After today’s games, there is a very good chance that a roster spot at the quarterback position will be opening up on the AFC side of the Pro Bowl roster. The Kansas City Chiefs are hosting the New England Patriots, and if the Chiefs win, that would obviously prevent Patrick Mahomes from participating in the Pro Bowl.
Of course, if the Patriots win, then Tom Brady would not be able to participate. So when I say there is a ‘very good chance’, I mean there is a 100 percent chance. Some quarterback not currently on the 2019 Pro Bowl roster in the AFC will be on the roster after today. The question is, will that be Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger?
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has already backed out of the Pro Bowl after his team was eliminated from the postseason by the Patriots, and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who was the first alternate, replaced him. So who is next on the list?
Frankly, it would be pretty hard to imagine it not being Roethlisberger. It’s certainly not going to be the likes of Ryan Tannehil, Case Keenum, Derek Carr, or Sam Darnold. Perhaps Deshaun Watson or even Baker Mayfield might have squeezed into that second alternate role, but the Steelers’ passer certainly has the numbers.
After all, he did throw for over 5000 yards this season to lead the NFL and his 34 touchdown passes were also third in the AFC behind only Mahomes and Luck. Now, he did lead the entire league in interceptions, but I certainly think he should quality as at least a top-five quarterback in the AFC, and it would be telling if he is not the second alternate.
Roethlisberger only made the Pro Bowl twice in his first 10 seasons in the NFL, but had gone in each of the past four, so he certainly has had the ‘foot in the door’ card in his pocket that helps players get repeat invitations.
I do think that, if invited, he would accept this year, especially given all of the offensive players that he will have around him once again, including three offensive linemen in Alejandro Villanueva, Maurkice Pouncey, and David DeCastro, though the latter as I’ve indicated backed out due to injury. Running back James Conner and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster will be there, as will defenders T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward.
The Steelers’ eight total Pro Bowlers are the most in the NFL this season, and Roethlisberger could give them nine. The Chiefs’ fullback is the Pro Bowler at that position as well, so if Kansas City wins, Roosevelt Nix could make it 10, as they had last year, if he is the first alternate.