The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Alan Faneca will join Bill Nunn as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2021.
Explanation: While it is not official yet, Bill Nunn’s selection as the contributor candidate for the 2021 class for the Pro Football Hall of Fame pretty much guarantees that he is going to be approved and voted in and enshrined next year. Meanwhile, Alan Faneca has been knocking on the doorstep for several years now and certainly feels overdue.
Let’s get one thing out of the way, first and foremost: Bill Nunn will be a member of the class of 2021. That’s a done deal. There’s no way they would let him get nominated as the contributor candidate and not be approved. He is one of the single-most glaring omissions in the corridors of the Hall. It’s happening, case closed. So that’s not an issue.
As for Alan Faneca, finalists haven’t been announced yet, but there’s no question that he’s not only going to make the shortlist, but also the list of finalists. He’s been on the precipice for a couple of years now, and they’ve already cleared out the likes of Kevin Mawae and Steve Hutchinson who were standing in his way. Like LaDainian Tomlinson and Curtis Martin for Jerome Bettis, he’s on deck.
Even assuming that Faneca is the next lineman in line to enter the Hall (there is also Tony Boselli, who has been eligible for a while can getting closer in recent years, one has to consider the table. Peyton Manning and Charles Woodson are first-year eligibles. They are locks. That’s two spots there. Given his dominance, you have to consider Calvin Johnson a possibility as well, and they have been more favorable to wide receivers of late. Even Logan Mankins could sneak in. And that’s just among first-year eligibles. It will be a crowded group.
Plus, following a class that has three Steelers with another that has two more may be something that the Hall would like to avoid. Perhaps not explicitly bias, it does seem that they tend to prefer distributing honors, both among organizations and among positions. Even if three players from the same position are among the five most deserving in a given year, at least one, if not two, will almost surely have to wait.