At Least One HOF Committee Member Is Optimistic About Faneca’s 2021 Chances

Are you already tired of me bitching and moaning about former Pittsburgh Steelers guard Alan Faneca not being voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year? If so, I highly advise you to exit this post right now.

For those of you who chose to continue reading, on Wednesday there was a rebuttal by a Hall of Fame committee member to my recent post on Faneca’s 2021 Hall of Fame chances already being diminished some mainly due to a few first-time eligible players in the form of quarterback Peyton Manning and defensive back Charles Woodson already being assumed as locks for the Class of 2021. That rebuttal comes courtesy of committee member Clark Judge. Below is Judge’s opening paragraph of that post.

I saw a story the other day that minimized guard Alan Faneca’s chances of reaching the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2021, essentially saying that because the class will include such first-year luminaries as Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson and Calvin Johnson, Faneca’s chances are diminished.

Sorry, but I disagree.

Judge basically goes on to say in his post that just because Faneca basically has a one-in-three chance of finally making the Hall of Fame in 2021 that his real competition will come in the form of former NFL tackle Tony Boselli for one of those three seemingly available class member spots. With former NFL guard Steve Hutchinson now safely in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2020 class, Judge speculates that one less offensive lineman log in the proverbial offensive linemen logjam should play into Faneca’s favor.

“OK, so Faneca was a victim of bad timing. But with Hutchinson out of the queue, only Faneca and tackle Tony Boselli remain from the four offensive linemen that split votes the past four years. And given that choice, I’d say it’s not Faneca who needs to worry about 2021. It’s Boselli,” wrote, Judge.

While that sounds great in theory, let the record show that Judge has been miffed by Faneca not making a move forward in being voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame since his 2017 failed attempt. If you need your memory refreshed, below is what Judge wrote nearly three years ago today on Faneca not being voted in as a Class of 2017 member.

“There’s no doubt that Faneca will reach Canton one day, but here’s what I don’t understand; Why he didn’t make a move forward this year when there was so much room at the top of the board. Instead, he didn’t budge from his 2016 finish. Not only that, but two offensive linemen who were first-time finalists, Kevin Mawae and Tony Boselli, passed him en route to top-10 finishes.”

Judge even doubled down in that same 2017 post and essentially said that Boselli had seemingly jumped Faneca in the pecking order and that Hutchinson could potentially do so as well in 2018, his first year of eligibility.

“It will be curious to see what happens in 2018 when Hutchinson, the other first-team all-decade guard from the 2000s, is Hall-of-Fame eligible,” wrote Judge in his 2017 post. “The smart money is on at least one offensive lineman making it to Canton next year, but, with Boselli and Mawae jumping the queue and an apparent indifference to Faneca’s candidacy, it may be tough for Alan Faneca to budge.”

Hey, at least he rightly predicted that it would be tough for Faneca. Since then, both Kevin Mawae and Hutchinson have been voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame while Faneca still sits and waits.

So, three years ago Judge went on record saying that Boselli passed Faneca and now today Judge all of sudden states that Faneca should be expected out-duel the former Jacksonville Jaguars tackle in 2021 for one of three seemingly available class member spots. Judge also now points to Boselli’s career being shorter as a reason why Faneca should edge him out in 2021. That being noted, another committee member, Peter King, recently talked in an interview about Boselli’s shortened career not seemingly being that big of an obstacle because of the position that he played and how well he played it. Look, even Judge admitted in his Wednesday post that Hall of Fame voters are slow to act on guards.

Judge wrote in 2017 that he didn’t understand why Faneca didn’t make a move that year in the voting. Maybe he should give credence to the fact that most of his fellow committee members do indeed have a sort of Steelers fatigue due to the number of members of the organization already in Canton. After all, fellow Hall of Fame committee member Gary Myers admitted just a few days ago that such a Steelers fatigue probably played a role in Faneca not getting voted in this year.

“Faneca’s chances Saturday were likely hurt by the previous selection at the January meeting of Cowher and safety Donnie Shell as a senior and Polamalu’s presence,” Myers wrote for Sports Illustrated. “There might have been a reluctance from the voters to have four Steelers among the 20 inductees.”

The overall preface of my recent post on Faneca’s 2021 Hall of Fame chances already being diminished more than a year out not only revolves around the fact that the former Steelers guard now essentially has just a one-in-three chance of getting voted in, but also that the carryover from three former Steelers, Troy Polamalu, Bill Cowher and Donnie Shell, being voted in this year could play a role as well in the final round of votes as well. Had there not been a separate Centennial Slate committee this year, do you believe Cowher or Shell would have both been voted in by the usual committee? I don’t.

Like it or not, having two spots in the 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class essentially already spoken for does indeed diminish Faneca’s chances of being voted in a year from now. Last I checked, having a one-in-five chance is better than having a one-in-three chance. Judge is trying to play positional semantics as part of his argument against my post.

Judge, Myers and King all seem confident that Faneca will eventually get voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I believe that as well. However, the fact of the matter is that Faneca still has not been voted in and regardless of what Judge wrote on Wednesday, I’m not convinced that 2021 will be the year he finally is. I hope I’m wrong, but if I’m not, you can bet I’ll remind Judge about it and especially if Boselli winds up making it in instead of Faneca.

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