On Super Bowl Sunday, there was more news than who would be crowned the best team in the NFL for the 2013-14 season. Every Super Bowl Sunday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announces their inductees for the upcoming season. You see these football legends waiting with bated breath hoping that their names are announced. Sometimes this day bring immense joy, and others incredible pain.
For former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis, it was another day of sadness as he saw his fourth opportunity to enter the Hall of Fame stripped from him just as Gary Brackett of the Indianapolis Colts did during that classic Divisional Playoff game in 2005.
Bettis deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. There is no way around that fact. The man not only has the numbers, but also the ring to deserve enshrinement. It will happen one day, but one has to wonder when that day will come. That isn’t what this article is about though. With Bettis not getting inducted, it ignited the age-old question: Is there a bias against great Steelers getting into the Hall of Fame? Its hard to ignore the validity of the accusation.
Well before Bettis began being snubbed by Hall of Fame voters, when the Steelers dynasty of the 1970s was starting to become eligible to the Hall of Fame, there was an undercurrent suggesting that voters thought too many Steelers were being enshrined and that they needed to stop. Sure, greats like Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Mike Webster, Jack Lambert and many more from those great teams are forever enshrined in Canton, Ohio, but what about those that didn’t?
There were plenty more from those teams that deserved the honor that simply were overlooked. L.C. Greenwood and Donnie Shell were two from those teams in the 1970s that were considered as “not good enough”. After those greats from the 70s finally reached Canton, it took a while for other Steelers to get the call from Canton.
Dermontti Dawson, the great center of the 80s and 90s, was enshrined last year, and most consider Dick Lebeau‘s enshrinement as a victory for Pittsburgh even though he was inducted as a player for the Detroit Lions.
Is Bettis just the most recent snub from the Hall of Fame voters because there are too many Steelers already inducted? The Steelers have 26 players currently enshrined in Canton, and that includes players that played for multiple teams like Rod Woodson. In comparison to other teams, the Chicago Bears have 30 members inducted into the Hall of Fame, yet you hear no talk of a conspiracy against the Bears.
Are Steelers fans simply paranoid? That’s certainly a possibility, but its hard to wrap your head around the fact that so many players that are deserving of the Hall of Fame have been denied that honor, Bettis being the most recent.