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Pro Football Hall of Fame

Saunders: Maurkice Pouncey Building Hall of Fame Credentials

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Is Maurkice Pouncey a future Hall of Famer?

It’s not really fair to judge a player’s career through such a lens until it’s over, but as he enters his 11th season with the Steelers, Pouncey’s career is far closer to its end than its beginning. It’s natural at this stage to wonder what’s left for the decorated leader of Pittsburgh’s offensive line to prove.

Pouncey has made eight Pro Bowls in his 10 years with the Steelers, and five times has been selected as an NFL All-Pro. It’s hard to do much better than that, especially with him missing all but one game of the 2013 season.

Outside of that, Pouncey, has been durable, averaging over 15 starts per season for the remaining nine years of his career.

On Monday, Pouncey was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2010s, joining Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons center Alex Mack.

That honor alone, bestowed upon by a committee organized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, shows that Pouncey could be on the doorstep of enshrinement.

Of the 10 offensive linemen named to the 2000s all-decade team, only Alan Faneca and Chicago Bears center Olin Kreutz have not made it to the hall, and Faneca has been a five-time finalist that will likely make it eventually.

Three other centers have recently been added to the Hall of Fame’s ranks, with Kevin Mawae inducted in 2019, Vikings legend Mick Tingelhoff getting the call in 2015 and Pouncey’s spiritual Steelers predecessor Dermontti Dawson going to Canton, Ohio in 2012.

Without any real statistics, those voted-upon honorifics are the only tangible things we have to evaluate offensive linemen empirically.

In that way, Pouncey eight Pro Bowls, five All-Pros and all-decade team selection hold up well.

Dawson had seven Pro Bowls, six All-Pros and was on the 1990’s all-decade team. Mawae had eight Pro Bowls, seven All-Pros and was on the 2000s all-decade team. Tingelhof had six Pro-Bowls, seven All-Pros. Interestingly, none of those players owns a Super Bowl ring, though Tingelhof won an NFL title with the Vikings in 1969 and played in four Super Bowls.

When considering the fact that Pouncey has more time to add to his legacy — his recently restructured contract runs through the end of the 2021 season — it seems that he should have a fairly good argument when the time for voting comes.

Pro Football Hall of Fame

Who’s the Greatest Quarterback in Steelers History?

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Since it’s possible Ben Roethlisberger has played his last game as a Steeler, it’s only natural to start reflecting back on his legacy and determine how to put his career it in its proper perspective.

There’s no debate needed about if Roethlisberger will someday be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He’s a lock for Canton. But when you play for an historic franchise rich with success and legendary figures, being an NFL all-time great doesn’t necessarily guarantee you are also labeled the best at your position in the history of the team. While Roethlisberger has the clear edge in statistics, some older Pittsburgh fans will forever proclaim he’s only the second greatest quarterback in Steelers history.

Terry Bradshaw’s numbers don’t hold up well with elite quarterbacks of later generations, but he did lead the Black and Gold to 4 Super Bowl titles, earning Super Bowl MVP honors twice, which is something Roethlisberger failed to accomplish in either of his two championship seasons.

It’s obviously only a debate between two men, but who’s the greatest quarterback in Steelers history?

Who’s the greatest quarterback in Steelers history?

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Pro Football Hall of Fame

Tickets on Sale for 2021 Hall of Fame Game Between Steelers, Cowboys

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The NFL’s Hall of Fame Game will return in 2021 after taking a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will face the Dallas Cowboys in a matchup between two of the league’s most stored franchises, a meeting that was originally scheduled for the summer of 2020. As of now, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is going forward with plans to have fans in attendance for the August enshrinement ceremonies and the game.

The game is scheduled to kick off the 2021 NFL preseason in Canton, Ohio at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 5 during enshrinement weekend, a weekend that is already expected to be in large part about the Steelers franchise. Steelers Class of 2021 inductees Alan Fanceca and Bill Nunn will be officially enshrined along with Class of 2020 honorees Bill Cowher, Troy Polamalu, Donnie Shell, and Pitt’s Jimbo Covert.

