It’s easy to suggest that bias against the Pittsburgh Steelers from the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee played a big part in former guard Alan Faneca failing to get elected into Canton a fifth consecutive time on Saturday. In fact, one of the committee members, Gary Myers, admitted as much in a recent article of his for Sports Illustrated that detailed the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame selection process.
“Faneca’s chances Saturday were likely hurt by the previous selection at the January meeting of [Bill] Cowher and safety Donnie Shell as a senior and [Troy] Polamalu’s presence. There might have been a reluctance from the voters to have four Steelers among the 20 inductees,” wrote Myers, who claims he had Faneca in his final five along with safety Troy Polamalu.
I’ve said and written my peace already about Faneca’s Saturday snubbing and I meant ever word of it. However, nothing I say or write will change the 2020 voting. Instead, all I can do now is start looking forward to a year from now and hope that Faneca will ultimately be a member of the 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame class. However, as things look right now, Faneca’s chances of being voted into Canton a year from now are already seemingly diminished greatly.
A year from now the 15 Modern Era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021 figures to include three first-ballot types in the form of quarterback Peyton Manning, defensive back Charles Woodson and wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Manning’s a lock to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer a year from now and odds are probably pretty good that Woodson will be as well. As for Johnson, the early buzz is that he’ll also have a great shot at getting into Canton on his first try a little more than 365 days from now.
Assuming Manning and Woodson are indeed 2021 locks to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame as two of the five maximum allowed Modern Era selections, that would leave Faneca battling for one of three remaining spots. He’ll also likely be battling many of the Class of 2020 finalists that didn’t make the final cut of five on Saturday for one of those three remaining spots. That list of nine other players that failed to get elected on Saturday includes linebacker Zach Thomas, defensive tackle Bryant Young, defensive lineman Richard Seymour, safety John Lynch, safety LeRoy Butler, wide receiver Reggie Wayne, wide receiver Torry Holt, linebacker Sam Mills and tackle Tony Boselli.
On Monday, the formerly esteemed and revered Peter King, a longtime Pro Football Hall of Fame committee member, posted the Saturday discussion times of this year’s 15 finalists. Faneca’s discussion time of 9:28 was the shortest. Should that be concerning? It’s hard to say for sure. However, with Faneca being a finalist now for five consecutive years, what on Earth could there be left to discuss regarding him?
Whatever was discussed about Faneca by the Pro Football Hall of Fame committee on Saturday, it wasn’t enough to get him voted in over former NFL guard Steve Hutchinson. I still get very mad when I must type or say that.
With three former members of the Steelers organization being voted into the Hall of Fame this year, one musty wonder if that Pittsburgh bias will carry over more into 2021. Don’t be surprised if it does and if it once again results in Faneca being snubbed. Faneca has a one-in-three shot to make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2021 without any bias whatsoever. Add in that Steelers fatigue from a good chunk of the Hall of Fame selection committee and his chances decrease even more.
“Will be stunned if he doesn’t get in the next two or three years,” King wrote of Faneca’s future Hall of Fame chances on Monday.
Sorry, Peter, we can no longer believe anything you say or write when it comes to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as you admitted on Monday that even you don’t follow the rules and what’s expected of you.
Don’t hold your breath that Faneca will get in anytime soon because he apparently wore the wrong uniform for most of his NFL career.