One stat makes a strong Hall of Fame case for Steve Atwater, Troy Polamalu

Michael David Smith
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

The Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee will meet on the day before the Super Bowl to choose a maximum of five new Hall of Famers among the 15 modern-era players on the list of finalists. As is usually the case, there are more than five worthy candidates, and there will be disagreements about the strongest arguments for which five belong in the Hall of Fame Class of 2020.

But here’s one good argument, coming from Broncos spokesman Patrick Smyth, for former Broncos safety Steve Atwater and former Steelers safety Troy Polamalu to be two of the five selected on Saturday: In NFL history, only 24 players have started three Super Bowls and been selected to eight Pro Bowls. Of those 24, 20 are already in the Hall of Fame and two are surefire first-ballot Hall of Famers, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

The other two are Atwater and Polamalu.

That’s only one statistic, and far from the last word in any discussion of which five finalists will be Hall of Famers after Saturday’s selection committee meeting. But it provides a strong case for Atwater and Polamalu as members of a very exclusive club.

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