that huddle didn't make a play."</p> <p>And the leader of that huddle, quarterback Tom Brady, again worked his magic, taking his team 75 yards to pull out a dramatic 36-33 victory over the Houston Texans.</p> Kraft on Trump: 'Deeply disappointed' (DOMAIN)/(SPORT)/story.asp?i=20170924213638054848010&ref=hea&tm=&src=NFL 20170924213638054848010 NFL <img src="(DOMAIN)/(SPORT)/photos/201709241106400183963-p3.jpeg" title="NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 17: Owner of the New England Patriots Robert Kraft walks on the field prior to the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 17, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)" style="float: left"> <p>During the NFL's Sunday of Solidarity, perhaps the most poignant remarks and reactions to President Donald Trump's attack on dissident players were those by the New England Patriots.</p> <p>And it goes beyond the fact that they are, after all, named the Patriots.</p> <p>All of Sunday's pregame anthems included a show of solidarity by each team against harsh remarks that Trump renewed at dawn, tweeting, "If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!"</p> Eagles top Giants on 61-yard FG at :00 (DOMAIN)/(SPORT)/story.asp?i=20170924165912306771410&ref=hea&tm=&src=NFL 20170924165912306771410 NFL <img src="(DOMAIN)/(SPORT)/photos/201709241601576806589-p3.jpeg" title="PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 24: Jake Elliott #4 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates with Najee Goode #52, Kamu Grugier-Hill #54, and Mychal Kendricks #95 after kicking the game winning field against the New York Giants as time expired at Lincoln Financial Field on September 24, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Giants 27-24. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)" style="float: left"> <p>PHILADELPHIA -- Just a couple of weeks ago, Jake Elliott was toiling on the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad, wondering about his future.</p> <p>His future sure looks bright now.</p> <p>The rookie kicker connected on a 61-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Philadelphia Eagles a dramatic 27-24 victory over the New York Giants Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.</p> Rodgers' deep pass keys Packers' OT win (DOMAIN)/(SPORT)/story.asp?i=20170924201914179837010&ref=hea&tm=&src=NFL 20170924201914179837010 NFL <img src="(DOMAIN)/(SPORT)/photos/201709241924698717604-p3.jpeg" title="GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 24: Mason Crosby #2 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after kicking the game winning field goal in overtime against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lambeau Field on September 24, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)" style="float: left"> <p>GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Master of the Free Play, struck again.</p> <p>This time, it sent Green Bay to a come-from-behind, 27-24 overtime victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at Lambeau Field.</p> <p>On third-and-10 on Green Bay's first possession of overtime, Rodgers coaxed defensive end Michael Johnson offside. Rodgers took advantage of the free play and went deep to Geronimo Allison, who caught the ball at the Bengals' 44 and weaved his way through the secondary to the 7. One play later, Mason Crosby booted a 27-yard field goal to give the Packers the victory.</p> Tate stopped at 1, Falcons slip by Lions (DOMAIN)/(SPORT)/story.asp?i=20170924164751564763910&ref=hea&tm=&src=NFL 20170924164751564763910 NFL <img src="(DOMAIN)/(SPORT)/photos/201709241653608226880-p3.jpeg" title="DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Golden Tate #15 of the Detroit Lions is stopped at the goal line to end the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Ford Field on September 24, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. Atlanta defeated Detroit 30-26. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)" style="float: left"> <p>DETROIT -- Brian Poole was sure he touched Golden Tate before he reached the end zone. Poole had no idea that would be the last play of the game.</p> <p>The cornerback contacted Tate's shoulder as the wide receiver's knee hit the turf just shy of the goal line, allowing the Atlanta Falcons to escape with a 30-26 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Ford Field.</p> <p>The officials originally ruled that Tate had scored on a 1-yard pass from Matthew Stafford with eight seconds remaining, but a replay review overturned that call. A 10-second runoff was required and since the Lions were out of timeouts, the game was over.