Steelers wide receiver great Hines Ward was not selected as a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021.
It’s the fifth consecutive year that Ward has been a semifinalist, but failed to make the cut as a finalist. The 15 finalists were chosen from a pool of 25 semifinalists. The final vote on the Class of 2021 will be made on the Saturday before the Super Bowl.
The Korean-born Ward won two Super Bowls with Pittsburgh and was the MVP of Super Bowl XL after his game-sealing touchdown reception. His impact as a blocker was so well-known that the NFL changed its rules to prevent blindside blocks downfield, which has come to be known as the Hines Ward Rule. Ward was named to four Pro Bowls, was a three-time All-Pro and is on the Steelers’ All-Time Team.
Ward was among six Steelers players nominated in the class. Guard Alan Faneca remains in the running. Kicker Gary Anderson, nose tackle Casey Hampton, tight end Heath Miller and outside linebacker Joey Porter did not advance to the second round of the process, as the 130 nominees were trimmed to 25 semifinalists.
Wide receivers Torry Holt of the St. Louis Rams, Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions and Reggie Wayne of the Indianapolis Colts advanced to the final round of voting.
Former Steelers scout Bill Nunn was already selected as the contributor finalist in the Class of 2021.
The Steelers have three members in the Hall of Fame Class of 2020: safeties Troy Polamalu and Donnie Shell and former head coach Bill Cowher. The enshrinement of that class has been delayed until August 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Class of 2020 will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio on Aug. 7, 2021, while the Class of 2021 will be celebrated on Aug. 8, 2021.
The most recent Steelers to be inducted were late linebacker Kevin Greene and defensive back and assistant coach Tony Dungy in 2016.