PITTSBURGH, PA – One former Steelers great gets the call, or more literally, the knock on the door, while another has to wait (again). Safety Troy Polamalu has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, but Guard Alan Faneca misses out for the fifth year in a row.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) February 1, 2020
Polamalu, who becomes the 80th player to be elected in his first year on the ballot in history, played 12 seasons for the Steelers from 2003-14 after being a first-round draft pick out of USC in 2003, winning two Super Bowls. He made eight Pro Bowls, was selected four times as a first-team All-Pro, received second-team All-Pro honors twice and was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2010.
Polamalu was previously selected as a member of the NFL’s 2000s all-decade team and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ all-time team. Polamalu was also recently inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He finished his NFL career by playing in 158 games and recording 770 tackles, 12 sacks, 32 interceptions, 14 forced fumbles and scored three touchdowns.
While this year’s induction ceremony will have a major Steelers vibe to it with Polamalu joining a class that already includes Bill Cowher, Donnie Shell and Buddy Parker, it will also be bitter sweet for Steelers Nation with Faneca being left out.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) February 1, 2020
The Steelers’ first-round pick out of LSU in 1998, Faneca played 13 NFL seasons, spending his first 10 years in Pittsburgh from 1998-07, taking part in the team’s Super Bowl XL victory. Over the course of his career, Faneca was named to nine Pro Bowls, was a six-time first-team All-Pro and a two-time second-team All-Pro. He was named to the NFL’s 2000s all-decade team and the Steelers’ All-Time Team.
Mic Drop: WPXI’s Aaron Martin Offers Best, Worst Sports Memories
WPXI’s Aaron Martin joined Mike Asti to discuss some of his best and worst sports memories, both as a fan and ones that he was able to cover. Mike gets Aaron to ponder some “what ifs?” when it comes to Pittsburgh sports, which includes reliving some awful Steelers memories like the 2001 AFC Championship loss to the Patriots.
Could Leonard Fournette follow Jerome Bettis as Hall of Fame Running Back Acquired in Trade?
Leonard Fournette is not Jerome Bettis.
At least not yet.
But if the Steelers pull of a trade for Fournette — like some are speculating they could or should. The comparisons between that and the trade with the St. Louis Rams that brought them Jerome Bettis would be immediate.
It was fourteen years and one day ago (April 20, 1996) that the Steelers acquired Jerome Bettis and a third-round pick for the team’s second-round pick in that year’s draft and a fourth-round selection in 1997.
Bettis had exploded into the league with 1429 yards on the ground in his first year. However the Rams weren’t a great team at the time and Bettis struggled in years two and three. After the Rams drafted Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips in the first-round, the team turned around and dealt Bettis to the Steelers.
Fournette like Bettis was at the time, is going into his fourth year in the NFL. Both were top 10 selections in the NFL Draft. Unlike Bettis, Fournette is coming off his best season as a pro by far. Even while stuck on the offensively inept Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019, Fournette had 1152 yards rushing on a career best 4.3 yards per carry and added 76 receptions for 522 yards. His 1674 yards from scrimmage placed him 6th in the league. By comparison, Jerome Bettis was coming off a season in which he had only 743 all-purpose yards.
While the Bettis swap is now regarded as one of the worst in NFL history, at the time, the Rams looked like they were doing the smart thing, getting rid of a underachieving back on the cusp of free agency. Unfortunately for them, Phillips was a bust, and the back they traded away ended up with 1431 yards and 11 touchdowns in his first year with the new team.
It’s a decidedly different era in NFL history. Running backs have very little value and even shorter careers. But if a player of Fournette’s caliber can be had for a mid-round draft pick, would the Steelers be interested in another trade for a running back?
No matter what, it probably wouldn’t work out as well as the one that brought Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis to the Steelers in 1996.
Steelers Maurkice Pouncey, Antonio Brown Selected to NFL All-2010s Team
Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey and former Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown have been named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-Decade team for the 2010’s, the organization announced on Monday.
Pouncey, who was drafted by the Steelers in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, is entering his 12th season with the team this fall. The well-decorated veteran will add this honor to his eight Pro Bowls and five All-Pro selections.
Brown was also selected in the 2010 draft by the Steelers, as the club nabbed him in the sixth round out of Central Michigan. That proved to be a prescient investment. In his nine years with the Steelers, Brown amassed 11,207 receiving yards and 74 touchdowns, leading the NFL in receiving yards in 2014 and 2017, in receptions in 2014 and 2015 and in touchdowns in 2018. He was selected to seven Pro Bowls and was a five-time All-Pro choice before being traded to the Oakland Raiders in advance of the 2019 season.
The two selections represent the Steelers’ lowest number of representatives on an all-decade team since the 1960s, when the team did not have a representative.
Steelers had three selections to the all-2000s team: guard Alan Faneca, linebacker Joey Porter and safety Troy Polamalu. Center Dermontti Dawson, linebackers Kevin Greene, Hardy Nickerson and Levon Kirkland, cornerback Rod Woodson and safety Carnell Lake were selected to the 1990s team. Cornerback Mel Blount, kicker Gary Anderson and head coach Chuck Noll were chosen in the 1980s. In the 1970s, wide receiver Lynn Swann, center Mike Webster, quarterback Terry Bradshaw, running back Franco Harris, defensive linemen L.C. Greenwood and Joe Greene, linebackers Jack Lambert and Jack Ham and Noll were all chosen.