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Thread: HOFer Alan Faneca

  1. #1

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    HOFer Alan Faneca

    Piece of trivia, anyone have a guess on how many times Faneca was called for holding in his 13 yrs as a guard?

    Hall of Fame selection for Steelers' Alan Faneca brings attention to unheralded guard position
    Joe Rutter
    JOE RUTTER | Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021 1:20 p.m. Support Local Journalism

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    For one of the best guards of this century, it took three tries as a finalist before Steve Hutchinson made the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    “I thought it was an eternity,” he said.

    He could only imagine what it felt like for another dominant guard from his era, Alan Faneca, who wasn’t selected until his sixth time as a finalist.

    Faneca will be enshrined Sunday night, 24 hours after Hutchinson is honored with the Centennial Class of 2020.

    “When I saw the honors show and Alan got the knock on the door to his house, I was so happy to see it,” Hutchinson said. “I texted him while it was still airing. That was awesome to see.”

    Guards often are the overlooked and underappreciated members of the offensive line. That holds for Hall of Fame inclusion, too. Counting Faneca and Hutchinson, guards account for 18 modern Hall of Famers, including just a dozen who spent the bulk of their playing career in the Super Bowl era.

    Faneca is taking a measure of satisfaction in joining Hutchinson this weekend in Canton, Ohio.

    “It’s a little vindication playing a position that maybe is looked over a little bit in the Hall of Fame process,” Faneca said. “When I came into the NFL, the philosophy was you could plug anyone into guard. The tackle that couldn’t make it was someone you could slide in and play there.

    “Hutch and I helped redefine it to where it is now. It’s ‘Oh, we need to find guys who are big and can move and we can use them in space and have more dynamic action,’ that is what I think the two of us brought to the game.”

    Faneca spent his first 10 seasons with the Steelers before moving on to the New York Jets for two years and finishing his career with the Arizona Cardinals in 2010. He missed only one game in those 13 seasons because of injury and is best remembered for throwing the key block while pulling that sprung Willie Parker for a 75-yard touchdown run in Super Bowl XL. The 21-10 victory that brought the Steelers a fifth Lombardi Trophy came at the expense of the Seattle Seahawks and Hutchinson.

    “I thought Alan was one of those guys who was so smooth, especially on his pull,” Hutchinson said. “The thing I’d loved to have looked more graceful doing was pulling in space. Alan got through there and looked like a running back in his own right when he was leading on power plays.”

    Faneca was selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his final seven seasons with the Steelers, and he was named a first-team All-Pro six times in that span. The only year he wasn’t picked was 2003 when he shifted to left tackle.

    An injury to Marvel Smith left the Steelers thin at the position, so Faneca willingly slid over one spot and played on the outside for much of the season.

    “That year at left tackle was the easiest of my career on my body,” Faneca said. “You’re never on the backside of a play as a guard. When you’re a left tackle and you’re on the back end of a run play, you really are on the back end. You’re sealing a guy off or chasing down a linebacker. I never felt fresher after that season.

    “I still give my left tackle buddies hell for stealing all the money. They are out there cheating.”

    Faneca moved back to left guard in 2004, and he remained there for the rest of his career.

    “It never crossed my mind to stay out there,” he said. “I wasn’t having near as much fun as I did at guard.”

    Although his block on the Parker run is cited as perhaps the most important of his career, Faneca thinks his career was defined by lesser-known moments. For instance, it was getting a chance to watch Hall of Fame center Dermontti Dawson practice and perfect his craft while preparing for games.

    “It’s probably lots of little things that insignificant to most people that aren’t exciting,” he said. “It’s learning the game, picking things up as a young guy from the older guys, guys who had been there before. Those moments set me on the path that I’m on now.”

  2. #2
    Pro Bowler

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    IIRC 4 times.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chucktownsteeler View Post
    IIRC 4 times.
    According to the guys on SNR it was 3 times.


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