Steelers Throwback Thursdays: “Hall of Honor” created as tribute to franchise

Before the NFL officially gears up for the 2021-22 season, Steel City Underground will be taking fans back in time to feature events, special moments, and historical times in the world of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Steelers Nation. Join us as we revisit these moments in our “Throwback Thursdays”.

In August 2017, the Pittsburgh Steelers – one of the most storied franchises in all of the history of the National Football League – announced that they would be offering fans a rare opportunity to not only recognize individuals who played a key part in the history of their franchise, through the lean years, Division Championships, the NFL Playoffs, and six Super Bowl Championships.

The Hall of Honor will serve as a tribute to the many individuals who have contributed greatly throughout the history of our franchise. This is probably long overdue, and we are excited to begin the process of recognizing these individuals and their accomplishments, both on and off the field, during an annual series of ceremonies.” – Steelers President Art Rooney II

Like everything the Steelers do, there was a standard set by which members of the Hall of Honor would be selected. Former players could only be selected if they’d been retired for at least three seasons, played for the Steelers a minimum of three seasons, and possessed noteworthy career records, highlights, and achievements. Former coaches and other individual contributors of the franchise would be selected based on how significant their contributions had been to the franchise and Pittsburgh-area community as a whole.

The Hall of Honor’s Inaugural Class was announced on Tuesday, August 29, 2017, at Heinz Field. During the team’s annual Alumni Weekend celebration (Nov. 25-26, 2017), the formal induction of the inaugural class was awarded their honor, a solid steel football; the replica a symbol of the original given to Steelers founder, Art “The Chief” Rooney, Sr., by the United States Steel Corporation and United Steel Workers in 1982 during the team’s 50th season. Each inductee was also recognized with a plaque and steel football in a special space inside the FedEx Great Hall at Heinz Field where Steelers fans could enjoy the display and memories.

Members of the Inaugural Class (2017)

Name  – Position – (Years with the Steelers)
Jerome Bettis – Running Back (1996 – 2005)
Mel Blount – Cornerback (1970 – 1983)
Terry Bradshaw – Quarterback (1970 – 1983)
Jack Butler – Cornerback (1951 – 1959)
Dermontti Dawson – Center (1988 – 2000)
Bill Dudley – Halfback (1942, 1945 – 1946)
Joe Greene – Defensive Tackle (1969 – 1981); Coach (1987 – 1991)
Kevin Greene – Linebacker (1993 – 1995)
L.C. Greenwood – Defensive End (1969 – 1981)
Jack Ham – Linebacker (1971 – 1982)
Franco Harris – Running Back (1972 – 1983)
Dick Hoak – Running Back (1961 – 1970); Running Backs Coach (1972 – 2007)
John Henry Johnson – Running Back (1960 – 1965)
Walt Kiesling – Guard, Tackle (1937 – 1938); Coach (1939 – 1944, 1949 – 1961)
Jack Lambert – Linebacker (1974 – 1984)
Bobby Layne – Quarterback, Kicker (1958 – 1962)
John McNally – Halfback (1934, 1937 – 1938); Coach (1937 – 1939)
Chuck Noll – Head Coach (1969 – 1991)
Arthur J. Rooney, Sr. – Founder, President, and Chairman of the Board (1933 – 1988)
Daniel M. Rooney President, Chairman (1955 – 2017)
Andy Russell – Linebacker (1962, 1966 – 1976)
Donnie Shell – Safety (1974 – 1987)
John Stallworth – Wide Receiver (1974 – 1987)
Ernie Stautner – Defensive Tackle (1950 – 1963)
Lynn Swann – Wide Receiver (1974 – 1982)
Mike Webster – Center (1974 – 1988)
Rod Woodson – Cornerback (1987 – 1996)

The Hall of Honor has become a nice tradition since its opening. Those inaugurated aren’t always the guys that find their way into the Pro Football Hall of Fame but the Steelers organization doesn’t want Steelers Nation to forget their contributions, on and off the field.

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