Today Pittsburgh Steelers President Art Rooney II tweeted out a simple message:
“I wish we were in Canton this weekend, celebrating with Troy Polamalu, Bill Cowher and Donnie Shell. I am proud of our Hall of Famers!”
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 8, 2020
It’s a bittersweet reminder that today was the originally-scheduled date for the induction ceremonies of both former Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and former head coach Bill Cowher, with the enshrinement of safety Donnie Shell originally slated for September 17, 2020.
Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies Rescheduled
Alas, the pandemic has changed everything, and Polamalu and Cowher have been rescheduled for August 7, 2021, with Shell also rescheduled for next year, along with the Cowboys-Steelers Hall of Fame game matchup, now set for August 5, 2021.
Adding insult to injury, this week we heard a former Baltimore Ravens linebacker insisting that Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed was on a “different level” than Polamalu—and that Reed should be in a different wing of the Hall.
Never mind that Polamalu amassed 783 tackles, with 32 interceptions and seven fumble recoveries for a total of 39 takeaways. Over the course of his career he also contributed 12 sacks and 14 forced fumbles and scored five defensive touchdowns. He was voted to the Pro Bowl eight times and was voted first-team All-Pro four times. In 2010 he was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
“Troy Being Troy” Plays
But what really made Polamalu special were all the “Troy being Troy” plays—the kind of plays that no other safety was capable of making. Most famously there was the one against Tennessee in 2010 when Polamalu timed the snap by Titans quarterback Kerry Collins and went airborne over the offensive line to sack Collins as the ball was snapped.
Then there was his one-handed interception against the San Diego Chargers in November 2008, where he scooped the ball off the ground just as it was coming in contact with the snow-covered turf.
Most importantly, there was his fourth quarter interception of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco in the AFC Championship Game in January 2009, which he returned for a touchdown to seal a trip to the Super Bowl.
If you want to re-live a small sampling of Polamalu’s “biggest plays in the biggest games,” then this segment is for you:
If you want to re-live a career’s worth of Polamalu’s big plays, then check out the following awesomeness:
Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction 2021
Perhaps the only good thing to come from the delay of this year’s induction ceremonies is that another Pittsburgh Steelers player from the Cowher/Polamalu era might join those two at the 2021 enshrinement ceremonies. The most likely candidate is offensive guard Alan Faneca, though wide receiver Hines Ward is a possibility as well.
No doubt at least one current player is a ‘lock’ for the Hall of Fame, with one NFL observer thinking that center Maurkice Pouncey and outside linebacker T.J. Watt are the next-most-likely candidates.
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