Steelers Pro Bowlers Deserving, But So Were Others

By Matthew Marczi

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be sending two constituents this year to the Pro Bowl to represent their team. Considering they’re currently 7-8, that might sound about right, though when one considers that the 2-14 Kansas City Chiefs sent more than that to the Pro Bowl last year, questions might be raised.

Certainly, the two representatives are more than deserving, those being safety Troy Polamalu—who had a sort of under the radar season—and wide receiver Antonio Brown, who also made it as a punt returner, partly due to the fact that the Pro Bowl no longer has kickoffs, making kickoff ability irrelevant.

Brown is having one of the best seasons by a wide receiver in the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise. His 101 receptions with a game to spare is second only to the 112 of Hines Ward, and he’s also just the second to reach triple digit receptions. His 1412 receiving yards is the most in team history.

Meanwhile, he trails only Josh Gordon and Calvin Johnson in yards, and Pierre Garcon and Andre Johnson in receptions. His eight touchdowns is among the top 15 among receivers—and is also a career-high. His 27 receptions of at least 20 yards—six of at least 40—is tied for fourth-most, if my quick figuring is correct.

That’s not even to mention his punt return ability, which also ranks among the top players in the league, and which I’ve also previously detailed.

As for Polamalu, he has had some high-profile mistakes this season, which has certainly damaged his public relations with the Pittsburgh faithful this year, but he’s had a strong season overall and undoubtedly deserves his eighth-career Pro Bowl nomination, though I’m sure he’s more pleased to have played a full 16-game schedule.

While his work in deep coverage has at times been spotty—it always looks bad when he guesses wrong—he has done some of the best work of his career against the run, which has coincided with him sacrificing for the team by playing linebacker in the quarters package.

While he is known for his interceptions, meanwhile, he has quietly forced five fumbles this season—he had seven in his 10 previous seasons combined. That included what was essentially the game winner against Green Bay when he stripped the ball from Matt Flynn deep in Green Bay territory, setting up the eventual go-ahead touchdown. His two sacks and two interceptions, including a pick-six, certainly don’t hurt his cause either.

When you look at the rest of the roster, however, you really don’t see many spectacular candidates. Many of the team’s best players had down years, or were injured, such as Lawrence Timmons and Maurkice Pouncey.

Certainly Ben Roethlisberger deserved a Pro Bowl nomination, and David DeCastro was worth consideration, though the latter did miss some time and struggled early on after missing most of his rookie season. According to Bleacher Report, in fact, both are listed as alternates, though it doesn’t specify which alternate.

The only other alternates at quarterback listed are Aaron Rodgers, who’s missed half the season, Nick Foles, Andy Dalton, and Matthew Stafford. Of that group, I would expect Roethlisberger to be at least the second alternate behind Stafford, if not first.

Among the guards are Josh Sitton, Alex Boone, Evan Mathis, and Zane Beadles. I would likely place him second behind Mathis, who probably deserved a nod over Logan Mankins, though his missed time might also play a factor. Still, it’s nice to see his season recognized in his second year, and his third year should only be better.

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

    Brown had some high-profile mistakes also. Most notably stepping out of bounds against Miami. Everyone on this team has choked at some point this season. Not fair to single out Troy as to who made mistakes. Go Steelers! Also, chiefs, jets, and bungles….

  • Rick M

    8-8, for the second straight year, with the 7th best QB in the league playing every snap. They didn’t deserve any more than 2 Pro Bowlers.

  • Eric Crook

    Ben definitely deserved to make it…had a really good year, and I believe has played every game and taken almost every snap at QB besides a couple wildcat snaps to Bell

  • Lamarr56

    I wouldn’t really say Timmons had a down year. He played very well this whole season in my eyes.

  • CrazyTerry

    Andy Dlaton and Stafford are huge jokes as probowl. nominees. Really, Stafford???? Over ben?????
    And while Troy did force five fumbles, I disagree he had one of his best years tackling. Sure, he had more chances to tackle and so he racks up more tackles. But he was oe of the key reasons we lost the Miami game on a missed tackle(not to mention the missed pick 6 which offset the pick 6 he did make later). And why did he miss that tackle – because he was trying to strip the ball. He was going for a forced fumble and failed to wrap up. I think the coaches were so desperate to make up for the lack of a quality front 7, that they overextended Troy. I personally believe he made it on rep and that is going to cost the Steelers a chance to make a bigger cut in his salary next year.

  • CrazyTerry

    Timmons was not that good in pass coverage.

  • CrazyTerry

    Troy made a lot more mistakes than Brown. Brown had one really bad game – Oakland where he made two killer mistakes. That is offset by Troy looking stupid in NE. But overall, Brown was a better elite WR than Troy was as a safety..

  • CrazyTerry

    I am still amazed at some of the QBs who made it over Ben.

  • Steve

    Tommons was our best player on D. Ben came out slow this year and that is what cost him the nod at the Pro Bowl. Troy is the ultimate Team Player we have. He is not lightning fast but always gives it his 100%. Will never forget him jumping over the center to block the Field Goal and was a split second too fast.

  • Gloria Burke

    How about Shaun Suisham???? With the exception of the Oakland game, he has been money.

  • WilliamSekinger

    Aaron Rodgers is also a joke missing half a season.

  • Steve

    NE is one of them games that we (Everyone) played terrible. Some games you say if only this, or if only that. NE Steelers just got their butts beat. Sometimes you need a game like that to throw you back into reality.

  • Steve

    Suisham cost us the Oakland game with missing the FG’s.

  • Jacob Dixon

    I hate how Matt of lions throws tons of picks and has bad footwork and he still makes the probowl

  • Bernie B Roten

    The pro-bowl nod was a going away present for Polamalu. He will be a cap casualty in the offseason and should retire.