As you all surely know by now, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019 was formally announced on Saturday, the day before the Super Bowl, and while that class included the name of an offensive linemen—with four of the final 15 finalists being linemen—that name did not belong to former Pittsburgh Steelers guard Alan Faneca.
Faneca, in his fourth year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame, reached finalist status yet again, but for the fourth consecutive year he sat there waiting for the knock that never came. Steve Hutchinson and Tony Boselli joined him, while center Kevin Mawae opened the door to find a Canton greeting awaiting him.
“It sucks and it hurts, but don’t feel sorry for me”, Faneca Tweeted yesterday evening, about an hour before the Super Bowl got underway. “Life moves on, and we find the next challenge in front of us. I’m thankful for all I’ve been blessed with”.
— Alan Faneca (@afan66) February 3, 2019
In spite of the fact that Faneca spent his final three seasons playing for the New York Jets and the Arizona Cardinals, he seemingly only identifies his professional career with his 10 seasons that he spent in Pittsburgh, as evidenced by his hashtags in the Tweet referring only to the Steelers and to his alma mater.
Of course we will find ourselves back here next year in the same situation, and again with three linemen ready to be inducted, with Faneca being among them. How will the voters decide between him, Hutchinson, and Boselli a year from now? Will they be willing to allow two in for the same class?
The most recent to have done so was the class of 2013, which included both Jonathan Ogden and Larry Allen. In addition, the 2012 class also featured a pair of linemen, with former Steelers center Dermontti Dawson joining Willie Roaf.
The class of 2019 included three players who were in their first year of eligibility, which is a high amount, those being Tony Gonzalez, Ed Reed, and Champ Bailey. Among those who will be eligible for the first time in 2020 are Troy Polamalu and Reggie Wayne.
If Faneca doesn’t make it in next year, then he will have to contend with a 2021 class that will likely include Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson, and perhaps Calvin Johnson as well. Not to mention whoever is left over from the previous year.
I think we all know that Faneca is a Hall of Famer in waiting. No matter how long it takes, we know that his career body of work is that of a member of that prestigious alumni. That doesn’t mean that each passing year in which his name isn’t called is not a disappointment for the fans—and especially for himself.