</p> Howard's TD in OT gets Bears by Steelers (DOMAIN)/(SPORT)/story.asp?i=20170924164711440763610&ref=hea&tm=&src=NFL 20170924164711440763610 NFL <img src="(DOMAIN)/(SPORT)/photos/201709241602577766596-p3.jpeg" title="CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24: Jordan Howard #24 of the Chicago Bears celebrates after scoring the game-winning touchdown in overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Soldier Field on September 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Steelers 23-17 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)" style="float: left"> <p>CHICAGO -- Jordan Howard had already been forced to leave Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers twice after his right shoulder took a pounding. Regardless of the pain, however, the Chicago Bears running back was determined not to allow the injury to stop him.</p> <p>One final 19-yard run on Sunday proved to be the perfect remedy.</p> <p>Howard's scoring run in overtime lifted the Chicago Bears to their first victory of the season, a 23-17 win over the Steelers at Soldier Field.</p> Seahawks, Titans, Steelers skip anthem (DOMAIN)/(SPORT)/story.asp?i=20170924161926223747910&ref=hea&tm=&src=NFL 20170924161926223747910 NFL <img src="(DOMAIN)/(SPORT)/photos/201709241524554736127-p3.jpeg" title="CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24: Alejandro Villanueva #78 of the Pittsburgh Steelers stands by himself in the tunnel for the national anthem prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)" style="float: left"> <p>NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Neither the Seattle Seahawks or Tennessee Titans were on the field for the national anthem before Sunday's game at Nissan Stadium.</p> <p>While Meghan Linsey sang the anthem, both teams remained in the locker room.</p> <p>"We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of this color in this country," Seattle players said in a statement that was released on social media prior to kickoff. "Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms."</p> Unbeaten Chiefs drop Chargers to 0-3 (DOMAIN)/(SPORT)/story.asp?i=20170924195343045830310&ref=hea&tm=&src=NFL 20170924195343045830310 NFL <img src="(DOMAIN)/(SPORT)/photos/201709241857682727494-p3.jpeg" title="CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Jacoby Glenn #39 and Marcus Peters #22 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrate after intercepting the ball during the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at the StubHub Center on September 24, 2017 in Carson, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)" style="float: left"> <p>CARSON, Calif. -- It was a week of adjustments for Alex Smith as he prepared to play the Los Angeles Chargers. That work paid off as the Kansas City Chiefs thumped Los Angeles 24-10 on Sunday.</p> <p>But it was more the name of his opponent than its defense that befuddled Smith.</p> <p>"That's hard to get used to," said Smith, who grew up in San Diego. "I always know them as the 'San Diego Super Chargers.'"</p> Cousins has 3 TDs, Redskins rout Raiders (DOMAIN)/(SPORT)/story.asp?i=20170924235348657864310&ref=hea&tm=&src=NFL 20170924235348657864310 NFL <img src="(DOMAIN)/(SPORT)/photos/201709242256826068015-p3.jpeg" title="LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 24: Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins and wide receiver Josh Doctson #18 of the Washington Redskins celebrate a touchdown against the the Oakland Raiders in the third quarter at FedExField on September 24, 2017 in Landover, Maryland (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)" style="float: left"> <p>LANDOVER. Md. -- The Oakland Raiders knew coming into the Sunday night game that Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson was a weapon.</p> <p>That didn't make it any easier to stop him.</p> <p>Thompson had six receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown, Kirk Cousins passed for 365 yards and three touchdowns, and the Redskins posted a convincing 27-10 win over the Raiders on Sunday night.</p> Brees has 3 TDs, Saints roll by Panthers (DOMAIN)/(SPORT)/story.asp?i=20170924161125499744910&ref=hea&tm=&src=NFL 20170924161125499744910 NFL <img src="(DOMAIN)/(SPORT)/photos/201709241512547626025-p3.jpeg" title="CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 24: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints drops back to pass against the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 24, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)" style="float: left"> <p>CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The New Orleans Saints knew their season was trending in the wrong direction and it would take a monumental performance to alter the path.</p> <p>They received that with a smothering defense and efficient offense in Sunday's 34-13 victory over the Carolina Panthers.</p> <p>Drew Brees threw three touchdown passes as the Saints cracked one of the NFL's top defenses at Bank of America Stadium.</p>
(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(TSX / STATS) -- There are no major surprises among 108 players and coaches announced Tuesday as nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 2018 class. But that won't prevent plenty of fireworks when the Selection Committee convenes Saturday, February 3, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minn.

