The Pittsburgh Steelers had three individuals named as part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2020, including two members inducted as part of the ‘centennial slate’. Troy Polamalu headlined the list of modern candidates as a first-ballot player. One of his predecessors, safety Donnie Shell, joined him as a senior candidate, and his first head coach in the NFL, Bill Cowher, was also selected.
They are all, of course, awaiting the opportunity to be formally enshrined, as the proceedings this year, which were set to take place in the first week of August, had to be postponed due to the coronavirus. The Hall of Fame did not want to hold the ceremony if it could not be done in their traditional fashion, so they elected to wait.
Perhaps they will add another member to the list in 2021—or even two. Bill Nunn was selected as the contributor candidate to be considered for enshrinement next year, and the odds are good that he receives the necessary votes to be included. One year in the near future, guard Alan Faneca is going to get in as well. If not this year, then in the next, or the year after.
Steelers president Art Rooney II recently talked about Nunn’s selection and the prospect of his being inducted in 2021 during an interview on Steelers Nation Radio. “We’re really excited that Bill has been nominated, and we are hearing good things about the likelihood that he will be voted in”, he said. “I don’t want to jinx anything, of course, or take anything for granted, because the voters have to do their job”.
“But certainly Bill and his contributions to the Steelers and the game of football deserve to be recognized in Canton”, he added, “and we’re very excited and hopeful that that’s gonna happen next Summer—as well as some other Steelers going in with them”.
Nunn left an incredible legacy on the history of the NFL as first an amateur and then a professional scout. Even before the Steelers hired him, his influence as a local reporter who specialized in broadcasting the talents of players in Historically Black Colleges and Universities helped pave the way for their being recognized, and led to a number of Hall of Fame careers as notable as Deacon Jones.
Both his scouting ability and his pulse on the circuit helped lead to the Steelers acquiring an incredible amount of talent during the 1970s from HCBUs that helped build a dynasty, from John Stallworth and Mel Blount to Donnie Shell and half of the Steel Curtain.
Plain and simply, Nunn’s story as an NFL contributor deserves to be better-known. There may be few people who had a larger impact on the game whom people generally don’t know. His recognition as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame will help to change that and would honor his legacy in an appropriate way—after all, many players he’s credited in scouting and drafting are already in there.