This coming summer is already shaping up to be an extra special and memorable one for fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Hall of Fame’s centennial blue-ribbon panel voted former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher into Canton recently and that decision was surprisingly announced on Saturday during halftime of the Divisional Round playoff game between with Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens. With Cowher now safely in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, there’s probably now a good chance that the blue-ribbon panel will soon follow with the selection of former Steelers safety Donnie Shell.
Add in the fact that former Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and guard Alan Faneca both seemingly have great shots at being voted into Canton by the regular Hall of Fame committee in the coming weeks and the prospects of a dream come true for Steelers fans could be realized in Canton, OH and Latrobe, PA later this summer.
Assuming the Steelers are ultimately represented by more than just Cowher during this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame’s centennial class induction, there’s a good chance that the team will be asked to play in the annual preseason game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium as well. If that’s what ultimately transpires, the Steelers annual training camp in Latrobe will start sometime in the middle of July, a week or so earlier than usual.
The Steelers last played in the annual Hall of Fame game in 2015, when running back Jerome Bettis was inducted into Canton.
Let’s also not forget that the Steelers are probably the odds-on favorites to be chosen to be the team documented throughout training camp and the preseason on HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks.’ Should that ultimately be the case, the summer would set up to be one full of Steelers coverage staring in mid-July and running through all the preseason.
On Wednesday of next week, we’ll find out if the Hall of Fame’s centennial blue-ribbon panel voted Shell into Canton this year. And just ahead of Super Bowl LIV being played in Miami three weeks from today we’ll find out if Polamalu and Faneca will both be members of the 2020 Hall of Fame class as well. Having four of this year’s 20-member Hall of Fame class would be monumental for any Steelers fan and worth a trip to Canton to watch the induction ceremonies.
A month or so ahead of the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions taking place in Canton should be the announcement by the NFL and HBO as to which team will be documented this summer on Hard Knocks. If the Steelers are chosen to be that team on the heels of three or four former members of the organization being voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the stage will then be set for a tremendous and interesting rest of the summer for followers of the Black and Gold.