A quick poll of fellow selectors indicates only one apparent slam dunk for the Class of 2018, former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.

He and prolific wide receiver Randy Moss are among 11 first-year eligible stars who are on the list. Moss and linebacker Brian Urlacher are potential first-year inductees, but not a sure thing.

While many consider Moss a slam dunk, the path into the Hall of Fame is a difficult one, especially for wide receivers with any notable negativity during their NFL career.

That was certainly the case for Terrell Owens, who is one of 10 finalists returning from the 2017 selection process. Owens apparently lost votes because he was thought to be a difficult teammate, evidenced by being released by multiple teams during his prime. Although Moss is well-liked now, during the middle of his career he all but admitted he didn't play his best all the time.

The thought of those two controversial receivers being in the selection room at the same time has loomed as potential high drama for several years. When Owens failed to be inducted last year, the stage was set.

For those who may favor one over the other by any significant degree, there is this to consider:

Owens played 219 games (1998-2010), caught 1,078 passes for 15,934 yards and scored 156 touchdowns (three rushing). Moss played 218 games (1998-2012), caught 982 passes for 15,292 yards and scored 156 touchdowns. So, statistics will not separate these two and numbers obviously don't tell the whole story.

Other first-year eligible nominees: Wide receivers Donald Driver, Randy Moss, Steve Smith (from Giants, Eagles, Rams -- not Steve Smith Sr. of Panthers/Ravens who retired last year; offensive linemen Matt Birk (C), Steve Hutchinson (G), Jeff Saturday (C); defensive linemen Richard Seymour (DT), Kyle Vanden Bosch (DE); defensive back Ronde Barber (CB/S).

Other finalists from last year returning as nominees: Wide receiver Isaac Bruce; offensive linemen Tony Boselli (T), Alan Faneca (G), Joe Jacoby (T), Kevin Mawae (C/G); defensive backs Brian Dawkins (SS), Ty Law (CB), John Lynch (S); coach Don Coryell

The full list will be reduced to 18 finalists by Super Bowl week and presented to the full 48-member Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee on selection Saturday. The finalists will consist of 15 modern-era finalists, the recently named senior finalists, Robert Brazile and Jerry Kramer, and the contributor finalist, Bobby Beathard.

The full list of modern-era nominees (*indicates finalist for 2017 class):

--QUARTERBACKS (5): Randall Cunningham, Rich Gannon, Donovan McNabb, Steve McNair, Phil Simms

--RUNNING BACKS (10): Tiki Barber, Earnest Byner, Roger Craig, Corey Dillon, Eddie George, Edgerrin James, Lorenzo Neal, Fred Taylor, Herschel Walker (also KR), Ricky Watters

--WIDE RECEIVERS (13): *Isaac Bruce, Donald Driver, Henry Ellard (also PR), Torry Holt, Chad Johnson, Randy Moss, *Terrell Owens, Sterling Sharpe, Jimmy Smith, Rod Smith, Steve Smith, John Taylor, Hines Ward

--TIGHT END (4): Mark Bavaro, Ben Coates, Ferrell Edmunds, Jay Novacek

--OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (21): Willie Anderson (T), Matt Birk (C), *Tony Boselli (T), Lomas Brown (T), Ruben Brown (G), Ray Donaldson (C), *Alan Faneca (G), Bill Fralic (G/T), Jay Hilgenberg (C), Chris Hinton (G/T), Kent Hull (C), Steve Hutchinson (G), *Joe Jacoby (T), Mike Kenn (T), *Kevin Mawae (C/G), Tom Nalen (C), Nate Newton (G), Bart Oates (C), Jeff Saturday (C), Richmond Webb (T), Steve Wisniewski (G)

--DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (11): La'Roi Glover (DT/NT), Leonard Marshall (DE/DT), Keith Millard (DT/NT/DE), Leslie O'Neal (DE), Michael Dean Perry (DT/DE), Simeon Rice (DE), Richard Seymour (DT), Neil Smith (DE), Greg Townsend (DE/NT/LB), Kyle Vanden Bosch (DE), Bryant Young (DT)

--LINEBACKERS (15): Carl Banks, Cornelius Bennett, Tedy Bruschi, Seth Joyner, Ray Lewis, Greg Lloyd, Wilber Marshall, Clay Matthews, Willie McGinest (also DE), Karl Mecklenburg, Sam Mills, Joey Porter, Darryl Talley, Zach Thomas, Brian Urlacher

--DEFENSIVE BACKS (12): Eric Allen (CB), Steve Atwater (S), Ronde Barber (CB/S), LeRoy Butler (S), *Brian Dawkins (SS), Rodney Harrison (S), *Ty Law (CB), Albert Lewis (CB), *John Lynch (S), Dennis Smith (S), Everson Walls (CB), Darren Woodson (S)

--KICKERS/PUNTER (3): Gary Anderson (K), Sean Landeta (P), Nick Lowery (K)

--SPECIAL TEAMS (2): Brian Mitchell (KR/PR also RB), Steve Tasker (coverage, also WR)

--COACHES (12): *Don Coryell, Bill Cowher, Tom Flores, Mike Holmgren, Jimmy Johnson, Chuck Knox, Buddy Parker, Richie Petitbon, Dan Reeves, Marty Schottenheimer, Clark Shaughnessy, Dick Vermeil

--Frank Cooney, founder and publisher of The Sports Xchange and, is in his sixth decade covering football and third decade as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

Updated September 12, 2017