Former Pittsburgh Steelers first-round draft pick Alan Faneca has an interesting perspective when it comes to evaluating the organization. While he played most of his career as a decorated guard with the Steelers, he also departed in free agency and went on to play at a high level with both the Cardinals and the Jets.
This has given him the opportunity to sort of evaluate the organization from an outside perspective that nonetheless still possessed first-hand knowledge. And as he tells it, his new teammates knew that quite well, and tried to pick his brain as a result.
Faneca recently spoke to the Steelers’ website as part of their Legends Series of interviews, and one of the things that he talked about is how players and coaches from the other teams that he played for would ask him questions about how things were done in Pittsburgh, with an angle toward attempting to recreate their success.
“When I left”, he said, “a lot of people always wanted to know what the secrets are, what’s going on in Pittsburgh because everybody wants to recreate it. The consistency, the Super Bowl trophies”. But what he had to tell them was not what they wanted to hear. To put it simply, it’s not a recipe that can simply be duplicated.
“It’s really hard to put into words”, he said, “but it’s a brotherhood, it’s a family, it’s the guys in the organization and the locker room. We’re all so similar but we all come from different areas”. This is an interesting comment because it very much mirrors the same things said by Joe Greene and Donnie Shell in their own interviews as part of this series.
Naturally, Faneca was part of a different era of the team, so if he is able to echo the same sort of sentiment—and we continue to hear those things from players today, such as Alejandro Villanueva, who also had a bit of an outsider’s perspective—then it would stand to reason that this is most likely a thread that has run throughout the Steelers’ history.
“That is how you make it through all the rough patches and that’s how a Pittsburgh Steelers team that maybe, technically on paper should have 6 or 7 wins, gets 8, 9 or 10 wins”, Faneca said.
“Because a lot of teams in the NFL are lacking that, and those things and those characteristics that carry over and transfer on the field. Sometimes people would understand me, but most of the times they still didn’t, and that’s their loss”.
While the future Hall of Famer has done much to separate himself from his playing days, including dropping a significant amount of weight, Faneca has considered entering the coaching ranks. Naturally, he dipped his toes into the coaching waters with the Steelers, as he served as a coaching intern with the team last season during OTAs and training camp, working with offensive line coach Mike Munchak.