Vance McDonald made big play after big play in 2018, much more comfortable in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense the second time around. But there’s one play above all the others. And you already know what it is. His Week 3 stiff arm of Chris Conte, on Monday Night Football for the world to see, is the one that sticks out. McDonald admitted as much in a recent interview with Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews and explained what made it so special.
“The play for sure is that,” he said. “It will always be just a flash of my entire life. That game, the context of the game, it’s primetime, my parents were there in the stands.”
It followed a laundry list of plays that showcased his physicality and ability to bully smaller defenders. Just from early November alone, I compiled several of them and by season’s end, he had many more.
The only thing nuttier than that play might have been the Internet’s immediate response. That play went “viral” and people who probably had no idea who McDonald was showed their support.
“The following 24, 48 hours after that it was funny to see the out pour of support coming from every person I’ve ever met in all walks of life. Being pinned for that play, I’ve received pieces of original art from people who are so talented. And I’m just blown away. It’s been so well received. It’s just so cool to have that and be apart of something like that.”
Artist Cody Sabol was responsible for two pieces of that art, teaming up with McDonald, Cam Heyward, and the Steelers to raise money for their charities.
McDonald finished the year setting career highs in receptions and yards – by wide margins – while tying his high in touchdowns. That was in part due to him staying healthy, overcoming a foot injury that held him out of most of training camp and all of the preseason while missing Week One of the regular season. His role could expand all the more in 2019, especially if Antonio Brown is ultimately traded away.