The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Will you be tuning into the Pro Bowl?
I ask this question every year, and typically we get a mixture of responses, though the general temperature tends to be lukewarm. The Pro Bowl used to feel a lot more prestigious—meaning the game, specifically—than it is today, admittedly. Now, it’s primarily about making it and experiencing the weekend rather than actually going through the game, which, each year, becomes a guinea pig for a new hypothetical rule-change experiment. I believe they’re going with no kickoffs this year, or something like that.
This season, the Steelers have six players in total in the Pro Bowl, but only four who actually showed up to the game. The four down in Orlando are all defensive players in a game in which the defense’s hands are tied. There’s no blitzing, coverages are necessarily vanilla, etc. Still, it’s not as though it’s illegal to tackle.
Personally, I usually at least have the game on in the background, but I would love to see Minkah Fitzpatrick experiencing his first Pro Bowl, and Joe Haden playing with him in his first as a Steeler, and first since 2014. He’s talked about how much this means to him, and I think some of that translates to the viewing experience as well. T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward are also the definition of hustle.