While a couple of members—or former members—of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrated yesterday their inclusion in the league’s 2010s All-Decade team, one current Steeler who spent the majority of the past decade elsewhere couldn’t help but take notice of his own absence, and put forth the argument that he should be there.
10-year veteran Joe Haden was a top-10 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He spent his first seven seasons there before he was released in August of 2017. The Steelers signed him that same day, and he has been their top cornerback since, coming off a Pro Bowl year with five interceptions.
He didn’t make the All-Decade team, though. The names you would expect did. Patrick Peterson, Darrelle Revis, and Richard Sherman got the nod for the cornerbacks. There were two positions open for more general defensive backs, but these slots were given for slot defenders or more roving players: Chris Harris and Tyrann Mathieu.
Haden couldn’t help but notice. He stacked his numbers up against the cornerbacks (all players named above short of Mathieu) and determined, “I’m on my All-Decade team”. His 27 interceptions over the course of the decade was the second-most of the group, behind Richard Sherman’s 35, while his 137 passes defensed were by far the most. Only Sherman had over 100 with 114.
Im on My All-Decade team.
— Joe Haden (@joehaden23) April 6, 2020
Of course, he is also the only player in the group to have played the entire decade. Revis last played in 2017, for example, though Harris, Sherman, and Peterson all came into the league in 2011, so while they did not have the benefit of the full decade, they were only a year off.
Including the 2019 season, Haden has made the Pro Bowl three times in his career, doing so last year as an alternate, with one All-Pro selection. Revis had five Pro Bowl selections during the decade and three first-team All-Pro selections. Sherman is a five-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro. Peterson has eight Pro Bowls and five All-Pros. Even Harris has been to the Pro Bowl four times, with three All-Pro selections.
The general consensus by this metric is certainly that these have been the top cornerbacks of the decade. Haden is arguing that his own play has been undervalued, and it has often been obscured by wasting much of his career in Cleveland.
It’s rare that a player has a legitimate shot at making the All-Decade team in more than one decade. Some players drafted in the middle of decades may be screwed out of the chance altogether. From that sense, I can sympathize with Haden, knowing that this was his shot. Yet still, I couldn’t take any of these cornerbacks off the list.