Donnie Shell elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame

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The 1970s Steelers defense will be getting another Hall of Famer this year.

Safety Donnie Shell was one of 10 Seniors candidates selected to the Hall as part of this year’s special Centennial Class. Shell had been a finalist for election through regular channels in 2002, but fell short of election.

Shell was a member of all four Steelers Super Bowl champions in the 1970s and was named a first-team All-Pro three times during his 14 years with Pittsburgh. Shell had 51 career interceptions in the regular season and recorded at least five interceptions every year from 1979 to 1984 while adding two interceptions and two fumble recoveries in 19 career postseason games.

Steelers owner Art Rooney II said this week that he expects the team to play in the Hall of Fame Game with former coach Bill Cowher already part of the Centennial Class and former safety Troy Polamalu expected to be elected in his first year of eligibility. Shell’s selection should all but ensure that black and yellow are primary colors in Canton this summer.

52 responses to “Donnie Shell elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame

  1. Shell is borderline. If he’s in, good for him. Had he been left out, I can see that too.

    PS: #23 will always be my favorite Steeler but the real star was Blount. Or the Lbr’s. Or the Dline. What a team. Easy to get lost in the crowd when you have Greenwood, Blount, Ham, Russell, Lambert and of course Mr. Greene.

  2. Cowher, Shell, Polamalu this year?

    That bumps the Steelers up to 30 in the Hall of Fame.

    The tradition continues.

  3. smoothrobinva says:
    January 15, 2020 at 9:48 am
    Where is Darren Wooden !!!

    0 0 Rate This

    Probably enjoying his millions somewhere

  4. stillers1963 says:
    January 15, 2020 at 9:21 am
    Shell and Polamalu hopefully going into the hall together…
    ———————————————————-

    Well, Lynn Swann does not want to be the only undeserving former Steeler in the HOF, so why not add two more undeserving former Steelers?

  5. Regardless of who gets in, the centennial class thing was one of the smartest things the NFL did, which is saying a lot because the NFL usually does the opposite. To acknowledge Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson for the half of fame on tv was well done.

  6. It’s hard to judge him on his own when he was surrounded by so much talent, but he had the longevity to pad his stats.
    Not bad for a guy who went undrafted when the draft was 17 rounds.

  7. The Steel Curtain will be getting another Hall of Famer this year.
    _____

    The Steel Curtain was in reference to the D line. Donnie Shell was obviously not part of that…

  8. How is someone with 51 interceptions not already in the hall of fame ?

    They didn’t throw the ball as often back then

  9. Steelers defense in the mid/late 70’s is still unmatched today. Ironically the best defensive team was the ’76 Steelers with 5 shutouts, yet didn’t make the SB.

  10. If the only thing keeping Clay Matthews out of the Hall is not going to a Super Bowl (nickname for the NFL Championship which the Browns are 4 time winners of!!) That is complete BS! His numbers are as good or better than a whole bunch of the HOFers.

  11. “Donnie Shell’s signature NFL play is spearing Early Campbell in the ribs.”

    Youngsters wouldn’t know about Shell. Hence this post.

  12. carloswlassiter says:
    January 15, 2020 at 10:44 am
    Donnie Shell’s signature NFL play is spearing Early Campbell in the ribs. I guess that gets you in the Hall these days?

    3 11 Rate This

    Having acouple of Super Bowls doesn’t hurt

  13. carloswlassiter says:
    January 15, 2020 at 10:44 am
    Donnie Shell’s signature NFL play is spearing Early Campbell in the ribs. I guess that gets you in the Hall these days?

    4 13 Rate This

    Earl Campbell? The guy who put the crown of his helmet in a linebackers chest on one of his most iconic plays? That Earl Campbell?

  14. The Hall of Fame continues to be overly focused on Super Bowls rather than individual greatness.

    I think Shell is the 13th person from the ’70s Steelers to get in, which is absurd.

    Next year we’ll probably see Loren Towes and Roy Gerala enshrined.

  15. 6burgh says:
    January 15, 2020 at 11:33 am
    carloswlassiter says:
    January 15, 2020 at 10:44 am
    Donnie Shell’s signature NFL play is spearing Early Campbell in the ribs. I guess that gets you in the Hall these days?

    3 11 Rate This

    Having a couple of Super Bowls doesn’t hurt
    ============
    4 Super Bowls, actually.

  16. senatorbluto says:
    January 15, 2020 at 10:38 am

    If the only thing keeping Clay Matthews out of the Hall is not going to a Super Bowl (nickname for the NFL Championship which the Browns are 4 time winners of!!) That is complete BS! His numbers are as good or better than a whole bunch of the HOFers.
    ———–
    ??? Clay Matthews (father of Clay Matthews III) played for the Browns from 1978 – 1983, during the Super Bowl era. He was a good, not great linebacker. They won no championships during that time period. His father, Clay Matthews Sr., played for the 49ers in the 50s. Also no championships. Not sure what your post refers to?

  17. canedaddy says:
    January 15, 2020 at 11:42 am
    The Hall of Fame continues to be overly focused on Super Bowls rather than individual greatness.
    ————-
    likely because great team players win superbowls. sometimes multiple.

  18. Donnie played his entire career @ Strong Safety. He’s been retired since the 1987 season and still has more INTs than any SS in NFL History. He was a 3 time 1st team all-pro and make 2nd team all pro another time. Three of those selections came after the Chuck Noll Steelers won the their last Super Bowl in 1979.

    He only finished 3 interceptions behind Darrell Green (a CB in the Hall of Fame) despite playing 6 fewer season. He isn’t an underrated player. If anything he’s vastly underrated.

  19. About time !!! Congratulations Donnie !!! What a travesty it is that L.C. Greenwood isn’t in the hall of fame. Total disgrace !! Put L.C in the Hall of Fame already!

  20. Donnie Shell, Harold Carmichael, come on man. Why not just let everybody who ever played in the in. Few other nobodies I have never even heard of. They can all get up there and give an hour speech and bore everybody to death. NFL is a joke

  21. No Cliff Branch the most dangerous wr of the 70’s and 80’s.Hall of shame. Blount and Shell never covered Cliff Branch. They froze the field in the 74 playoff game to take Branch out. They dont like Branch for some reason

  22. Shell is well deserving. He was the first safety to have 50 interceptions. L.C. Greenwood deserves to be in too.

  23. Wow so every player on the steelers dynasty is in and a couple players on the niners dynasties are in. That doesnt seem biased at all.

  24. Great player but when is Randy Gradishar going to be elected? If Gradishar was a Steeler and Shell was a Bronco we’d be seeing Gradishar getting in today. The east coast bias strikes again. The famous Orange Crush defense has ZERO Hall of Fame representation.

    There have been 10 linebackers in NFL history who have 20+ career interceptions, 10+ fumble recoveries and 7+ Pro Bowl selections. Of those 10, nine were inducted into the Hall of Fame within two years of eligibility. TWO YEARS. Who is the one left out? Randy Gradishar.

  25. I can see who the younger folks are from the negative comments about Shell. Anybody who knows pro football prior to the 90s or sooner knows that Shell should’ve been in and is truly one of the best SS to ever step foot on an NFL field. Only 13 players that played after he did in more pass oriented eras have passed him in interceptions. He and Blount anchored the secondary 77 until the end of his career. Instead of balking at the selection look up some film on him and you’ll see that he’d be dominant today as well. Congrats Donnie Shell it’s long overdue but well deserved

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