Inside the room: What Pro Football Hall of Fame voting is like

Early this morning, a group of veteran sports writers will convene behind closed doors at the Tampa Convention Center and forever change the lives and legacies of football greats they once covered. While the results become instant national news, the Super Bowl eve meeting goes largely unnoticed to the outside world; an event that thrusts journalists into an intense, high-stakes game of power and persuasion — and relegates marquee NFL names to the sideline, waiting tensely for the outcome. The team that counts in this case consists of 44 football media members who prepare all year for this moment: the presentations, discussions and often heated debate that determine which of 17 finalists will make the Pro Football Hall of Fame — and which might never get another shot. Primarily writers, they represent each of the NFL’s 32 teams, with an additional at-large contingent. Most will make impassioned pitches on behalf of the players, coaches or executives tied to the team the reporter covers, though occasionally they speak against the local nominee.

tampabay.com
1/31/09