2000s 2nd-Team All-Decade Guards Preceded 1st-Team Alan Faneca Into Hall Of Fame

Will Shields was unquestionable one of the great offensive guards of the 2000s, a dominating presence for the Chiefs during that time, during which he helped Priest Holmes score 27 rushing touchdowns in one season. Shields was a second-team guard on the All-Decade team for the 2000s, as though he needed to bona fides.

He still had to wait four years into his eligibility until he reached the Hall of Fame. And former Pittsburgh Steelers guard Alan Faneca—one of the two first-team guards on that All-Decade team—is still waiting two years into his eligibility. In fact, he didn’t even move up this year, and perhaps regressed.

This is the scenario that Clark Judge set up recently in an article advocating for Faneca’s inclusion into the Hall of Fame recently. The league itself viewed him as one of the two best guards in the league for an entire decade’s worth of time, and yet he is still waiting.

Judge points out that his candidacy did not even progress this year, as neither this year nor last year did he reach the final 10 candidates from the initial pool of 15 finalists. Yet two first-year eligible including Kevin Mawae among offensive linemen superseded him.

That does not sound as though it bodes particularly well for him, especially when you consider the fact that the other first-team guard on the 2000s All-Decade team, Steve Hutchinson, is going to be eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time in 2018.

Shields and Larry Allen are both in the Hall of Fame, and they were the two second-team guards on the 2000s All-Decade team behind Faneca and Hutchinson. By that reckoning it would seem obvious that it is merely a matter of time before Faneca gets in.

I don’t believe that anybody is contesting whether or not Faneca is qualified to be enshrined at some point, but the issue to me is how soon he will get in. There tends to be an informal waiting list, with some positions being forced to wait more than others, and guard tends to be one of the less favored positions.

Concerning in my mind is the fact that Judge wrote Faneca’s presentation among the Hall of Fame voters hardly lasted five minutes, and was the shortest of the group. It is difficult to cite career highlights for a lineman, but this seems to me scarce.

One fact that Judge pointed out is that when Faneca signed with the Jets, their rushing game jumped from 19th in 2007 to ninth in 2008—and then first in 2009. The Steelers, meanwhile, went from third in 2007 to 23rd in 2008.

There is little question in my mind that Faneca was one of the five most qualified modern candidates worthy of the Hall of Fame this year. Many people in and around football feel the same way. I’m glad to at least see that being recognized courtesy of pieces such as the one written by Judge.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • VaDave

    The price for playing for the Steelers. If he would have played his whole career with the Cowboys, they would have thrown out members to get him in.

  • AMP4380

    I will never forget the time that he played some Left Tackle due to injury and did not embarrass himself. How many Guards have ever done that? Very deserving candidate. He belongs in the HOF more so than some who were voted in this year.

  • Kurt Warner was inducted this year and he isn’t worthy of clipping Faneca’s toe nails

  • Jeff McNeill

    That is the height of homer talk.

  • mokhkw

    Says it all really. Faneca should have been a 1st year selection imo.

    John Madden, when calling a game circa 2003, gushed over Faneca, saying he was his favorite player in the NFL to watch. At a time when everyone thought he had a bromance with Favre, Madden preferred watching a Guard play – Faneca.

    For those who didn’t get to watch him in his prime, he was that dominant, much more so than any current Steelers OL (and we have a great group atm). I almost felt sorry for some of those LBs when he pulled on running plays.

    Steve Hutchinson was just as dominant, once he left the Seahawks their O and Shaun Alexander were never the same. Good job by Holmgren there, letting Hutch walk and using the $s to sign Deion Branch….not.

    Larry Allen was also 2nd Team All-Decade for the 90s as well as the 00s. Should have been 1st Team in the 90s imo.

    Of the four I’d rank them as: Allen, Faneca, Hutchinson, Shields.

  • VaDave

    And I’ll wear that proudly. BTW, you got a better idea why he’s not enshrined?

  • mokhkw

    24 Steelers & 15 Cowboys in the HOF………

  • VaDave

    I think the biggest difference comparison wise between Hutchinson and Faneca, is Faneca didn’t have a Walter Jones standing next to him. No knock on Hutchinson, but just saying.

  • mokhkw

    True, but he did have Dawson & Hartings at C, I’d take them both over Jones.

  • Jeff McNeill

    I do. Because guards have never gotten the love I feel they should and thus have a harder time than tackles making the HOF.

  • VaDave

    He also had Hartwig and Mahan at center, neither of which I’d trade for Jones. BTW, isn’t Jones in the Hall?