The Class of 2020 enshrinement ceremony will be on Saturday, Aug. 7. The Class of 2021 will be honored on Sunday, Aug. 8.

The Steelers and Cowboys will both be playing in the Hall of Fame game for the seventh time, but have never faced one another in the game.

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Pro Football Hall of Fame

Evaluating Maurkice Pouncey’s Hall of Fame Credentials

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Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey retired after 11 seasons with the team late last week. The veteran departs after being one of the best centers in the NFL for most of his career, and that has many wondering if Pouncey’s next stop will be the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

So how does Pouncey’s stack up against those that have already been enshrined and those that have been left on the outside looking in? Let’s take a look.

The first strike against Pouncey is that there aren’t a whole lot of direct comparisons to players in Canton. Just 13 players ever have been inducted as a center and seven of them played all or most of their careers before the NFL/AFL merger. The six modern-era centers to make the hall are Jim Langer, Mike Webster, Dwight Stephenson, Dermontti Dawson, Mick Tingelhoff and Kevin Mawae. Here are their credentials that led to their enshrinement:

Jim Langer, Miami Dolphins & Minnesota Vikings
Seasons played: 12
Pro Bowls: 6
First-team All-Pros: 3
Second-team All-Pros: 3
All-Decade Team: 1970s
Super Bowl: 2 wins

Mike Webster, Pittsburgh Steelers & Kansas City Chiefs
Seasons played: 17
Pro Bowls: 9
First-team All-Pros: 7
Second-team All-Pros: 0
All-Decade Team: 1970s and 1980s
Super Bowl: 4 wins

Dwight Stephenson, Miami Dolphins
Seasons played: 8
Pro Bowls: 5
First-team All-Pros: 5
Second-team All-Pros: 1
All-Decade Team: 1980s
Super Bowl: 2 appearances


Dermontti Dawson, Pittsburgh Steelers
Seasons played: 12
Pro Bowls: 7
First-team All-Pros: 6
Second-team All-Pros: 0
All-Decade Team: 1990s
Super Bowl: 1 appearance

Mick Tingelhoff, Minnesota Vikings
Seasons played: 17
Pro Bowls: 6
First-team All-Pros: 5
Second-team All-Pros: 2
All-Decade Team: None
Super Bowl: 4 appearances

Kevin Mawae, Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans
Seasons played: 16
Pro Bowls: 8
First-team All-Pros: 7
Second-team All-Pros: 1
All-Decade Team: 2000s
Super Bowl: none

Here’s Pouncey’s credentials, along with where he would rank amongst the other six modern-era inductees.

Seasons played: 11 (fifth)
Pro Bowls: 9 (tied-first)
First-team All-Pros: 5 (tied-fourth)
Second-team All-Pros: 2 (tied-second)
All-Decade Team: 2010s
Super Bowl: one appearance

It seems clear that Pouncey belongs with that group, if toward the back of it. One thing working in his favor is that there does not seem to be another player more deserving at the position waiting ahead of him. There were no semifinalists at center in the 2021 Hall of Fame class.

Only former Steelers guard Alan Faneca (who was voted in) and former Cincinnati Bengals tackle Willie Anderson and Jacksonville Jaguars tackle Tony Boselli were offensive linemen among the 25 semifinalists.

Perhaps if Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce ends up in the same pool as Pouncey, he could emerge ahead of the Pittsburgh lineman, but he has fewer Pro Bowls (four), first-team All-Pros (three) and was not part of an all-decade team. He did win Super Bowl LII with Philadelphia.

Alex Mack, the other center on the 2010s All-Decade team, is a six-time Pro Bowler and a three-time, second-team All-Pro.

Pouncey does not appear to be a slam dunk for the hall, but he is not out of place among the group of already inducted centers and there doesn’t appear to be a more deserving center candidate that will be considered any time soon.

The bad news for Pouncey is that enshrinement rarely comes quickly for centers. Langer was elected in his first year of eligibility. Webster went in seven years after his retirement — two more than the required five. Stephenson waited nine years, Mawae 10, Dawson 12 and Tingelhoff 37.

So even though Pouncey is eligible to be a part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2026, it’s a good bet this is a discussion that will go on even longer than that.

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