The 2009 Pro Bowl rosters were announced yesterday. A grand total of two Pittsburgh Steelers were selected to the team. James Harrison was named a starter, his third selection in as many years. Casey Hampton was chosen as a reserve NT (behind the Ravens’ Haloti Ngata) marking his fifth appearance in the NFL’s annual all-star game.
As is usually the case with the Pro Bowl, it’s more interesting to talk about who didn’t make it than those who did.
Nobody was selected from the Steeler offense. Remember, this is first time in franchise history that they have a 4,000 yard passer, two 1,000 yard recievers, and a 1,000 yard rusher all in the same season. Not to mention Heath Miller, who has long been one of the best TEs in the game but is currently having the finest year of his career. When you pile up those kind of statistics, one would think somebody should get Pro Bowl recognition.
Even though Hines Ward currently has roughly the same stats as Pro Bowl reserve Brandon Marshall, I can understand him not making the team. His fellow players consider him “dirty” and in a popularity contest like this, his grittiness hurts his chances. The same cannot be said of Santonio Holmes. Coming off his Super Bowl MVP performance, many thought this would be ‘Tone’s breakout year. I’m not sure I’d go that far but he’s currently tied for third in the NFL in total receiving yardage. What really separates him is that of the top ten receivers, he’s third in average yards per catch. I’d say that’s slightly more impressive than Wes Welker’s uncanny ability to catch ten 3 yard passes per game.
The other omission I’m sure will cause much agita among Steeler Nation is the snubbing of Ben Roethlisberger. This one’s a little bit difficult for me because I really don’t see any argument for including him unless you think the Super Bowl winning QB should make the team by default. He’s eighth in total yardage and his 23/12 TD-to-INT ratio isn’t very good. Big Ben also suffers by playing in the same conference as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. It’s hard to put Ben on the team ahead of two of the greatest QBs in NFL history. The only one you could quibble with is the third QB, Philip Rivers. However, Rivers has a fantastic 27/9 ratio and his team has won twelve games this year.
Regardless, there are a ton of dropouts every season since everybody wants chosen for the Pro Bowl (due to contract incentives) but nobody wants to actually play in it. Since the NFL stupidly moved it out of Hawaii, I’d imagine there will be even less desire to attend this year. So of course I’m sure another Steeler or two will make the team before all is said and done. Although being added because somebody else didn’t want to come is kinda like being the last kid picked in kickball.
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