Retired Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli has once again been selected as one of the 15 finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This marks the fourth-consecutive year that Boselli has made the Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist list, and possibly the last if he were to be selected on Saturday, February, 1st, 2020 — one day before Super Bowl LIV.
Boselli, the first-first round pick in franchise history, was not only an integral part of the team’s history, but he arguably set the tone for many tackles growing in today’s NFL.
His illustrious seven-year career speaks for itself, Boselli’s accolades include: five Pro Bowls, three first-team All-Pro seasons — earning him a spot on the second team of the 1990s all-decade team — the only 90s all-decade member to not be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Boselli was also the first Jaguars player to be inducted in the Pride of the Jaguars, later joined by original owners Wayne and Delores Weaver, former receiver Jimmy Smith, quarterback Mark Brunell, and running back Fred Taylor. In 2014, Boselli was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame — the 30th USC Trojan to earn such honor.
Joining Boselli on the HOF modern era-finalist list in 2020 are: former Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, Indianapolis Colts running back Edgerrin James, Miami Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas, San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Bryant Young, New England Patriots defensive end/tackle Richard Seymour, Tampa Bay Buccaneers free safety John Lynch (currently the 49ers general manager), Denver Broncos safety Steve Atwater, Green Bay Packers safety LeRoy Butler, Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, St. Louis Rams receiver Torry Holt who played for the Jaguars for one season (2009), Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams receiver Issac Brice, New Orleans Saints linebacker Sam Mills, Steelers guard Alan Faneca, and Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings guard Steve Hutchinson.
Over the years, many former players, coaches, and teammates of Boselli have spoken highly of the former Jaguars left tackle, including Hall of Fame offensive tackle Anthony Muñoz — regarded as the best left tackle to ever play the game of football. Muñoz has repeatedly said that Boselli “is one of the best offensive tackles I have observed.”
On Dec. 28, 1996, the @Jaguars played their first postseason game in franchise history.— Tad Dickman (@TDickman89) January 28, 2020
@TonyBoselli was lined up against the NFL's all-time sack leader, 11-time Pro Bowl DE Bruce Smith, who was held to 0 sacks.
JAX won, 30-27.
Highlights from the game: pic.twitter.com/hbgS9gFx2k
Recently, Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith spoke with Jaguars digital reporter Ashlyn Sullivan. “He was a stud,” Smith told Sullivan. “I think I played against him all three times and he gave me all that I could handle, that’s for sure. So, I’m pulling for Tony... While he was healthy during that era of football, there was none better.” Boselli arguably dominated the best defensive end in history during the prime of his career in 1996.
The caveat of “while he was healthy” has lingered throughout the legend’s Hall of Fame process — unfairly. Boselli only played seven years — 91 games — in the NFL, and was ultimately forced to retire due to a shoulder injury, cutting his career short after being selected by the Houston Texans in the 2002 expansion draft. Boselli never played a down for the Texans. There are, however, multiple players who have been enshrined in the hall of fame with less games such as Broncos running back Terrell Davis (78 games) and Seahawks safety Kenny Easley (89 games).
The year for Boselli to be inducted into the Hall of Fame was frankly the first year he was eligible. Not only has is he one of the most beloved individuals in Jacksonville, currently, Boselli is one of the most respected football players to ever play the game. There have been no disagreements about where he belongs by any of the legends that have spoken out as a show of support.
Ultimately, Boselli hopes to finally be enshrined this year, and has made an argument as to why he is deserving. This year, Boselli told Clark Judge of SI’s Talk of Fame Network that there is some anxiety and excitement involved, but once again the accolades speak for themselves, especially during the era of football Boselli played in. Players such as Jonathan Ogden, Walter Jones, Orlando Pace and Willie Roaf played with Boselli, yet he was selected as first-team All Pro ahead of them for three seasons.
“Hopefully, this is the year,” Boselli told Judge. “I’m trying to have positive thoughts.”