Sean Pendergast

If Andre Johnson Doesn't Make the Hall of Fame in 2023, How Long Does He Wait?

If it doesn't happen this year, Andre Johnson may have to wait a while for the call from Canton.
If it doesn't happen this year, Andre Johnson may have to wait a while for the call from Canton. Photo by Eric Sauseda
The Super Bowl is coming up this weekend, and that is, without a doubt, the main event in football this time of year. However, another fun element to the early February calendar each year is the unveiling of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's list of inductees for the upcoming summer. In Houston, we can finally watch it with acute interest, as Andre Johnson, for the last two years, has been a finalist for induction.

Last year represented his first crack at inclusion, and he came up just short, making it to the final ten candidates for entry. This year, it actually increases in degree of difficulty, as there are at least two new candidates on the ballot who are considered locks for induction on their first tries — longtime Cleveland left tackle, Joe Thomas, and shutdown cornerback for three different teams, Darrelle Revis.

Each year, the Hall inducts five modern era candidates, and it's a crowded field for the other three spots. We'll show you the list in just a second, but first, I would point you to a website called "Future Football Legends" that lists the finalists (and future ballot entrants by year) and ranks them by the following "legend point" scoring system:
1 point per Pro Bowl Selection
5 points per 1st Team All-Pro Selection
3 points per 2nd Team All-Pro Selection
15 points per 1st Team All-Decade Selection
9 points per 2nd Team All-Decade Selection
12 points per general All-Decade Selection (no 1st or 2nd Teams designated)
9 points per regular season MVP
8 points per Super Bowl MVP
5 points for non-MVP Super Bowl Winning QBs
1 point per AFL All-Star Team Selection
15 points for AFL All-Time 1st Team
9 points for AFL All-Time 2nd Team
For some context, the website says that a player with more than 50 legend points is a very likely first ballot Hall of Famer, and a player with more than 30 legend points typically makes the Hall of Fame eventually, with slightly lower scores serving as the bar at wide receiver, which is good news for Andre Johnson, who only has 23 legend points.

Here is the list of finalists for 2023 Hall of Fame induction (* denotes first time on the ballot):
* Joe Thomas, CLV,  T, 58 legend points
DeMarcus Ware, DAL OLB, 47 legend points
Zach Thomas, MIA, LB, 47 legend points
Patrick Willis, SF, ILB, 47 legend points
Devin Hester, ATL/CHI,  KR, 43 legend points
* Dwight Freeney, IND, DE, 40 legend points
* Darrelle Revis, NYJ/NE/TB, CB, 39 legend points
Ronde Barber, TB, CB, 35 legend points
Jared Allen, KC/MIN, DE, 25 legend points
Torry Holt, STL/JAC, WR, 24 legend points
Andre Johnson, HOU/IND/TEN, WR, 23 legend points
Willie Anderson, CIN, RT, 22 legend points
Darren Woodson, DAL, S, 20,legend points
Reggie Wayne, IND, WR, 17 legend points
Albert Lewis, KC, CB ,14 legend points
If I had to guess, I would say DeMarcus Ware is a virtual lock to get in this time, and I think Zach Thomas' resume is highly underrated, and he should go in. That leaves one spot for Johnson, who is battling two wide receivers (Wayne, Holt) who've waited longer for induction. In other words, I don't feel great about Johnson's chances.

Let's pretend for a second that Andre Johnson doesn't make it this go round. It makes you start to wonder when he will get in. If we're looking for some sort of benchmark, J.J. Watt becomes eligible for induction in 2028. Does Andre get in before Watt? It sounds crazy to even wonder that, as it feels like he should go in before then, but let's examine closer.

Who are the "locks" to get in on the first ballot in future years? Whoever they are, they are theoretically occupying one of the five spots each year available to Andre Johnson. Let's go year by year for 2024 through 2027. For purposes of this exercise, we will go with just the new names for each year with greater than 20 legend points. (First ballot locks, in my opinion, are in BOLD.)

2024 New Entrants
Julius Peppers, DE, 54 legend points
Antonio Gates, TE, 38 legend points
Eric Berry, S, 32 legend points
Haloti Ngata, DT, 27 legend points

2025 New Entrants
Luke Kuechly, ILB, 50 legend points
Marshal Yanda, G, 45 legend points
Earl Thomas, S, 40 legend points
Adam Vinatieri, K, 33 legend points
Joe Staley, T, 27 legend points
Marshawn Lynch, RB, 25 legend points
Eli Manning, QB, 20 legend points

2025 New Entrants
Maurkice Pouncey C 40
Drew Brees QB 38
Geno Atkins DT 33
Larry Fitzgerald WR 33
Stephen Gostkowski K 29
LeSean McCoy RB 28
Jason Witten TE 27
Frank Gore RB 20

2027 New Entrants
Adrian Peterson RB 57
Antonio Brown WR 42
Richard Sherman CB 38
Rob Gronkowski TE 37
Eric Weddle S 37
Alex Mack C 27

So if there are, in theory, 20 slots available for Johnson to occupy over the next four campaigns, assuming he doesn't get in next week, I think six of them are locks to be occupied by Peppers, Kuechly, Brees, Fitzgerald, Peterson, and Gronkowski. So we're down to fourteen available slots.

Of the remaining players, I believe at least four or five have stronger resumes than Andre Johnson, most notably Gates, Yanda, Thomas, Pouncey, and possibly Richard Sherman. Antonio Brown might, too, but the writers won't put a nut job like Brown in the Hall before a class act like Andre Johnson. My point in all of this is that, not only might Andre Johnson get snubbed next week, but it might be a while before he gets that magical knock at his door.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at, on Instagram at, and like him on Facebook at
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast