Five Steelers are going to be enshrined into this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. It is going to be a sellout crowd at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame stadium for the first time in two years, as the HOF enshrinement was cancelled last year due to Covid-19. In 2020, Bill Cowher, Donnie Shell, and Troy Polamalu were elected into the HOF. This year, Alan Faneca and Bill Nunn were elected and will join the other 3 on the special weekend.
The 2020 class will be enshrined on Saturday August 7 and the 2021 class will be enshrined on Sunday August 8. To kick off the weekend, the Steelers and Cowboys will be playing in the Hall of Fame game on Thursday August 5. Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker had these words about getting the HOF back into a normal schedule…“I think we will be in position to have a full stadium for the first time in almost two years,” Baker told the Post-Gazette on Thursday. “We talk to the governor’s office, state and county officials. They say by the end of May, everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one. The numbers are down. We want this game and this weekend to help kick-start the nation and get it going again.”
There will be no shortage of black and gold in the crowds during the HOF weekend. Steelers from nearly every era will be represented. Bill Nunn helped the Steelers build a complete dynasty in the 1970s due to his ability to gather talent from primarily black colleges and universities. Donnie Shell who is also getting inducted, is one of those players that Nunn was able to scout out. Shell was an undrafted free agent from South Carolina and went on to win 4 Super Bowls with the Steelers.
Bill Cowher coached the Steelers for 15 years (1992-2006) and won the franchise’s 5th Super Bowl trophy in the 2005-2006 season. Alan Faneca and Troy Polamalu were among some of the key players that Cowher coached during the Steeler’s SB run in 2006. Baker stated “To have five members of one organization go in on the same weekend is incredible. The biggest party in Pittsburgh in quite some time will actually be in Canton.”.
Baker was most excited to tell Alan Faneca that he had been elected into the Pro Football HOF. For the last 6 years, he had to pick up the phone and tell Faneca that he didn’t make it. This year, he was able to spread the great news with the all pro offensive lineman.
Bill Nunn is going to be the first African-American contributor elected into the Pro Football HOF. Baker shared a cool moment from when he informed Nunn’s daughter Lynelle about the great news. “She cried,” Baker said. “She said, “‘This is such great news. My mom is in hospice.’ She went to see her mom to tell her the news, and she said her mom smiled. She said that was the last time she smiled. It means a lot to the family, but it should mean a lot to all men and women of color.”
What a weekend it is going to be for the City of Pittsburgh!