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Cox's Faneca reflects on Lombardi Trophy triumph

Alan Faneca
Posted at 10:49 PM, Feb 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-11 22:49:42-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (WTKR)- Super Bowl Sunday is right around the corner, which will create memories for players and fans alike. Alan Faneca watches the Super Bowl ever year and it takes him back to his own experiences in the big game.

Faneca was a star offensive guard in the NFL, spending most of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers before finishing up with the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals. Among his career accolades, leading the Steelers to a Super Bowl title during the 2005 season, a 21-10 victory over the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL in Detroit.

"I've got a picture of me," he said. "I've got the trophy and I'm screaming and the ticker tape, red, white and blue, is all falling around me," the Pro Football Hall of Famer. "Hair on my neck, boom, every time I see it. It doesn't matter if it's November, August, February, that's just like that special picture. I'm right back there on the field in that moment when I look at that picture."

The former NFL lineman is entering his second season as the head football coach at Frank Cox High School. He says that every now and then, he'll share a story from his days as a professional with his players. While the difference between high school football and the NFL is drastic, there are some things that he can translate from his playing days that help him as a coach.

"Once you've been on a good team and around good coaches, you know what it means and that's what I've tried to bring," Faneca says. "Let's try and teach these kids and help them grow to be model citizens, people in the community, doing right. It takes a village is what I say."

During his first season leading the Falcons, Cox finished 5-4 and made the Region 5A playoffs. He hopes for improvement in year number two and also is aiming to leave his players with lasting lessons.

"I want everybody to see the possibility," the head coach said. "I want people to see the hard work that it takes and to go through that hard work and to achieve something and for that to spark something that might not relate to sports. It might relate to what's going on in the school building, it might relate to them going on in college or stuff at home."

Faneca spent a good deal of his NFL career working hard. Among his tasks, protecting Ben Roethlisberger from oncoming defenses. That helped lead to hoisting a Lombardi Trophy and with two days remaining until the Bengals and Rams kick off in Los Angeles, he knows what the players are feeling as game time nears.

"When I was in Pittsburgh, people knew when Alan Faneca walked into the store to go get some toothpaste that week leading up," he said. "It's just exciting. You're trying to keep everything calm and level and as much of a normal week as possible."

Faneca attended college at LSU. His wife is a Virginia Beach native, where they and their three children reside.