In honor of the NFL's centennial, the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2020 will have 20 enshrinees, half of whom will be senior candidates.

CANTON  Get ready, Canton. Next year, there will be twice as many football greats to celebrate.

In honor of the NFL's centennial, the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2020 will have 20 enshrinees, half of whom will be senior candidates.

The recognition of the expanded class will divided between the annual enshrinement festival at the end of the summer and the NFL's Centennial Celebration in Canton, which is planned for the days around Sept. 17, 2020.

The news has been expected for weeks but was made official Friday, following a unanimous vote of the Hall's Board of Trustees.

The idea behind the larger class — which is 2 1/2 times the size of the Class of 2019 — is to clear up what's viewed among the Hall's selectors as a backlog of worthy candidates. It would be a one-time-only deal, to conclude the NFL's 100th season.

"We think it's going to be very, very exciting," Hall President and CEO David Baker said at a press conference Friday.

Here's how the class will be made up:

• 5 modern-era candidates (This category would be handled exactly as it is now, with the number of candidates being whittled down to 15 before Selection Saturday.)

• 10 senior candidates (The Hall's definition of a senior candidate is one whose active career ended 25 years ago or more.)

• 3 contributors

• 2 coaches (This will be a special category for the 2020 enshrinement.)

The candidates for the senior, contributor and coaches categories will be selected by a special "blue ribbon committee." That committee's recommendations then will be presented to the full selection committee on Selection Saturday before Super Bowl 54 in Miami.

The selectors have had discussions during the past year about the feasibility of vetting and electing such a large class.

"I'm very convinced that those that are selectors, they don't think anybody's going to make it who shouldn't be there," Baker said.

Because there will be so many people to recognize, the enshrinements will be split between the festival and the later centennial celebration. Baker said the actual split will be determined by who's in the class and he expects much of the Class of 2020 to participate in the centennial celebration.

It's expected a number of the 2020 enshrinees would be being recognized posthumously.

Reach Alison at 330-580-8312 or alison.matas@cantonrep.com.

On Twitter: @amatasREP