With Alan Faneca Snubbing, Is there an Anti-Steelers Bias in Canton ?
The Pittsburgh Steelers franchise has 24 members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but they should have at least three more. Donnie Shell and L.C. Greenwood should have been inducted decades ago. Alan Faneca should have been voted in Saturday night. An argument could be made for Hines Ward as well. There is no justification for Hall of Fame worthy players not to be in the Hall of Fame, which leads to this question. Is there an anti-Steelers bias in Canton? What else could explain the exclusions of Faneca, Shell, Greenwood? Nothing against Kevin Mawae, but he got in without being as good or as accomplished as Faneca.
Faneca Epitomized Strength and Athleticism
Faneca played for the Steelers from 1998-2007, and did things men his size rarely do. Not only did he dominate the man in front of him, he’s very likely the best pulling guard in NFL history. Former Steelers Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis was grateful to have played with Faneca.“I wouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame without Alan Faneca. He was the best guard that I ever played with and him pulling made him so much more special than I think all the other guards because his ability to pull and play in space was incredible. That was our bread and butter. In pass protection, he did it all. It wasn’t just in the run game.”
Bill Cowher had similar sentiments regarding Faneca. “When you look at the linemen of his era, he did things that Hall of Famer Dermontti Dawson was able to do. He was such a special player at a time when he did things unique to the game of football. He had the power to control his area and the athleticism to be a factor when he pulled. When we ran the football, we ran behind him on the left side and when we pulled, we ran behind him on the right side. His block for Willie Parker’s touchdown run in Super Bowl XL was all about Alan.”
A Decorated Career Worthy of the Hall of Fame
Few offensive linemen in history have accomplished what Faneca has, nor have most been as durable. During his 13 year career Faneca missed just one game due to injury, making availability his greatest ability. As sure as the sun rises in the east, Faneca was going to be there for his teammates. He was most certainly there, pulling out, to clear the way for Willie Parker’s Super Bowl record setting touchdown run. That block helped make him a champion. Here is the complete list of his career accomplishments.
• SUPER BOWL CHAMPION (XL)
• 4-TIME PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME FINALIST
• 9-TIME PRO BOWL SELECTION (2001-09)
• 6-TIME FIRST-TEAM ALL-PRO (2001, 2002, 2004-07) MOST (TIED WITH TONY GONZALEZ) OF ANY 2019 PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME FINALIST
• 2-TIME SECOND-TEAM ALL-PRO (2003, 2008
• PITTSBURGH STEELERS ALL-TIME TEAM
• NFL 2000s ALL-DECADE TEAM
The Bottom Line
A player is or isn’t Hall of Fame worthy and there’s no question that Faneca is. It’s hard to tell what these voters may be thinking, but the fact is that Faneca should be going into the Hall of Fame this summer. Shell and Greenwood should have been there decades ago. Instead all three remain on the outside looking in. There might not be an anti-Steelers bias in Canton, but if Troy Polamalu joins them at the window looking in next summer, the appearance will be even more real.