Perseverance and adversity has been big for just about every football team this year. From suspensions to injuries, it’s no secret that this season has been unpredictable each week. One positive for the Pittsburgh Steelers was the multiple players sent to the 2018 Pro Bowl.
This is the 17th straight season that the Steelers are sending a handful of players as well as the 26th time in the last 29 seasons. With eight players selected, the most than any other NFL team this year, all the adversity faced has paid off. Selected players include Chris Boswell, Antonio Brown, David DeCastro, Maurkice Pouncey, Ben Roethlisberger, Ryan Shazier, and Alejandro Villanueva. Everyone except Roethlisberger and Shazier were voted in as starters.
A Look At The Team
Le’Veon Bell received the most votes within the Bowl voting ballot. As his third time being selected, Bell has 307 carries for 1,222 yards, a four yard average, and eight rushing touchdowns. He is on track to set a career high in rushing yards trumping his 1,361 yards within the two regular season games left. As the third Steeler running back to record 1,200 rushing yards in consecutive years, he will join Willie Parker and Jerome Bettis with that distinction.
Chris Boswell has held the Steelers win streak to a surplus with a 33 of 36 field goal attempts and 29 of 31 extra point attempts. He has a four-game winning field goal streak and is four for four from 50 yards or more which was more than enough to grant him his first time on the Pro Bowl Roster.
Another fan favorite was Antonio Brown who was voted in at number 3. This is his sixth entrance into the Pro Bowl, five of which have been consecutive. Prior to suffering a calf injury that forced an early leave from the Patriots game, has recorded 101 receptions for 1,533 yards, 15.2 yards per catch avg. and nine touchdowns. As the leading NFL receiver, Brown became the first player in NFL history with five consecutive seasons with at least 100 receptions. Expect nothing short of an intense energy on the field and an unstoppable force in the endzone from Brown.
It only makes sense that the offensive line of the Black and Gold has taken over a majority of this years’ votes because well, it all starts up front. Maurkize Pouncey received his sixth selection, David DeCastro will make his third thrip and Alejandro Villanueva is making his first appearance. As Ben Roethlisberger put it, “They really are the reason I stay upright and healthy. They are the most important part of the team because as they go, we go.”
We can’t forget Big Ben as he was selected for the sixth time in his career due to his astounding statistics of completing 340 passes for 4,025 yards this season. He has passed with flying colors the 4,000-yard mark for the sixth time in his career. Roethlisberger became the first player in NFL history to pass for at least 500 yards in three games, and his 506 passing yards is the 10th 400-yard or more game of his career and fifth player in NFL history. RIghtfully so, his vote to the Pro Bowl came as no surprise.
Finally, Ryan Shazier, who suffered a season-ending spine injury against the Bengals, was the 8th and final player to receive entrance to the Pro Bowl. With the immense support from players and fans from around the NFL, being voted in despite being on the injured reserve list still brought joy to all those who stand behind him. This is the first time Shazier was voted to the Pro Bowl aside from his 2016 Pro Bowl alternate selection.
Although being selected to the Pro Bowl is a great honor, each of the Steelers who were selected would glady miss the game due to being “busy”. That being said, if the black and gold make it to the Super Bowl, they will not participate in the All-Star game. With two games remaining in regular season, the Steelers are looking to win out the season and set the bar high for playoffs.
Despite the injuries of Shazier and Brown, the team will not allow that to stump their push towards the Super Bowl. Filling those positions will not be a one man job, but the team is prepared to work even harder to account for the missing performances of these two players. The teams’ adversity will have to show even more in the weeks to come but no team has overcome more than the good old Black and Gold. Let’s hope they continue to bring down the Steel Curtain!