Perhaps the most prestigious honor in the world of sports, earning a spot in the Hall of Fame is something players and coaches will carry with them forever. This year, the NFL Hall of Fame class will be the largest in history in honor of the league’s 100th season. A total of 20 game-changing names are headed to Canton this year including 10 senior inductees, two coaches and three contributors who were announced earlier in the season. The NFL revealed the five modern-day inductees Saturday, headlined by some big names including perhaps the most popular safety of the 21st century.
The NFL announced all five inductees of the 2020 Hall of Fame class on their Twitter account. The class features Troy Polamalu, Edgerrin James, Isaac Bruce, Steve Atwater and Steve Hutchinson. After retiring in 2015, Polamalu has officially earned first-ballot Hall of Fame honors.
Through his twelve seasons in the NFL, all of which came with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Polamalu was perhaps the most recognizable superstar in the entire league. Polamalu’s long, dark locks became an iconic part of his image along with his jarring hits and unreal range in Pittsburgh’s secondary. Polamalu was voted the 2010 Defensive Player of the Year along with helping lead Pittsburgh to three Super Bowl appearances in a six-year span. Over his illustrious decade-plus career, Polamalu was an eight-time Pro Bowler and four-time All Pro selection.
Joining Polamalu are four other historic players. Running back Edgerrin James was a fixture in the backfield for the Peyton Manning-led Indianapolis Colts. James played seven seasons with the Colts, compiling 9,226 yards on the ground and scoring 75 all-purpose touchdowns. James also spent three seasons with the Cardinals, two of which were 1,000-yard campaigns, and played out his final season with the Seattle Seahawks in 2009.
Along with Polamalu, another defensive back also made an appearance in the 2020 Hall of Fame class in Denver Broncos safety Steve Atwater. A seven-time Pro Bowler, Atwater was regarded as one of the hardest hitters in NFL history.
Rounding out the class is wide receiver Isaac Bruce and guard Steve Hutchinson. Bruce spent 18 seasons in the league and eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark on eight occasions with the St. Louis Rams. Finally, Hutchinson made the Pro-Bowl seven times over his 12-year NFL career and was known as perhaps the best guard of his generation. Hutchinson spent six seasons with the Vikings, five with the Seahawks and played out his final year in Tennesee before calling it a career in 2012.
All 20 Hall of Famers of the NFL’s centennial class will be officially enshrined into Canton’s Pro Football Hall of Fame in August.