The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.
And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Will Alan Faneca make the cut for the Hall of Fame this year?
The Hall of Fame voting committee will gather tomorrow in order to determine who will be enshrined this year. Among the 15 finalists once again this year is Pittsburgh Steelers guard Alan Faneca in his second year of eligibility.
As one of the most decorated interior linemen of his era, Faneca certainly offers a strong case for his inclusion into enshrinement—other than for the fact that, you know, interior linemen are not often favored entry. Just look at how long it took for Dermontti Dawson to get in.
The Steelers drafted Faneca with the 26th pick in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft. He played right away and started 12 games as a rookie, but it was not until his fourth season in 2001 that he made the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro list for the first time—an interesting parallel for David DeCastro.
Faneca played for the Steelers through 10 seasons, then for three more with the Jets and the Cardinals. He picked up nine Pro Bowl invites over those 13 seasons and eight nominations to the All-Pro list, with six as a first-team member.
It’s difficult for an offensive lineman to have a signature play, which can make it hard for the voters to visualize their individual greatness. Faneca does not have that problem, as he executed the pull block that sprung Willie Parker for a Super Bowl-record 75-yard touchdown run to cap off the 2005 season.
He played in and started over 200 games in his career, but football was not, and is not, his life. He has gone on to lead the good life in his retirement, dropping his playing weight and even successfully running a marathon.
But that doesn’t mean that football is out of his blood. Faneca served as a coaching intern for the Steelers throughout the offseason and into training camp to explore the possibility of pursuing a coaching career. “Hall of Famer” would be a nice way to spice up that resume.