The Pittsburgh Steelers currently have 24 players enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Quite the number, and why Steelers fans love to joke about how the Hall of Fame needs it’s own “Steelers Wing”. It is also the reason why many believe there is an anti-Steelers bias with the committee based on how many members of the black and gold already have busts in Canton, OH.
As the Hall of Fame takes all of the eligible players and slowly gets the list down to the 15 finalists, there were two former Pittsburgh players vying to get enshrined. One, former guard Alan Faneca, had already reached this stage before, while the other, former wide receiver Hines Ward, was getting his first taste of the experience as this was his first year of eligibility.
Faneca was named a finalist, but Ward was left on the outside, looking in.
For Ward, although disappointing, this had to almost feel expected. Despite having the numbers and accolades attached to his resume, Ward wasn’t the flashy, high-flying player who typically gets that type of recognition in their first year of eligibility. Instead, Ward was the type of player penalties were named after. A true throwback in the modern era of the NFL.
Although many, myself included, feel Ward will eventually get into the Hall of Fame, it might take time — just like it did for Jerome Bettis.
However, as Ward waits, Faneca hopes to be the next member of the Steelers to get their gold jacket. The Hall of Fame committee will vote in as many as five modern-era players on the day before Super Bowl LI (Feb. 4) in Houston. The finalists will go from 15 to 10, and then down to no more than five.
See below for the full list of finalists: