5 greatest Steelers offensive lineman of the modern era
The Steelers struck gold with an offensive lineman in the 1998 NFL draft
In the first round of the 1998 draft, the Steelers selected a guard from Louisiana State University who is on the precipice of becoming yet another Steelers offensive lineman to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Alan Faneca, the ‘O’-lineman to whom we are referring, started 153 out of 158 games in the 10 seasons he played for us. In those 10 seasons, Faneca made the Pro Bowl 7 times consecutively and was named All-Pro 6 times. For his career, Faneca made 9 consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl and started 201 out of 206 games in which he played.
When Faneca left the Steelers after the 2007 season, I was devastated. I had a feeling that it would be a few years before the Steelers were able to find another Pro Bowl-caliber guard to replace Faneca.
It took until the 2012 draft for the Steelers to find another perennial Pro Bowl guard to fill the void left with the departure of Faneca. Of course, that guard is DeCastro and we are fortunate to have him carry on the legacy.
Getting back to Faneca, he played with a toughness that was reminiscent of the toughness with which the Steelers of the 1970s played. I think he would have fit right in with the ‘O’-lineman who paved the way for Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier to run over the opposing defense, who protected Terry Bradshaw and who helped the Steelers win 4 Super Bowls in a span of 6 years during the decade of the ’70s.
I firmly believe that one day, very soon, Faneca will get the call that informs him that he has been selected as the next great Steelers player to enter the hallowed halls of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Let’s ‘keep the train rolling’.