Will the fifth time be the charm for former Pittsburgh Steelers guard Alan Faneca this coming Saturday? It certainly needs to be as Faneca more than belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2020 class. With this final week of waiting for the 2020 Hall of Fame Class announcement, a big push is obviously being made for Faneca by the Steelers and that includes several current Hall of Famers who played against the former first-round draft pick going on record with their endorsements of him.
On Monday, Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher gave his Canton endorsement of Faneca via the Steelers and on Tuesday an interview with Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis that includes his enshrinement endorsement of Faneca was released.
“He was one of the guards that he controlled the tempo of the front seven,” Lewis said of Faneca. “He was the leader in that group. His climb – first level, second level – boom, quick. Like you’re telling your defensive linemen, ‘Stay on him. Don’t let him climb up to me.’ Like, but that’s what Alan was so good at, man. He was just, he was so dominant in how he could combo block, right? We called it, combo. Touch a man, boom, touch a man, move, right?
“And then when you can influence that much of a defensive line, you’re going to have problems on the back end, when you’re talking about the secondary. He was so dominant. And I’m telling you, man, in Pittsburgh games, you know, The Bus [Jerome Bettis] and all of these guys coming downhill, if Alan’s on you, you have to figure out a way to get around him and then deal with them? It’s not going end well.”
Lewis should know more than any other linebacker as he played against the Steelers offensive line that featured Faneca 14 times during his long NFL career.
“Him being so smart right in that box, a lot of people don’t know how much calculation goes on in that box,” Lewis said of Faneca. “He understood. I think a Hall of Famer is somebody truly that has the career that inspires others to be like them, to be great. And every time he stepped on the field; he was great.”
Faneca really shouldn’t need the endorsements of Hall of Fame linebackers to get voted into Canton on his fifth try, however. After all, the fact that Faneca was a six-time First-Team All-Pro during his NFL career should be more than enough judging by the history of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
According to Pro Football Reference, there are currently two Hall of Fame eligible players not enshrined in Canton that were named First-Team All-Pro six or more times during their NFL careers. Faneca is one of those two players and Jim Tyrer is the other. Tyrer, who retired in 1975, ultimately killed his wife and then committed suicide in 1980 and thus that’s likely a strong reason as to why he hasn’t been voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame to date.
Let’s also not forget that Faneca would have likely ended his NFL career as a seven-time First-Team All-Pro had he not unselfishly moved to left tackle for most of the 2003 season due to injuries on the Steelers offensive line. He was a two-time First-Team All-Pro prior to that 2003 position switch and received those esteemed honors the four consecutive years after moving back to guard full time in 2004.
Should Faneca ultimately be bypassed a fifth time by the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee on Saturday, it will be a travesty. During his NFL career he was one of the most dominant guards to play the game during that span of years as evidenced by his First-Team All-Pro selections. The wait for Faneca needs to end on Saturday.
Here is the @pfref list of @ProFootballHOF eligible players with 6 or more First-Team All-Pro selections. Of the players on their list, only Alan Faneca and Jim Tyrer are not in the HOF. Tyrer, by the way, killed his wife and then committed suicide in 1980. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/BfEir6GXt1
— Steelers Depot 🏆👑 (@Steelersdepot) January 28, 2020