With Tom Brady returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, that means he will no longer be eligible for the 2027 Pro Football Hall of Fame class. That, in turn, means that Ben Roethlisberger will likely get into the Hall of Fame as the face of a strong class instead of playing second fiddle to the man who has been a thorn in Roethlisberger’s side his whole career.
It’s likely that both Roethlisberger and Brady will be elected to the Hall of Fame on their first ballots, given their credentials. After Brady announced his retirement, many speculated that the 2027 class could be the best in history. In addition to Roethlisberger and Brady, players such as Richard Sherman, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski and Adrian Peterson were being speculated as first ballot inductees to join them.
It is unknown if any of those four players will retire this off-season, though with Brown and Peterson’s off-the-field issues, it is expected that they do. As far as Gronkowski goes with Brady coming back, it now seems unlikely that Gronkowski retires.
Still, the 2027 class could be one to remember. It is possible that Roethlisberger could get into the Hall of Fame with his longtime center and best friend Maurkice Pouncey, who is first eligible in 2026 and is unlikely to get in on his first ballot. Steelers legend James Harrison, who is first eligible in 2023, could also join Roethlisberger in that class.
Other notable potential inclusions are the two other members of that historic 2003 NFL draft quarterback class Eli Manning (2025) and Philip Rivers (2026) provided neither get in on their first ballots. Luke Kuechly (2025), Adam Vinatieri (2025), Marshawn Lynch (2025), LeSean McCoy (2026) and Jason Witten (2026) are others that could also fall to the 2027 class.