A few news and notes as the Patriots Hall of Fame committee is scheduled to meet Thursday to begin the process of narrowing down the field to three finalists:
1. This is the ninth straight year for the Hall of Fame committee. In 2007, the Patriots changed the procedure for the Hall of Fame, forming a 22-member panel that is broken down into different categories -- senior committee (10), Patriots beat writers (2), Patriots football network (3), New England broadcasters (2), at-large committee members (2) and Patriots alumni (3). That committee discusses all candidates, then has a vote that narrows the field to three finalists. One of the three finalists earns induction via a fan vote.
2. Every former Patriots player or head coach who has been retired for at least four years is eligible for Hall of Fame consideration.
3. This year's finalists will be announced April 16. Fan voting will be conducted on the team's official website from April 16 to May 16.
4. There are 20 players who have been inducted in the Patriots Hall of Fame, along with two contributors.
5. The senior selection committee, which meets every four to five years, has the authority to vote a senior candidate (retired for at least 25 years) into the Hall of Fame. The last time this happened was in 2011 when Jon Morris was selected. The committee is meeting again this year, with Houston Antwine and Leon Gray two notable candidates for consideration based on their recent history as finalists.
6. Since the Patriots Hall of Fame committee was formed in 2007, the finalists have been as follows (with inductee in bold):
2007: Ron Burton, Ben Coates, Stanley Morgan
2008: Ben Coates, Jon Morris, Jim Nance
2009: Houston Antwine, Jon Morris, Jim Nance
2010: Houston Antwine, Sam Cunningham, Jon Morris
2011: Houston Antwine, Drew Bledsoe, Bill Parcells
2012: Troy Brown, Fred Marion, Bill Parcells
2013: Tedy Bruschi, Chuck Fairbanks, Leon Gray
2014: Raymond Clayborn, Ty Law, Bill Parcells