Former Miami Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas has been named a finalist for the NFL’s Hall of Fame for the second straight year, but just like in 2020, faces a tough slate of names parallel on the ballot to make it into this year’s class.
In his eighth year of eligibility, Thomas is again joined by NFL-greats who could leap-frog him in HOF entrance who has been on the ballot for both a longer and shorter time.
Thomas’ Dolphins’ Tenure is One for the Books
Thomas was a member of the Dolphins from 1996-2007 before playing one season with the Dallas Cowboys in 2008 before retiring.
He was named the Rookie-of-the Year in 1996 in a season that saw him start all 16 games and account for the most solo tackles in a single season in his career (120). Thomas had a combined 154 tackles with two sacks, two forced fumbles (two recoveries), three interceptions for a combined 67 return yards and one defensive touchdown. He also won Miami’s team MVP award that season.
Thomas also had at least 100 tackles in each of his first 11 seasons and his 168 career starts were the most by a Dolphins defensive player. A few other standout Dolphins accolades in his career include setting Miami’s career record with four interceptions returned for a TD, registering 20.5 career sacks, recording 22 tackles (14 solo) in the Dolphins’ 2001 playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens and being the first Dolphin in Miami’s history to win the organization’s Leadership Award three times. This award is something that still exists in Miami today and is an award voted on by the players.
Finally, Thomas earned the honor of being named First-Team All-Pro five times (1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2006) and to the Pro Bowl seven times.
Deep List of Worthy Talent Joins Him on 2021 Ballot
However, joining him are renowned names around the NFL’s history from eight-time finalist Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety John Lynch and six-time finalist Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman/guard Alan Faneca to first-time finalists Indianapolis Colts/Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
Thomas will also be joined by the following players. In the middle of the chart has how many years they have been nominated, followed by their first year of eligibility.
Predictions Insinuating Thomas Can’t Find Space on 2021 Ballot
Early predictions expect Manning to earn the nod in his first year, potentially along with Johnson and fellow first-year nominee Oakland Raiders/Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson.
The inductees will be announced during the NFL Honors on Feb. 6, the night before Super Bowl LV, followed by their enshrinement Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio.
– Kayla Morton is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Miami Dolphins. She is also a co-host on the Full Press Fantasy Podcast. Like and follow on Follow @northdakayla74 Follow @FPC_Dolphins and Facebook.