On December 19, 2019, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced that Donnie Shell was one of three former Steelers named as nominees for the Hall's special Centennial Class of 2020.
Shell finished his career with 51 interceptions, still the most in NFL history for a strong safety. He was a four-time All-Pro and a five-time Pro Bowler who registered at least one interception in each of his 14 NFL seasons.
Shell's versatility allowed him impact games in a variety of ways, not the least of which his hard-hitting style. Earl Campbell was a 233-pound running back by trade, and inflicting pain was part of his business. In 1978, Campbell would finish with 1,450 yards, a 4.8 average and 13 touchdowns, but on Dec. 3 with the division title at stake, he met his match in Shell. In the first quarter, Campbell was spinning out of a tackle trying to get extra yards, when the man nicknamed "Torpedo" came flying up to the line of scrimmage and delivered a blow that could be heard in the upper reaches of the Astrodome. Campbell left the game with a broken rib, and the Steelers beat the Oilers, 13-3, in a season that ended with the third Super Bowl championship in team history.
A special Blue-Ribbon Panel comprised of many members of the overall Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee, Hall of Famers, coaches, football executives and several leading historians scrutinized the merits of nearly 300 candidates nominated for consideration as part of the Hall's special Centennial Class of 2020. The group of nominees has been reduced to a list of finalists, of which Shell is one, that will be debated in a meeting in early January and voted on by the Blue-Ribbon Panel to elect the 15-member "Centennial Slate" to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
|College||South Carolina State|
|1974 - 1987||Safety, Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Super Bowl||IX, X, XIII, XIV|
|Pro Bowl||1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982|
|Hall of Honor||2017|