When the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee meets over Super Bowl Weekend in Indianapolis, Indiana, two former Chiefs offensive linemen will be discussed for inclusion in the Hall’s Class of 2012.
Former Chiefs guard Will Shields is one of two first-year eligible nominees alongside former NFL head coach Bill Parcells, while former Saints and Chiefs tackle Willie Roaf is part of the Hall’s finalist list for the second consecutive season.
The 44-member Selection Committee will meet on Saturday, February 4th to vote on this year’s class. To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent. The Hall must select at least four new members, but no more than seven.
Shields and Roaf are joined by two senior nominees and 13 modern-era finalists.
Senior Nominees: CB Jack Butler and G Dick Stanfel
Modern-Era Nominees: RB Jerome Bettis, WR Tim Brown, WR Cris Carter, C Dermontti Dawson, Owner Edward DeBartolo, Jr., DE Chris Doleman, LB Kevin Greene, DE Charles Haley, DT Cortez Kennedy, RB Curtis Martin, Coach Bill Parcells, WR Andre Reed and S Aeneas Williams
Complete bios on each of the 17 finalists can be found on the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s website.
Will Shields, a 6’3”, 320-pound guard out of Nebraska, was drafted in the third round of the 1993 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. He was placed into the lineup in his first NFL game after the team’s starting left guard Dave Szott suffered an injury. The next week, the offensive line was shuffled and Shields was inserted as the starting right guard. He started every game from that point through his retirement after the 2006 season. Shields never missed a game during his 14-season career and his 224 games played and 223 starts are franchise records.
As a rookie he helped the Chiefs to an 11-5-0 mark and the AFC Western Division crown. It marked the first division title for Kansas City since 1971. In all, the Chiefs won four division titles and made six playoff appearances during Shields’ career.
He earned his first Pro Bowl berth following the 1995 season and embarked on a string of 12 straight AFC-NFC Pro Bowl berths that ran through the end of his career. He was named first-team All-Pro in 1999, 2002, and 2003 and picked as a second-team All-Pro choice four other times. Shields was named All-AFC seven times including in each of his final six seasons.
Shields was the anchor of an offensive line that helped the Chiefs field potent offenses. In fact, five of the Chiefs best seasons for most net yards came during Shields tenure. He and his linemates helped Kansas City lead the entire NFL in total yards gained in 2004 and 2005. They also topped the AFC in that category in 2003. The team led the NFL in points scored in 2002 and again in 2003 highlighted by running back Priest Holmes’ then-record 27 rushing touchdowns in ‘03. In 1994, he and his linemates established a franchise record by allowing a mere 19 sacks.
He is a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s. He joined Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Thomas in 1999 as the only active players to be named to the Chiefs’ 40th Anniversary Team.
The New Orleans Saints drafted tackle Willie Roaf out of Louisiana Tech in the first round eighth player overall, in the 1993 NFL Draft. He was the first offensive lineman selected in that year’s draft.
Roaf started all 16 games at right tackle and did not miss an offensive snap during his first season and earned All-Rookie honors. The following year he was switched to left tackle and performed at a level that earned him more national accolades. He was voted to the Pro Bowl for the first time, named first-team All-Pro, All-NFC, and honored as the NFLPA’s NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year for the first of two consecutive seasons.
He played nine seasons in New Orleans where he started 131 regular season games. He also started two playoff games including the franchise’s first-ever postseason win, a 31-28 victory over the defending Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams in the 2000 NFC Wild Card game.
A knee injury shortened Roaf’s 2001 season to just seven games. Then, just prior to the next year’s draft Roaf was traded by the Saints to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a third-round draft pick. He rebounded from his injury to regain his form. Roaf earned All-Pro honors in three of the four seasons he played with the Chiefs. He was a key part of Kansas City’s offensive line that helped the Chiefs lead the NFL in points scored in 2002 and 2003. The club also led the AFC in total yards in 2003 and the NFL in 2004 and 2005.
The 6’5”, 300-pound Roaf retired after the 2005 season. In all, he played in 189 career games over 13 seasons and was named first-team All-NFL seven times (1994-96, 2000, 2003-05), All-NFC six times, and All-AFC three times. He was also voted to 11 Pro Bowls. The only times he did not receive an invitation to the league’s All-Star game during his career was following his rookie year and his injury-shortened 2001 season.
Roaf is also a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s.