On the Hall of Fame chances of Alan Faneca

Ray Fittipaldo 3 years ago

Last week we took a look at the Hall of Fame chances for two current Steelers -- Ben Roethlisberger and Troy Polamalu A reader asked if I could do a similar post for a retired Steelers player who will be eligible for election in 2015.

Alan Faneca played 10 seasons for the Steelers and three more for the Jets and Cardinals. He was named All-Pro six times and made the Pro Bowl nine times. He earned a Super Bowl ring with the Steelers in 2005.

Let me first start by saying that offensive linemen are difficult for voters to evaluate. Unlike skill positions there are no statistics to quantify how good an offensive lineman was during his playing career. For the most part, voters use the eye test and rely on testimonials from players who played with and against them and coaches who coached against them.

It’s not a perfect science.

Faneca played guard so let’s compare him to a couple of Hall of Famers who also are enshrined as guards – Mike Munchak and Russ Grimm.

I picked Munchak and Grimm because they played in the 1980s and 1990s and their eras can be compared to the era in which Faneca played (1998-2010).

Munchak was named first-team All-Pro four times and was elected to nine Pro Bowls. Grimm was elected first-team All-Pro four times and was voted to the Pro Bowl four times.

Faneca has two more All-Pro selections than Munchak and Grimm and the same number of Pro Bowls as Munchak.

Grimm is an interesting case study. He was excellent for a short period of time before injuries took a toll on him. He was named All-Pro four consecutive years from 1983-86. That same four-year period was the only time he was voted to the Pro Bowl.

Grimm had a knee injury in 1987 that forced him to miss most of that season. The Redskins won the Super Bowl without him in the starting lineup. He played in the game but did not start. The same thing happened in 1991 when the Redskins once again won the Super Bowl. Grimm, in his final season, did not start the game, but he did play in it.

Voters struggled with Grimm’s resume for a long time. He had to wait 14 years before getting inducted in 2010.

Munchak was more durable and played at a high level for a longer period. For that reason he didn’t have to wait long to be inducted. He was enshrined in 2001, only three years after he first became eligible.

Comparing resumes, Faneca appears to be a shoe-in once he becomes eligible. He might not be elected on the first ballot, but he shouldn’t have to wait as long as Grimm, his former position coach, to get in.