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Hall Of Fame Expected To Have ‘Centennial Class’ To Address Backlog Of Senior Candidates (Like Donnie Shell)

Donnie Shell

The NFL is looking to go all out to celebrate its centennial anniversary. And the Pro Football Hall of Fame is looking to join them in that celebration. In honor of the 100th year of the game, it is being reported that Canton has agreed in principle to a centennial class of Hall of Famers that will be elected in addition to the standard class for 2020.

This comes from Joe Horrigan himself, who served as the Hall of Fame’s executive director for over 40 percent of the game’s history, 42 years, before retiring recently. He told Clark Judge of the Talk of Fame Network that it’s “going to happen”.

The only thing that needs to be work out is, you know, all the details. Who will be included, how many members of the class there will be, who will be electing them. Just small little details that can be ironed out over the course of time.

But it’s expected that, whatever the number amounts to, it will come from the senior candidates and contributors. The senior candidates are those whose standard eligibility for the Hall of Fame has passed by, and they can only be elected if nominated as one of two potential senior candidates for every class.

Part of the idea behind this plan is to help take a bite out of the logjam of former players deserving of the Hall of Fame who have yet to be enshrined, chiefly coming from the bygone eras of the game. And it’s not hard to think of a couple of former Pittsburgh Steelers players, like Donnie Shell and L.C. Greenwood, who might stand to benefit from this.

Shell and Greenwood were both multiple-time All-Pro players at their respective positions of safety and defensive end on the Steelers’ defense during their heyday of the 1970s. Both of them helped the Steelers win four Super Bowl titles in a six-year span.

Many—at least those in Pittsburgh—believe that there is a bias against the Steelers of this era because so many are already in the Hall of Fame. That list includes cornerback Mel Blount, defensive tackle Joe Greene, linebackers Jack Ham and Jack Lambert, quarterback Terry Bradshaw, running back Franco Harris, wide receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, and center Mike Webster. Their head coach, Chuck Noll, is also enshrined.

Frankly, I think this is a great idea that the Hall of Fame should do more than once every 100 years. Perhaps once a decade, or at least once every 25 years. There are still plenty of players who deserve to live to see the day that they are enshrined, something that unfortunately is too late for Greenwood.

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