A lista inicial de candidatos conta com 108 nomes da era moderna, incluindo 11 novatos, que se aposentaram, no mínimo, há 5 anos. Essa lista será reduzida pra 25 jogadores em Novembro, depois pra 15 em Janeiro, que serão apresentados ao comitê do Hall da Fama na reunião na véspera do Super Bowl. A nomeação oficial da classe do Hall da Fama 2016 acontecerá numa cerimônia no dia 6 de Agosto de 2016. Não existe um número definido de jogadores que podem ser indicados entre os finalistas.

Confira a lista inicial (novatos em maiúsculas, finalistas do ano passado com asterisco):

QUARTERBACKS (6)
Drew Bledsoe, BRETT FAVRE, Steve McNair, Phil Simms, Vinny Testaverde, *Kurt Warner

RUNNING BACKS (15)
Shaun Alexander, Ottis Anderson, Tiki Barber, Roger Craig, Stephen Davis, *Terrell Davis, Eddie George, Priest Holmes, Edgerrin James, Daryl Johnston, Jamal Lewis, CLINTON PORTIS, Herschel Walker (also KR), Ricky Watters, BRIAN WESTBROOK

WIDE RECEIVERS (9)
Isaac Bruce, Gary Clark, Henry Ellard (also PR), *Marvin Harrison, Torry Holt, TERRELL OWENS, Sterling Sharpe, Jimmy Smith, Rod Smith TIGHT ENDS (2) Mark Bavaro, Jay Novacek

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (19)
Tony Boselli (T), Jeff Bostic (C), Jim Covert (T), ALAN FANECA (G), Jay Hilgenberg (C), Chris Hinton (G/T), Kent Hull (C), Joe Jacoby (T), Jon Jansen (T), Mike Kenn (T), Jim Lachey (T), Kevin Mawae (C/G), Mark May (G/T/C), Tom Nalen (C), Nate Newton (G), *Orlando Pace (T), Chris Samuels (T), Mark Schlereth (G), Steve Wisniewski (G)

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (6)
Dexter Manley (DE), Charles Mann (DE), Leslie O’Neal (DE), Simeon Rice (DE), Fred Smerlas (NT), Bryant Young (DT)

LINEBACKERS (13)
Cornelius Bennett, Tedy Bruschi, KEITH BULLUCK, *Kevin Greene (also DE), Ken Harvey, Levon Kirkland, Clay Matthews, Willie McGinest (also DE), Karl Mecklenburg, Matt Millen, Sam Mills, Zach Thomas, MIKE VRABEL

DEFENSIVE BACKS (14)
Eric Allen (CB), Steve Atwater (S), Joey Browner (S), LeRoy Butler (S), Rodney Harrison (S), Ty Law (CB), Albert Lewis (CB), *John Lynch (S), LAWYER MILLOY (SS), DARREN SHARPER (FS), Shawn Springs (CB), Troy Vincent (CB/S), Everson Walls (CB), Darren Woodson (S)

KICKERS/PUNTER(6)
*Morten Andersen (K), Gary Anderson (K), JOHN CARNEY (K), Jason Elam (K), Sean Landeta (P), Nick Lowery (K)

SPECIAL TEAMS/POSITION PLAYERS (3)
ETHAN ALBRIGHT (LS), Brian Mitchell (KR/PR also RB), Steve Tasker (also WR)

COACHES (15)
*Don Coryell, Bill Cowher, *Tony Dungy, Tom Flores, Mike Holmgren, *Jimmy Johnson, Chuck Knox, Buddy Parker, Richie Petitbon, Dan Reeves, Pete Rodriguez, Lou Saban, Marty Schottenheimer, Clark Shaughnessy, Dick Vermeil

 

Confira lances de alguns dos novatos:
Brett Favre

 

Clinton Portis

 

Brian Westbrook

 

Terrell Owens

 

Mike Vrabel

 

Lawyer Milloy

 

Darren Sharper