Three former Steelers took the next step toward football immortality when the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the Gold Jacket semifinalists for the Class of 2020.
Safety Troy Polamalu, guard Alan Faneca and receiver Hines Ward are among the 25 Modern Era semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020.
Polamalu, who is in his first year of eligibility, was drafted by the Steelers in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft, the 16th pick overall. He played 12 seasons, redefining the way the safety position was played. A two-time Super Bowl champion, Polamalu also was a four-time first team All-Pro selection, two-time second team All-Pro selection, NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2010), eight-time Pro Bowler and a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team and Steelers All-Time Team.
Faneca, a finalist the last four years and semifinalist five times, was the Steelers first-round draft pick in 1998 and played 10 seasons for the black and gold, and 13 overall in the NFL. He was a member of the Super Bowl XL Championship team and was selected to nine Pro Bowls. Faneca was a six-time All-Pro selection and was named to the Steelers All-Time Team in 2007 and the NFL 2000's All-Decade Team. He is also a member of the Steelers Hall of Honor.
Ward, a semifinalist for the fourth straight year, played 14 seasons for the Steelers, after being selected in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft. He played on two Super Bowl teams and was the MVP of Super Bowl XL. He had 1,000 career receptions for 12,083 yards and 85 touchdowns. His versatility was always on display with his blocking ability a shining example of that. Ward is a member of the Steelers Hall of Honor.
The Modern Era semifinalists will be trimmed to 15 finalists on January 2.
The Hall of Fame Selection Committee will hold their annual meeting on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. The finalists will go from 15 to 10, and then down to five. The Class of 2020 will be announced during the "NFL Honors" show that evening.
The 2020 Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony will be held next August in Canton, Ohio.
Notes from the Hall of Fame: The Hall of Fame Board recently passed a resolution that suspended the Hall of Fame's Selection Committee By-Laws for the Class of 2020 election cycle only. The measure is intended to honor the NFL's Centennial Celebration through a special Centennial Class that will be comprised of 20 members in 2020. The group will include five Modern-Era players to come from the list announced today 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 Selection Committee will meet on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020 in Miami to elect the Class of 2020 that will include five Modern-Era players. The Modern-Era Finalists will be trimmed during the meeting from 15 to 10 and then from 10 to the five who will be elected as part of the Class of 2020.
The determination of the Seniors, Contributors and Coaches Finalists will be led by a special 25-person Centennial "Blue-Ribbon" panel who will review the backlog of deserving Seniors, Coaches and Contributors. The Blue-Ribbon Panel will be comprised of Hall of Fame Selectors, Pro Football Hall of Famers, media members, football historians and industry experts.
The Centennial Class of 2020 will be formally enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame during the annual Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls from Aug. 6-9, 2020 and the Centennial Celebration in Canton on Sept. 16-19, 2020.