Its only September, but the Pro Football Hall of Fame has already announced its list of eligible candidates for its 2013 class. Could this be another Black and Gold strewn summer in Canton?
It certainly is possible as several high-profile Steelers lead the lists. The Steelers best shot is Jerome Bettis, who played in the NFL for 13 years and retired after Super Bowl XL. Currently Bettis remains 6th on the list of All Time NFL rushers.
The Steelers next shot is likely former Head Coach Bill Cowher, who coached in Pittsburgh from 1992 to 2006, a span where the franchise won more games than any other NFL franchise. During that time Cowher only had 3 losing seasons, earned 8 AFC Central/AFC North division championships, 10 playoff appearances, two AFC Championships, and of course Super Bowl XL.
Gary Anderson is likewise eligible. Anderson of course played for six different NFL teams, but kicked in Pittsburgh from 1982 to 1994.
Kevin Greene only played 3 of his 15 NFL seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but it was in the Black and Gold that Greene first won national acclaim. The Steelers also give Greene his only Super Bowl appearances, which came in their losing effort in Super Bowl XXX. Greene, a member of the Dick LeBeau coaching tree, did get a return trip to the Super Bowl, serving as the linebackers coach for the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV.
Art Rooney Jr.’s name once again is appearing on the Hall of Fame ballot. Often overlooked, Art Rooney Jr. is Dan Rooney’s younger brother, and directed the Steelers scouting department and had a HUGE hand in drafting the players that would from the Super Steelers, who went to the mountain top in Super Bowl IX, Super Bowl X, Super Bowl XIII, and Super Bowl XIV.
Rooney Jr. probably will not make it in — but that is a crime. He deserves induction into Canton, alongside his brother and father.
The HOF list also includes one strong Pittsburgh connection. Buddy Parker, who coached the Steelers from 1967 to 1954, appears on the list. Parker was below .500 with the Steelers, barely, but did win two NFL Championships while coaching the Detroit Lions.