  • mokhkw

    Yes, Jones is in the HOF. Faneca played one season with Mahan in ’07, then left for the Jets and didn’t play with Hartwig. Shame he didn’t stick around for 08 and get a 2nd ring, may have gotten him to the HOF already if he had.

  • VaDave

    One thing that needs to be understood is, this is a Hall Of “Fame” were are talking about. It’s not a hall of statistical achievement. While it is true guards have a hard time making it, as most of their work is not noticed, and quality is harder yet to define. The point is, Faneca was an all decade team member (voted in by some of the same writers that select the Hall candidates I might add), that did most of his work in a town at the time with very few beat writers of national renown. 5 years later, it’s “yeah, he was a pretty good player there, so what?”. It’s hard to deny the lack of fame element at play here. The reason he’s not in is because he’s a guard just doesn’t hold water. I”ll agree it isn’t helping him much, but that’s about all.

  • VaDave

    Apparently my memory is getting a bit foggy. Thanks for the corrections. Yeah, I wished he would have stuck around too, but there was no way he was going to stick around with BA taking over the offense. From what I remember we made him a decent offer, but opted for about the same amount of money from the Jets.

  • will

    How many Patriots?

  • treeher

    But probably true.

  • SteelerDieHard

    Yep, just as I thought. “Faneca’s presentation and discussion took less than 5 minutes … The shortest of all 18 finalists”. Lazy-ass Ed Bouchette at it again. Doesn’t have the interest or energy to properly represent professional

  • LucasY59

    although I am not as adamant as you are with your opinion of Bouchette there are some things you pointed out that I agree with

  • LucasY59

    It is interesting to see that both the 2nd teamers got in before Al, but I also think both had retired much earlier than Faneca, and so therefore had been eligible/waiting longer and as it seems it is only a waiting game he should get in soon enough (and Hutchison will have to wait his turn since I dont see his career being good enough to leapfrog Faneca)

    I had also heard about the 5 min discussion on whether or not to induct Al, but even though his was the shortest from what I heard Tomlinsons discussion wasnt much longer (so a short discussion doesnt necessarily mean he cant get in) one of the longest discussions was for TO and he did not get in, so longer isnt better, I think they decided that Al is a great OG and that they had other candidates this yr, but his career speaks for itself and he will get in eventually no matter how long they talk about it, the only time to worry about is how many yrs he has to wait, and I hope its not too many more

  • Rusted Out

    If guards don’t get any love, please explain why Allen, and Shields got in before Faneca. Allen and Shields were ranked behind Faneca on the All-Pro team his entire career.

  • Rusted Out

    LOL Terrell Owens… That just shows how biased those old fogies are. Few were as great at the WR position as he was. He is not in the Hall because is it every bit as much of a popularity contest as it is about on field achievement.

  • RickM

    I think that Peter King once wrote that an impassioned presentation, with lots of homework, can help. It is after all a sales job. To think that Faneca was dismissed in as little as 5 minutes from even getting from 15 to 10 is tough to believe. I don’t know Bouchette from adam in terms of his HOF presentations. But you get the sense from the limited discussion that it wasn’t a very moving pitch. But who knows. Too bad for Alan.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Judge makes the point in the article that that cost him a first-team All-Pro nod because voters couldn’t decided where to put him that year, so he ended put second-team.

  • Kevin78

    The all-decade team is not a good indicator in this situation. It just so happens that Alan Faneca covered the entire decade of the 2000s with his career. He became a great guard very early in the 00s. Shields and Allen were great players whose careers straddled the arbitrary cut-off. Shields started in 1993 and retired in 2006. Allen started in 1994 and retired in 2007. They are down three to four seasons to Faneca for an all decade team for no fault of their own.

    I think the NFL should do their all decade team based upon 10 years spans but starting every five years. Larry Allen would have clearly been the first team all decade from 1995-2005.

  • Kevin78

    I stated elsewhere, but the all decade team isn’t often helpful when comparing these guys. Allen and Shields careers almost evenly straddled the 2000 year whereas Faneca played that entire decade. If the NFL had a 1995-2005 all decade team, Larry Allen would have been a first team guard. Instead, he loses 4 years for the 1990s team and 2 or 3 years for the 2000s team. Shields loses three and three to each. All decade teams are nice, but too arbitrary. I would prefer that there be an all decade created at 5 year intervals. 1995-2005, 2000-10, 2005-2015..etc.

  • LucasY59

    yep that is the point I was trying to make in my first paragraph, I just didnt research the yrs they played, totally agree on the decade team if a player hits his prime at the start of a decade they have a much better chance of making the team, if a career is split between two decades they will have a harder time getting the all-decade recognition, but could have the better career, I dont think they need to change the format, total All-pro/pro-bowl nominations are just as important, and in the end the Hall should even it all out