Cowher is eligible for the first time, as are players Keyshawn Johnson, Tiki Barber, Drew Bledsoe, Stephen Davis, Rod Smith, Will Shields, Troy Vincent and Mike Vanderjagt.
In 2008, the Hall of Fame made it mandatory for coaches, like players, to be retired five consecutive seasons. Before that, coaches were eligible immediately upon retirement, allowing Parcells to be a nominee in 2001, 2002, and 2003, and Schottenheimer in 2000. This is their first year of eligibility under the new provision.
Altogether, 103 men are eligible; voting will take place in February the day before the Super Bowl in Indianapolis. From the original list of nominees, the selection committee will choose 25 semifinalists in November. That group of semifinalists will be further reduced by a mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists and announced in early January.
The final list of candidates also will include two senior nominees: former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Jack Butler and former Detroit Lions guard Dick Stanfel.
Between four and seven enshrinees will be announced on Feb. 4, and will be inducted in August.