The 2012 Pro Bowl 43-man rosters for both the AFC and NFC squads will be announced tonight at 7 p.m. on the NFL Network and the Pittsburgh Steelers look to have a few players that will make the AFC squad as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Mike Wallace both finished in the overall top 10 of the fan voting that closed last Monday. Center Maurkice Pouncey was also the top vote getter for the center position on the AFC side and Troy Polamalu was the top AFC strong safety vote getter. Roethlisberger finished with 935,535 fan votes, Wallace had 923,073, Pouncey led the AFC centers with 376,073 fan votes and Polamalu received 230,649 fan votes.
The coaches and players cast their votes for the Pro Bowl last Wednesday and Thursday and each group’s votes count for a third of the total vote. Coaches and players usually vote for their own, so the chances are good that Roethlisberger, Wallace, Pouncey and Polamalu will all hear their names announced tonight. Keep your fingers crossed.
One Steelers player who is deserving of hearing his name called tonight, but likely will be snubbed is cornerback Ike Taylor. Taylor has put together a masterful season as part of a defense that ranks first in the league in passing yards per game allowed and passing yards per play allowed. The Steelers defense also ranks 1st overall in total yards allowed per game and total yards allowed per play as well. Taylor has also been tasked with following the opposition\’s top receiver around in games this year.
According to Pro Football Focus, Taylor has allowed just a 41.9% completion rate when thrown at this year according to their charting and that is good for 4th best in the league for those cornerbacks that qualified with enough targets. Opposing quarterbacks have just a 54.3 passer rating as well when throwing his way and that is 7th best in the league for those cornerbacks that qualify according to PFF. Taylor has allowed just 2 passing touchdowns all season and has 2 interceptions to his credit.
Taylor is a workaholic in the offseason and great in the lockerroom according to his teammates. He is also very durable as he will once again play in all 16 games for the 8th time in his career for the Steelers since being drafted in the 4th round of the 2003 NFL draft.
If there was ever a year that Taylor deserved Pro Bowl recognition, this would be the year. It will be unfortunate if he does not hear his name announced tonight as he truly deserves the honor. For the Steelers sake, hopefully none of those elected tonight will actually have to make the trip to Hawaii to play in the game as that would mean they will be busy preparing for the Super Bowl in Indianapolis instead.
Taylor might get snubbed tonight, but he will never be snubbed in the eyes of Steeler Nation. Congrats to Ike on a Pro Bowl type season and we are hoping to hear your name called tonight.