It’s official. Two more Pittsburgh Steelers have been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, those being longtime offensive guard Alan Faneca and the late Bill Nunn, the latter of whom will be going in as a Contributor. The announcement(s) came during Saturday’s NFL Honors Awards show, which was broadcast on CBS.
Alan Faneca: A Six-Time Finalist
This was the sixth year that Alan Faneca reached the final round of voting. He was Pittsburgh’s first-round draft pick in 1998 out of LSU and played ten seasons for the Steelers before finishing his 13-year career with the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals.
In those 13 seasons he was selected to nine Pro Bowls and was a six-time All-Pro. He was also named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2000s and is a member of the Steelers Hall of Honor (inducted in 2018).
He earned a Super Bowl ring in February 2006 when the Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL, responsible for throwing the block that allowed ‘Fast’ Willie Parker to produce the 75-yard touchdown run that allowed the Steelers to open up 14-3 lead.
Bill Nunn: ‘The Dynasty Builder’
For his part, Bill Nunn was a part of the Steelers organization for 46 years before he passed away in 2014 at the age of 89. Among other things, he helped the Steelers find talent at Historically Black Colleges and Universities during a time when Black college players weren’t drawing much attention from the NFL.
His influence was especially strong during a five-year period between 1969-74 when the team had 24 HBCU players, more than any other club in the league.
Those players included defensive end L.C. Greenwood (Arkansas Pine Bluff, 1969), Mel Blount (Southern University, 1970), wide receiver Frank Lewis (Grambling State, 1971), defensive tackle Ernie Holmes (Texas Southern, 1971), defensive end Dwight White (Texas A&M-Commerce, 1971), Ernie Holmes (Texas Southern, 1971), quarterback Joe Gilliam (Tennessee State, 1972), wide receiver John Stallworth (Alabama A&M, 1974) and Donnie Shell (South Carolina State, 1974).
The Steelers have honored Nunn by putting his name on their draft room at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.
There were seven former Steelers players among the 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame nominees, including Hines Ward, Heath Miller, Joey Porter, Casey Hampton and placekicker Gary Anderson. Faneca and Ward were the only two to make it through to the semifinal round, with Faneca the lone finalist.
Hall of Fame Weekend 2021
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021 is scheduled to be enshrined on August 8, 2021, the day after the Class of 2020 (which includes former Steelers safeties Troy Polamalu and Donnie Shell, as well as former Steelers coach Bill Cowher, the latter of whom recently announced a release date for his new memoir).
The Steelers are also scheduled to kick off Hall of Fame Weekend by playing the Dallas Cowboys in the 2021 Hall of Fame Game on August 5, 2021.
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