While the Hall of Fame class of each year is voted on and revealed around the time of the Super Bowl, it is in August when they are enshrined, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are fortunate enough to have one of their own being enshrined again this year in outside linebacker Kevin Greene, who helped the team reach Super Bowl XXX in the mid-90s.
It is during times like these that many find themselves reflecting on who belongs in the Hall of Fame but is not yet already there. After all, Greene, the third-all-time sack leader in NFL history, had quite a long wait himself, having been eligible for enshrinement for over a decade.
Recently, Kevin Seifert put out a list for ESPN detailing the 10 individuals not yet in the Hall of Fame that he believes deserve to be there, and among them were two Steelers greats, from different eras—both of them part of championship teams.
Placing sixth on the list is defensive end L.C. Greenwood, who paired when Joe Greene alongside him made a fearsome tandem as one half of the ‘Steel Curtain’ defensive line that was the heart and soul of Pittsburgh’s dynasty in the 1970s.
Greenwood’s enshrinement would, unfortunately, come posthumously, as he passed away in 2013. Greene is, in fact, the only surviving member remaining of the original constitution of the ‘Steel Curtain’ defensive line.
“Although he played before the sack became an official statistic, the Steelers credited him with 73.5 sacks in 13 seasons”, Seifert writes. “He had four in Super Bowl X, one of four championships he won with the team, and was among the nastiest players on a brutal defense that has already sent four players to the Hall”.
Two spots further down on the list, at number eight, comes guard Alan Faneca, who first became eligible for enshrinement during just this past round of voting, during which he made the final 15, but reportedly did not make the final 10.
Faneca’ bona fides certainly read out like a Hall-worthy lineman, though it is more difficult for interior linemen to enter than it is for tackles. Nine Pro Bowls and six All-Pros in a 13-year career, including all but his first three and his last seasons in the case of the latter, and with a Super Bowl ring to boot, throwing the lead block on the longest running play in Super Bowl history—it reads off like it was made for a plaque.
“Faneca was one of the most athletic guards of his time”, writes Seifert, “able to drive-block and lock up defenders in space with equal skill. As a tangible testament to his athleticism, consider that Faneca lost 100 pounds after retiring in 2010 and now runs marathons. Guards aren’t of much interest to the public, but Faneca was one of the best of his time”.
Faneca is, of course, currently working with the Steelers as a coaching intern during training camp, as he weighs the possibility of pursuing a coaching career.