Pittsburgh has several players who could hear their names called to the Canton Hall of Fame this year. Here’s why the 2020 Hall of Fame class could headline the Steelers.
Steelers Nation was shocked on Saturday when former head coach Bill Cowher was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame while working on live television for CBS. Cowher was Pittsburgh’s head coach for 15 years from 1992 to 2006. But the prolific NFL coach may not be the only ex-Steeler member joining him in Canton this year.
Three former Steelers players (including two players that he coached and drafted) could be making a reunion with the former head coach. In addition to Cowher’s 2020 entrance into the Hall of Fame, Troy Polamalu, Alan Faneca, and Donnie Shell will have a chance to join him this year.
Polamalu headlines a talented list of Hall of Fame nominees for 2020. The former 4-time All-Pro and 8-time Pro Bowl safety is believed by many to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and the most likely Steeler to be inducted this year.
Polamalu played the game like no other – using his elite athletic traits and unmatched intuition to make plays most other defenders could only dream of. Though he guessed wrong on occasion, Polamalu was a player who needed to be accounted for at all times by opposing quarterbacks. His reckless and violent play style caused him to be banged up for much of his career, but he had an unnatural ability to take the ball away and always seemed to come up big in clutch moments.
In 2010, Polamalu was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. He recorded 7 interceptions in just 14 games and help lead his team to a Super Bowl appearance against the Green Bay Packers.
Former All-Pro guard, Alan Faneca, is another player that will have a chance to join his former head coach in the Hall of Fame this year. Unlike Polamalu, this is Faneca’s 5th time as a finalist for the Hall of Fame. Faneca made the Pro Bowl 9 straight years from 2001 to 2009 and was a first-team All-Pro player 6 times throughout his 13-year career. His biggest competition to get in this year is with fellow guard, Steve Hutchinson. Hutchinson is a 3-time finalist who followed a very similar career path to Faneca.
Although Donnie Shell played for the Steelers long before Bill Cowher became Pittsburgh’s head coach, he may have a chance to join a few members of the black and gold in Canton this year. Shell had a healthy 14-year career that consisted of 7 Pro Bowls and 5 All-Pros. He was part of all four Super Bowl-wins in the ’70s for Pittsburgh, and he played for the Steelers his entire professional career.
Not all of these Steeler nominees are going to join the great Bill Cowher in the Hall of Fame this year. However, if Polamalu and Alan Faneca make it in the same year, it will be a reunion in Canton for some of the all-time great Pittsburgh Steelers.