With the NFL intending to add 10 senior players to the Hall of Fame in 2019 as part of their centennial class, the chances of several former Pittsburgh Steelers finally hearing their named called is better than ever. And with a number of iconic players from the teams of the 1970’s still yet to join their teammates in Canton, there are plenty of worthy candidates vying for inclusion in this bumper class.
Near the top of that list after names like L.C. Greenwood is former safety Donnie Shell, a defensive back who was part of all four Super Bowl wins in the 70’s and someone who Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy spoke up for on Thursday via social media.
Donnie Shell should be included in any discussion of Seniors for the HOF. 5 straight Pro Bowls, 3X First Team All Pro, 4 SB Rings, 51 INT, 19 Fumble Recoveries. Overlooked because of 9 teammates who are in and the fact that his career split 70’s and 80’s so no All Decade Team. https://t.co/mW6zEtTx0z— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) July 4, 2019
Responding to an article by Clark Judge of Talk Fame Sport listing 14 players the nine man Hall of Fame seniors committee saw as the leading candidates for inclusion this year, Dungy was understandably disturbed to note that Shell was not one of them. As per Clark.
“If it were left to the seniors committee, the first candidates off the shelves would be Duke Slater and Maxie Baughan, with Alex Karras, Cliff Branch and Ken Riley not far behind. Others like Drew Pearson, Al Wistert, Randy Gradishar, Mike Curtis, Jimbo Covert, Tommy Nobis, Joe Klecko, Chuck Howley and Cliff Harris were mentioned, too.”
Given the long list of accolades that Dungy notes in his post, the only conceivable reason that Shell is still waiting for his enshrinement is the ridiculous concern that some voters seem to have about the number of Pittsburgh players already in Canton. Rather than vote on merit, it appears the desire to see all 32 teams well represented has led to some questionable decisions over the years.
Sadly, it is this same bias that has prevented L.C. Greenwood from earning his rightful place in the Hall of Fame and will most likely hinder the chances of Hines Ward, Alan Faneca and quite possibly even Troy Polamalu when he becomes eligible next year.