The Pro Football Hall of Fame just announced their Class of 2021 Semifinalists and included on the Tuesday list are two former Pittsburgh Steelers players, guard Alan Faneca and wide receiver Hines Ward.
BREAKING: 4 first-year eligible players are among the list of 25 Modern-Era Player Semifinalists for the Class of 2021.
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) November 24, 2020
For Faneca, who played 10 seasons with the Steelers after being selected by them in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft out of LSU, this is the sixth consecutive year that he’s been a semifinalists. He has been a finalists the five previous years. Faneca played a total of 13 years in the NFL and was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and six-time First-Team All-Pro selection.
As for Ward, who played all 14 years of his NFL career in Pittsburgh after being selected by the Steelers in the third-round of the 1998 NFL Draft out of Georgia, this is the fifth consecutive year that he’s been a semifinalists. He has never been a finalists, however. Ward, who was named MVP of Super Bowl XL, was a four-time Pro Bowl selection during his NFL career.
When the 15 Modern Era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021 are announced, that list figures to include three first-ballot types on this year’s semifinalists list in the form of quarterback Peyton Manning, defensive back Charles Woodson and wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Manning’s a lock to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer and odds are probably pretty good that Woodson will be as well. As for Johnson, the early buzz is that he’ll also have a great shot at getting into Canton on his first try.
Will Faneca get one of the final five Modern Era spots? We’ll see as he once again has a much better shot than Ward does. At the very least, Faneca should be a finalists once again. The Hall of Fame Selection Committee will hold their annual meeting the Saturday before the Super Bowl. The finalists will go from 15 to 10, and then down to five. The Class of 2021 will be announced during the ‘NFL Honors’ show that evening.
The Steelers have three members of the Class of 2020, which is the Hall of Fame’s Centennial Class, including Bill Cowher, Troy Polamalu and Donnie Shell. All three were to have been enshrined in August, but that ceremony will now take place in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 Hall of Fame Weekend will take place Aug. 5-8, 2021 in Canton, Ohio. The Steelers will play in the Hall of Fame game on Thursday, Aug. 5, against the Dallas Cowboys after the 2020 game was canceled. The Class of 2020 will be enshrined on Saturday, Aug. 7 and the Class of 2021 on Sunday, Aug. 8.