Steeler Nation currently is up in arms regarding the fact that only three members of the team — James Harrison, James Farrior, and Troy Polamalu — won a spot on the the AFC Pro Bowl roster, with only two of them (Harrison and Polamalu) named as starters.
But let’s be objective. Look at the full roster, and ask yourself if the Steelers’ starters at the other positions are better than the guys who made it.
Running back Willie Parker has been too banged up, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has spent too much time running for his life. The offensive line has more holes than Andy Reid’s donut stash. Receiver Hines Ward doesn’t have the numbers, and receiver Santonio Holmes hasn’t exactly put together a breakout year in that supposedly critical third season for a wideout.
On defense, the cornerbacks are good but not close to the three who made it (Asomugha, Finnegan, Revis), and the defensive line has no dominant presence that can overcome the stats-suppressing 3-4 system.
The only guy with a real beef is linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who should have made it over Suggs. Even then, however, it’s a close call.
In our view, the entire exercise draws into clear focus the value of second-year coach Mike Tomlin to the Steelers. With a lineup not stocked with the best players in the league, Tomlin has led his team capably through one of the toughest schedules in NFL history.
The fact that the Steelers stand on the brink of swiping the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs from the Titans underscores the brilliance of Tomlin’s work.
And so the real snub that should send Steelers fans en masse toward 280 Park Avenue with pitchforks and torches would be a Coach of the Year designation that goes to anyone other than Tomlin.
For more on the Steelers’ incredible season and Tomlin’s responsibility for it, we give you a little PFTV.