The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its finalists for induction this year, with two Steelers making the final list of 15 modern era nominees.
First-time finalist Troy Polamalu was joined on the list by Alan Faneca, who is on the list of finalists for the sixth consecutive year. Former Steelers receiver Hines Ward, one of the 25 semifinalists, didn't make the round of 15.
Polamalu made the Pro Bowl eight times in his nine seasons as a starter, earning first-team All-Pro status four times. The safety also was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2010, helping the Steelers to the Super Bowl that season. All told, Polamalu played in three Super Bowls, winning twice.
Faneca, a nine-time Pro Bowl guard who also was named first-team All-Pro six times, spent the first 10 years of his 13-year career with the Steelers. He helped them win the Super Bowl in 2005.
Faneca later went on to play two seasons with the Jets and one with the Cardinals.
This year's list of finalists include seven individuals who are finalists for the first time, including Polamalu and former Colts receiver Reggie Wayne, who were both eligible for the first time.
They were joined by safety LeRoy Butler, wide receiver Torry Holt, linebackers Sam Mills and Zach Thomas, and defensive tackle Bryant Young, all of whom have previously been eligible but have never made the cutdown from 25 semifinalists to 15 finalists.
The modern-era finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall's Selection Committee from a list of 122 nominees named in September that was reduced to 25 semifinalists in late November.
This year's list includes: Troy Polamalu, S, Steelers; Alan Faneca, G, Steelers/Jets/Cardinals; Edgerrin James, RB, Colts/Cardinals/Seahawks; Zach Thomas, LB, Cowboys/Cowboys; Bryant Young, DT, 49ers; Richard Seymour, DE/DT, Patriots/Raiders; John Lynch, S, Buccaneers/Broncos; Steve Atwater, S, Broncos/Jets; LeRoy Butler, S, Packers; Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts; Torry Holt, WR, Rams/Jaguars; Isaac Bruce, WR, Rams/49ers; Sam Mills, LB, Saints/Panthers; Tony Boselli, T, Jaguars/Texans; Steve Hutchinson, G, Seahawks/Vikings/Titans;
As part of the NFL's Centennial Celebration through a special Centennial Class there will include 20 members in 2020. The group will include five Modern-Era players to come from the list in addition to 10 seniors (a player who has been retired for more than 25 seasons), three contributors (an individual other than a player or coach) and two coaches.
The list of 10 seniors was recently announced and includes former Steelers safety Donnie Shell, while the list of coaches up for consideration includes former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher.
The finalists will be presented to the full 48-member Selection Committee during its annual meeting on Selection Saturday," Feb. 1, 2020, the day before Super Bowl LIV. The Selection Committee will elect five Modern-Era players for the Class of 2020.
This could be a big year for Steelers going into the Hall of Fame. Polamalu isn't a sure thing, but he's as good as any candidate on the list. Faneca also has waited far too long.
Shell has a good shot to get in as well this year since he's one of just 20 players on the list of senior players, of whom 10 will be selected.
Cowher's resume' probably isn't quite strong enough to get in with this group, but perhaps he'll make it someday.
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