The Pittsburgh Steelers have been making a habit over the course of the past two offseasons of drawing headlines while the playoffs are still going on. Fortunately, the headlines in 2020 are much more positive and celebratory than the silliness and shenanigans of yesteryear.
Already this offseason, the organization has received the good news that they will be entering at least two new members into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, with potentially two others to come. Head coach Bill Cowher and safety Donnie Shell were both named as part of the Centennial Slate, while both safety Troy Polamalu and guard Alan Faneca are among the 15 finalists for the five spots for modern candidates.
Said Steelers President Art Rooney II about the whirlwind of the past week, “I’ve been on cloud nine over the last few days. Hearing about Donnie this morning was a great way to get the day started, and really long overdue”. He added that Shell was “somebody we felt like should’ve been in there a long time ago. Just been really, it’s been an emotional time”.
“I talked to Bill on the phone the other night. Just so happy for those guys. When you see the work that people like that put into being successful here, it’s just great to see them rewarded in this way. It’ll be an exciting Summer, going to the Hall of Fame”.
Can you imagine watching four members of the Steelers going into the Hall of Fame in one year? I imagine there will be a major black and gold presence in Canton in August. Especially since, chances are, the Steelers will be asked to play in the Hall of Fame game.
Cowher turned around a franchise that was starting to lose its path in Chuck Noll’s final season, and was finally able to cap off his career with a late Super Bowl title, the first for the franchise in 25 years at that time. Shell was perhaps the single most underrated player of their dynasty era.
“It’s great. The guys that we have in there have all been, really, major contributors”, he said of those two getting in, “and this year looks like it could be very special with two guys already going in, and then hopefully two more coming along here Super Bowl weekend. It’s gonna be a lot of fun, a very special year having these guys be recognized for their great contributions”.
The Steelers now have 23 major contributors in the Hall of Fame, and counting, and they should be adding at least one more this year, I would expect. Only the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears, who of the original franchises, have more. The Bears have 30, while the Packers have 26, following the Centennial Slate additions (the Bears had two—Jim Covert and Ed Sprinkle—while the Packers had one—Bobby Dillon).