Social Media Reacts to Hall of Fame Snubs for 2 Steelers Legends

Mike Tomlin

Getty Two former Pittsburgh Steelers who played for head coach Mike Tomlin didn't make the Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist list.

For the second straight year, the Pittsburgh Steelers will not have one of their former players inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Both former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward and linebacker James Harrison were semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2023. But neither Ward nor Harrison were among the finalists, which the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced on January 4.

Steelers fans and media alike on social media were disappointed by the Hall of Fame’s failure to honor the Pittsburgh legends. Ward’s snub was a particularly sensitive topic for Steelers Nation on Twitter the day after the finalist announcement.

Hines Ward Fails to Make Hall of Fame for 7th Time

Unfortunately, Ward falling short of the Hall of Fame is nothing new. This was the former wide receiver’s seventh year of eligibility. While he was a semifinalist again, he doesn’t appear to be getting any closer to the Hall of Fame.

That left Steelers fans frustrated on Twitter.

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Members of the media shared in the fans’ displeasure.


Ward never made first-team All-Pro, which seems to be what’s holding him back in his bid for induction into the Hall of Fame. It doesn’t help that there’s still a Hall of Fame log jam at wide receiver — Torry Holt, Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne all have better statistics and aren’t in the Hall of Fame yet either.

But Steelers fans would still argue Ward has a strong case of induction.

He earned three second-team All-Pros and made four Pro Bowls. All of his Pro Bowl nominations came before the arrival of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and prior to the Steelers switching to a pass-first offense.

In that run-heavy offense, Ward posted six 1,000-yard receiving seasons. He finished second in the NFL with 112 receptions and 12 touchdowns in 2002. He was also fourth with 1,329 receiving yards that year.

Ward helped the Steelers win three AFC Championships and two Super Bowls as well. He captured Super Bowl MVP with 5 receptions, 123 receiving yards and a touchdown in January 2006.

He also revolutionized wide receiver from a blocking perspective. Ward terrorized defensive backs with his ferocious blocks, which helped the Pittsburgh ground game.

All of that adds up to a Hall of Fame resume in the minds of Steelers fans.

James Harrison Isn’t Hall of Fame Finalist in 1st Year of Eligibility

With so much of attention from Steelers Nation on Ward’s snub, there wasn’t a whole lot of anger over Harrison’s exclusion on the Hall of Fame finalists list. But there was some mention of him on social media with Ward.

One of the reasons why there wasn’t as much outrage over Harrison missing the finalist list was because this is his first year on the ballot.

First-year inductions are typically saved for shoe-in Hall of Famers. Harrison isn’t that.

From 2008-10, it was hard to find a more dominant outside linebacker than Harrison. He made first-team All-Pro in 2008 and 2010 and won Defensive Player of the Year in 2008. In that three-year span, Harrison posted 36.5 sacks.

He also made the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2011. But Harrison didn’t accomplish that much outside of that five-year window.

He was a late bloomer, as he failed to earn a starting job until he turned 29. Harrison remained a starter until he turned 36, but his last Pro Bowl season was when he was 33. He played until 39 years old but as a rotational player in his final few seasons.

Overall, Harrison recorded 84.5 sacks and 8 interceptions. Harrison also never led the league in sacks.

The edge rushers who were Hall of Fame finalists list this year — Jared Allen, Dwight Freeney, and DeMarcus Ware — all had at least 125 career sacks and each made three or more All-Pro teams.

Maybe Harrison will fare better in future years.

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