Former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and guard Alan Faneca were both named Thursday as two of the 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020.
Polamalu, who is a first-time eligible finalists, was selected by the Steelers in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft, the 16th pick overall, out of USC. He went on to play 12 seasons in Pittsburgh and his career ended with him being a two-time Super Bowl champion, a four-time first team All-Pro selection, a two-time second team All-Pro selection, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2010), an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team and Steelers All-Time Team.
In his 12 seasons with the Steelers, Polamalu recorded 32 total regular season interceptions in addition to three more in the playoffs. He registered 14 forced fumbles and recovered seven total fumbles. Five of those regular season takeaways that Polamalu registered during his career in Pittsburgh he returned for touchdowns and he also returned one for a score in a playoff game. He is credited with making 778 total regular season tackles during his career and 12 total sacks.
As for Faneca, he has been a finalists the last four years. Faneca, who was originally selected 13th overall by the Steelers in the 1998 NFL Draft, was a six-time All-Pro selection during his 13-year NFL career. He was also was selected to nine Pro Bowls and named to the Steelers All-Time Team in 2007 and the NFL 2000’s All-Decade Team.
Faneca played 10 years with the Steelers before rounding out his career with the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals. He won one Super Bowl with the Steelers in 2005.
Former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, who was a Hall of Fame semifinalists again this year, failed to make it past that stage in 2020.
The Hall of Fame Board recently passed a resolution that suspended the Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee Bylaws for the Class of 2020 election cycle only. The measure is intended to honor the NFL’s Centennial Celebration through a special Centennial Class that will be comprised of 20 members in 2020. The group will include five Modern-Era players to come from the list announced today in addition to 10 Seniors (a player who has been retired for more than 25 seasons), three Contributors (an individual other than a player or coach) and two Coaches.
The 15 Modern-Era finalists will next be presented to the full 48-member Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee during its annual meeting on “Selection Saturday,” on Feb. 1, 2020, the day before Super Bowl LIV. The Selection Committee will elect five Modern-Era players for the Class of 2020.
The determination of the Seniors, Contributors and Coaches will be made by a special 25-person Centennial “Blue-Ribbon” Panel who will review the backlog of deserving Seniors, Coaches and Contributors. The Blue-Ribbon Panel is comprised of Hall of Fame Selectors, Pro Football Hall of Famers, media members, football historians and industry experts.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020 will be introduced during NFL Honors, a two-hour primetime awards special to air nationally on the eve of Super Bowl LIV at 9 p.m. (ET and PT) on FOX. NFL Honors will be taped earlier that evening at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami when the Hall of Fame’s Centennial Class of 2020 will be brought together for the first time. In addition, the NFL and The Associated Press will announce their annual accolades in this awards show with the winners on hand to accept their awards.
The Centennial Class of 2020 will be formally enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame during the annual Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls from Aug. 6-9, 2020 and the Centennial Celebration in Canton on Sept. 16-19, 2020.