Finally, in his 8th year of eligibility, arguable the greatest center in NFL history gets his due and enters the hallowed halls of Canton. Dermontti Dawson gets the nod after being snubbed for years in favor of other "more qualified" players. But considering the impact Dawson had on his team, it's hard to see how he sat out this long.
Dawson was a six-time All-Pro and made the Pro Bowl 7 times in a row during the 13 seasons he played with the Steelers. He retired in 2000 after a severe hamstring injury caused him to miss a bunch of time in 1999 and 2000. The Steelers released him because of cap reasons but he retired rather than playing for another team.
He ended up leaving a 170 consecutive game streak (the second-longest in Steelers history) and was one of the best blocking centers to ever strap on the pads. I'm not trying to take anything away from Steeler's great Mike Webster but I think Dawson was a better, more well rounded athlete.
In typical Steeler fashion, Dawson was part of the most stable position in all of Steelers history. He was one of only 3 players to play the center position spanning back to 1965! Think about that one for a minute, kids. 1965...35 years and only 3 players played that position! That is unreal. Never happened before, and never will happen again. Ray Mansfield was the center from 1966-1975 when Mike Webster took over.
Dawson replaced Webster in 1989 after playing his rookie season under Webster and learning what it took to be a pro football player. No other player has ever worn the #63 since Dawson and no one ever will out of the deep respect that the Steeler organization has for him as a player and as a person.
I tried to find some Double D cards but only could come up with a few for the time being. I'm sure I have a bunch more but this was just on short notice.
But wait...there's more!
Not only did Dawson get in but another Steeler great finally made his way to Canton. Jack Butler, the only pick from the senior committee, joins the other 19 Steeler's in the Hall as well (20 Pittsburgh Steelers in the Hall of Fame...Unbelievable). Amazing that he finally got in, and kind of ironic too since I wrote about this back in September of 2010. Butler was actually a Pittsburgh native when he was added to the Steeler's roster in 1951. He played 103 games for the Steelers between 1951 and 1959, racking up 52 interceptions, which was second all time when he retired. Jack made All-Pro in all of his final five seasons before (coincidence?) an injury basically put an end to his career as a player. He then went on to work for the Steelers as a scout and manager for the next 44 years.
Although he was nominated, for now, Jerome Bettis will have to wait. He didn't get in his first year with the Hall taking Marshall Faulk and with the election of Curtis Martin (who went to high school in the Pittsburgh area and then Pitt), a second running back was basically out of the question for the voters again this year. But I'm sure the Bus will pull into Canton soon.