Good things come to those who wait, they say. In Alan Faneca’s case, it proved to be true—and it was equally true that sometimes good people have to wait. After several years of eligibility, the former Pittsburgh Steelers great guard was finally elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as officially announced yesterday.
A first-round pick out of LSU in 1998, he spent the first decade of his career in Pittsburgh before finishing up three more seasons with the New York Jets and the Arizona Cardinals, retiring following the 2010 season having made the Pro Bowl nine times and the All-Pro team eight times, including six first-team All-Pro designations. He also, of course, departed with a Super Bowl ring for the 2005 season.
Faneca had been eligible for enshrinement since the end of the 2015 season, his fifth year of retirement, and it took him six years to finally get in, having waited his turn behind other great interior linemen of the era who retired at the same time in center Kevin Mawae and guard Steve Hutchinson.
While he knows that he could have, perhaps even should have, gotten in sooner, now that he is finally in, he is simply grateful and thankful for the opportunity and the experience, a sensation that he conveyed to Missi Matthews of Steelers.com in an exclusive interview.
“I don’t know that you can sum it up. It’s amazing. It’s an awesome [feeling]”, he said of the news and the reality of it sinking in. “We’ve known for a little while now, been sitting on it crazily. Going through some of the stuff today, the orientation and stuff, it sits on you even more, like you’re just realizing the gravity of it the awesomeness, and the amazing part of it even more, and it leaves me even more speechless”.
Hopefully by August he’ll get over that sensation of speechlessness, because he will of course have to give a speech as they unveil his bust that will sit in Canton, joining many other former Steelers, including some great linemen in Dermontti Dawson and Mike Webster.
Former Steelers super scout Bill Nunn will also be posthumously honored in the same ceremony. As part of the 2020 class, Troy Polamalu, Donnie Shell, and head coach Bill Cowher will make up a five-member coalition—three players, one coach, and one contributor of Steelers representatives for the Hall of Fame ceremonies.