Former LSU great Johnny Robinson is one important step closer to putting on that gold jacket reserved for the greatest players in pro football history.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame senior committee on Friday met in Canton, Ohio, and selected Robinson as the lone senior finalist for the Class of 2019. His name goes forward among a list of finalists to be considered by the overall Hall of Fame selection committee, which will meet in Atlanta before Super Bowl LIII.
The Class of 2019 will be announced there Feb. 2. Robinson, 79, has been invited to attend.
"I'm thrilled to my bones," Robinson told Pro Football Hall of Fame president Dave Baker after he called Robinson from Canton with the news. "I just want to thank the committee for selecting me, and I hope that I will be a good member of the Hall of Fame."
A standout on LSU's 1958 national championship team and at University High, Robinson played from 1960-71 for the Kansas City Chiefs. He was a six-time All-Pro selection and is one of two players to lead the old American Football League and the NFL in interceptions in 1966 and 1970, respectively.
Robinson is still tied for 13th in pro football history with 57 interceptions. He is also just one of four six-time All-Pros who are eligible for the Hall of Fame not yet inducted, a list that also includes former LSU and Pittsburgh Steelers guard Alan Faneca.
Robinson was a six-time Hall of Fame finalist after his career ended but eventually exhausted his opportunities and had to wait for selection by the senior committee, which votes on players who have been out of the game for at least 25 years.
Todd Tobias, who runs a website called TalesFromtheAmericanFootballLeague.com, has been championing Robinson's case for enshrinement in Canton, Ohio. He called Robinson the best player from the AFL's decade of existence (1960-69) not in the hall.
Tobias said the overall Hall of Fame selection committee is not required to select the senior committee's finalist, but he believes with a backlog of other worthy senior candidates it is unlikely Robinson will be passed over. He must get 80 percent of the vote to be selected.
Though that threshold is high, past history indicates Robinson's chances are very good. The Hall of Fame has enshrined at least one senior committee nominee every year dating back to 1976. That was the last year a former LSU player, Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints fullback Jimmy Taylor, was enshrined.
The late Y.A. Tittle and Steve Van Buren from LSU are also in the hall.