The Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2022 is unique and a bit uncharacteristic.
For the first time since 2012, a first-time eligible finalist was not selected for enshrinement, four of the five modern-era enshrinees are on the defensive side of the ball and four of the five were eligible for at least 10 years.
Tackle Tony Boselli, safety LeRoy Butler, linebacker Sam Mills, defensive tackle/end Richard Seymour and defensive tackle Bryant Young are the modern-era enshrinees. Wide receiver Cliff Branch, who was the seniors finalist, former NFL director of officiating Art McNally (contributor finalist) and former Rams, Eagles and Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil were also selected for enshrinement.
The class will be formally honored in early August in Canton, Ohio.
Notable first-year-eligible candidates who will need to wait at least another year included linebacker DeMarcus Ware, wide receiver Andre Johnson and punt/kick returner Devin Hester.
Of the five modern-era selections, Boselli is the only offensive player. Boselli (16th year of eligibility), Mills (20th year of eligibility), Butler (16th year of eligibility) and Young (10th year of eligibility) each waited at least a decade for the coveted gold jacket.
Mills, a five-time Pro Bowl selection in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers as well as one of the best players from the USFL during its time, was in his final year of eligibility as a modern-era candidate. Boselli, a five-time Pro Bowl selection with the Jacksonville Jaguars whose career was cut short by a botched shoulder surgery, had been a finalist the most of any in the group -- six times.
This year's class was chosen Jan. 18 by the Hall's board of selectors during a virtual meeting.
Butler, credited with creating the Lambeau Leap celebration, was the only defensive starter from the 1990s All-Decade team who had not previously been enshrined. Boselli had also been named to the All-Decade team of the 1990s.
Seymour was a member of the New England Patriots' first three Super Bowl winners and joins cornerback Ty Law (Class of 2019) as the first two defenders from those Patriots teams in the Hall.
McNally is considered the father of modern officiating. His use of video to evaluate, grade and teach officials was copied over all U.S. professional sports leagues, and he was a leading proponent for the eventual use of replay to review calls during games.
Branch, who played his entire career for the Raiders, played on three Super Bowl winners. Considered one of the fastest players in the history of the league, he averaged over 17 yards per catch in six seasons and led the league in touchdown catches twice.