The Pittsburgh Steelers have two players waiting for the Hall of Fame and another one coming shortly. But when will Canton see it’s next Steeler?
Now that the dust has settled on the 2018-19 NFL Season, we can now take time to digest the other news of the week: The Hall of Fame. The 2019 class featured many former greats, including Pittsburgh native Ty Law, but a major miss was Alan Faneca.
Recently, there has also been a ton, too much in fact, of talk on whether or not Julian Edelmann is worthy of being in Canton. We are always prisoners of the moment and this falls in line with that. In my opinion, he should currently not be considered a hall of famer. In this era when offense is king and passing numbers are inflated compared to prior generations, his stats do not equate to the status of Hall of Famer. This of course, assumes he will not put up another good-great 5-7 years, because then yes, he would be one of the best.
These conversations also got me thinking as to who are the next Steelers to have their name enshrined. Here are the Steelers I can see getting in next and the class they will be part of:
Class of 2020. He should have gotten in this year. With his career accomplishments, he will get in. Steve Hutchinson will be eligible for the first time next year, so that may cause pause for some voters as to which guard was better, but I still think Faneca gets in.
Class of 2020. It would be a shock if Polamalu isn’t a first ballot Hall-of-Famer. With Ed Reed getting in this year, that paves the way for Polamalu to get in next year. Reed and Polamalu had similar impact, on similar teams, in the same era. There is no doubting the greatness of Polamalu, his big play ability and the way he made teams require to game plan for him.
Class of 2022, maybe. If the two, Polamalu and Faneca, get in next year, Ward would most certainly not make it with them. That moves him to 2021, and looking at the other wide receivers eligible that year, most notably Calvin Johnson, that seems unlikely as well.
After those two, maybe three, it gets bleak. You wouldn’t consider many of the early 2000’s Steelers Hall of Famers. Those teams were made up of good, not great, players. Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel, James Farrior, Heath Miller, Ryan Clark, Joey Porter, James Harrison, etc. and none of those players, with the exception of Harrison, were considered the best at their position in any given year.
The next worthy ones are still playing. Ben Roethlisberger will be in 5-6 years after he retires (pending others ahead of him) and, I hate to say it because he has become the most despised Pittsburgh sports star, Antonio Brown.