ST. LOUIS, Mo- The atmosphere surrounding the Super Bowl in Tampa is profoundly different this year, thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. While Southwest Florida will be the epicenter of the NFL this weekend and media have descended there, the Chiefs won’t arrive until Saturday. In past years, teams would be in town for a week ahead of the big game.
The pandemic has also changed the way the NFL will unveil the 2021 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In previous years, finalists would all be in the Super Bowl city and wait for a knock on a hotel door the Saturday night before the game to find out if they’d made it in. Voters traditionally spend that day listening to presentations on behalf of the finalists and then make their ultimate decisions.
In 2021, the voting has already happened. Like everything else, it seems, it was done via a Zoom meeting last month, and while the class will still be announced Saturday night, there won’t be any knocks on hotel room doors.
That means former St. Louis Rams wide receiver Torry Holt will be waiting at home to see if he’s earned his ticket to Canton. He’s a finalist for the second straight season, and is likely the last player from the St. Louis Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” era who will get Hall of Fame consideration.
Wednesday morning he appeared on Karraker & Smallmon on 101 ESPN Radio (WXOS-FM) and said “every year, I feel closer and closer” to getting in.
Some elements of the class are starting to leak out. Pro Football Talk reports former Colts and Broncos QB Peyton Manning has already learned that he’s made it. That’s hardly a shock–Manning was seen as a lock to make it in on his first year on the ballot.
Former Green Bay Packer Leroy Butler seemed to acknowledge on Twitter last month that he’s already learned that he didn’t get in.
Even if Holt isn’t elected, he’s still going to be at the ceremony in Canton slated for this summer. He’ll be supporting his former teammate Isaac Bruce, who was elected in the 2020 class that was never formally inducted, due to coronavirus worries. Lutheran North graduate Steve Atwater will also be inducted as part of the 2020 class.