Hall of Fame semifinalist list shows one thing often missing on cards

AlanFanecaThe semifinalists list for this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame vote was revealed this week and there are some legendary names on the list of 25 — Brett Favre, Terrell Owens, Morten Anderson, Alan Faneca. 

And if you’re like Buzz — a long-time collector but maybe someone whose focus isn’t purely on football all the time — one of those names may have left you saying, “Who?”

FanecaAutoIt’s not that Alan Faneca isn’t potentially a Hall of Famer — it’s that despite his playing 13 years in the NFL he barely has any cardboard to show for it. Guys like Buzz haven’t seen a card of his in years — if at all.

For the record, Faneca was a six-time All-Pro, played in nine Pro Bowls and was a first-teamer on the Hall of Fame’s All-2000s squad. He owns a Super Bowl ring. He started 201 of the 206 games he played — and he appears on a total of just 63 football cards.

Why? He’s an offensive lineman — a guard/tackle who was taken 26th overall in the 1998 draft out of LSU. We all probably know a few names from that year’s draft — Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson, Randy Moss, Fred Taylor and Ryan Leaf.

Leaf had more cards before his first rookie pre-season meltdown. Guaranteed.

Faneca’s first cards — including one of his only two certified autographs — were from Press Pass back in 1998. He didn’t even appear on an NFL card — his Rookie Card — until 2002, his fifth year in the league. Of his 63 cards, 16 of those are 1/1s — so, really, your odds of seeing one of his cards dropped even more.

Sure, most of us don’t want “commons” in our packs — a massive checklist makes a particular good player harder to get. That’s one of the reasons brands like Topps Total never took off in the past along with the work/cost involved to make a substantially higher number of cards in a set. However, Topps and Panini America have tried to make sure that some larger base sets have been made in recent years — at least a few sets beyond 100 cards of mostly quarterbacks, running backs and receivers. Faneca is far from alone as a player having few cards — in fact it’s more common than we think. We just don’t think about commons — until they’re somehow not.

As many products seem to continue to evolve away from base cards, we have seen players with fewer cards get the nod via things like event-specific jersey relics. Faneca’s last eight cards, for example, came from 2009 Panini brands that showcased swatches of a Pro Bowl jersey — he only has 10 memorabilia cards in all.

It’s impossible to get every player on every team on a card every year — especially in the NFL. It probably doesn’t make a lot of economic sense, either — products shouldn’t be made if they won’t sell. But it’s still kind of surprising to see guys who are in Hall of Fame consideration without a substantial amount of cardboard.

Follow BlowoutBuzz on Twitter @BlowoutBuzz.

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