UNITY TWP, Pa. — The Steelers make a point to try to represent as many different eras of their rich history as possible with each Hall of Honor class. This year’s class filled that objective perfectly with Elbie Nickel (1947-57), Larry Brown (1971-84), Bill Cowher (1992-2006), Hines Ward (1998-2014) joining the ranks of legends.
Among the highlights from the announcement ceremony, which took place on the second day of training camp at St. Vincent’s College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, was Larry Brown, who many fans may remember from his famous Super Bowl catch as a tight end, explaining his transition to offensive tackle in the middle of his career.
Team president Art Rooney II spoke about the difficulty in selecting which players to immortalize in the Hall of Honor. He even turned to Brown and reiterated how it’s especially tough to pick between players who played most of their careers in the 1970’s.
Merril Hoge hosted ceremony, joking with those in attendance about the weight of the steel football trophy each inductee receives.
Ben Roethlisberger Sets Steelers Games Played Record
PITTSBURGH — Ben Roethlisberger is the Steelers’ new ironman.
Roethlisberger broke a team record during Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans at Heinz Field by suiting up for his 221st game. He broke the team record of 220 games played that had been held by center Mike Webster since 1988.
Roethlisberger was the Steelers first-round pick in the 2004 NFL Draft and has spent his entire career in Pittsburgh. The 38-year-old passer set the Steelers’ record for seasons played in 2019 with his 16th season played and is now in his 17th season.
He’s won two Super Bowls with the team, has been selected to six Pro Bowls and has twice led the NFL in passing yards.
He is the Steelers’ all-time leader in passing yards, entering the 2020 season with 56,545, nearly double that of second-place Terry Bradshaw. Nine of the 10 best passing seasons and nine of the 10 best passing games in team history belong to Roethlisberger.
He also holds the team career record for highest completion percentage, passer rating and touchdown passes.
Polamalu, Lloyd Headline 2020 Steelers Hall of Honor Class
The Steelers announced James Farrior, Greg Lloyd, Troy Polamalu, Mike Wagner and Dwight White will join their Hall of Honor.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 26, 2020
Polamalu, who will officially be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next year, will now also headline this Steelers Hall of Honor class. The team’s first-round pick in 2013 out of USC, Polamalu is widely regarded as one of the best safeties of all-time. He was named to eight Pro Bowls, four First-Team All-Pro teams, and won the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2010. The safety known for his high-flying style also earned two Super Bowl rings in his 12 seasons in Pittsburgh.
Greg Lloyd served a pivotal role in the Steelers defenses of the 90s. Lloyd recorded 53.5 sacks, 34 fumbles. His best seasons came from 1993-1995, each of which earned him First-Team All-Pro recognition.
Linebacker James Farrior signed with the Steelers as a free agent in 2002. He won two Super Bowls and was named First-Team All-Pro in 2004.
Mike Wagner and Dwight “Mad Dog” White provide the “Steel Curtain” era of the 1970’s representation in this year’s class. Wagner and White were both part of 4 Super Bowl championship teams during their decade with the Steelers. Statistically, Wagner recorded 36 interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries while White ranks 10th in franchise history with 46 sacks.
It was an honor to play with some of these greats!! This class is more than deserving, these men are leaders who set the example.
— Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) September 26, 2020
In 2017, the Steelers opened their Hall of Honor and inducted 24 inaugural members. They then added five more inductees the next year. Four new members joined last season.
Six Steelers Nominated for Hall of Fame Class of 2021
Former Steelers Gary Anderson, Alan Faneca, Casey Hampton, Heath Miller, Joey Porter and Hines Ward are among the modern era nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021.
Miller was nominated in his first season of eligibility, while Faneca is a five-time finalist and Ward is a five-time semifinalist.
In total, there are 130 nominees, which will be trimmed to 25 semifinalists in November and 15 finalists in January before the five-man Class of 2021 is selected the day before Super Bowl LV in February.
Anderson spent 13 seasons kicking with the Steelers from 1982-94 and is the team’s all-time leading scorer with 1,343 points. He’s the only Pittsburgh player to score more than 1,000 career points and is also the team’s leader in career field goals made (309) and points after touchdown (416). He was a four-time Pro Bowlers, a three-time All-Pro and a member of the NFL’s 1980s and 1990s All-Decade Teams.
Faneca played guard for the Steelers from 1998-2007 after being selected by the team in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft out of LSU. Faneca was one of the most dominant offensive linemen of his era, and was chosen to participate in nine Pro Bowls and was an eight-time All-Pro. He is a member of the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team and won Super Bowl XL with the Steelers.
Hampton came to Pittsburgh three years later, in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft out of Texas. The big nose tackle spent 12 seasons in Black and Gold, winning Super Bowls XL and XLIII. Hampton was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and is a member of the Steelers’ All-Time Team.
Miller retired in 2015 after a 13-year run as the Steelers’ starting tight end after being the team’s 2005 first-round pick out of Virginia. Miller is eligible to be elected for the first time. He is a two-time Pro Bowler and a two-time Super Bowl champion.
Porter spent seven seasons with the Steelers from 1999-2006 and became one of the team’s most popular and most-feared outside linebackers. Porter recorded 60 quarterback sacks in 121 career games, ending his Steelers tenure as the second-most proficient pass rusher in team history. He was a four-time Pro Bowler, a four-time All-Pro and a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. After his retirement, Porter coached with the Steelers from 2014-18.
Ward’s 14-year NFL career was spent carving out a role as one of the most physical players on the Steelers, even as a wide receiver. 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.
Additionally, punter Rohn Stark, who spent most of his career with the Indianapolis Colts but played the 1995 season in Pittsburgh, was nominated.
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 players to be inducted were linebacker Kevin Greene and defensive back and assistant coach Tony Dungy in 2016.