The Pittsburgh Steelers will not be playing in the Super Bowl this year—surprise, surprise—but they have a couple of guys who are eligible for the Pro Bowl, whether they choose to play or not. Those would be T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward, the former making it for the fourth time, the latter for the fifth.
Both Watt and Heyward did compete during the 2019 season Pro Bowl; there was no Pro Bowl played last year due to the pandemic. It is unknown if either will participate this go-around, though a player like Diontae Johnson could potentially be included as an alternate.
No matter what happens, there will be some Steelers presence, as former cornerback Rod Woodson was named a Pro Bowl Legends Captain for this year’s rendition of the game. He will be joined by a fellow Hall of Famer, Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, as the defensive and offensive captains, respectively, for the AFC side. The NFC will be represented by linebacker Luke Kuechly and tight end Jason Witten.
Between the four of them, they were selected to a combined 35 Pro Bowls in their time, with Woodson personally going to 11 of them, seven of which were while he was still with the Steelers. He ultimately made the Pro Bowl with three different teams—three times with the Baltimore Ravens and once with the Oakland Raiders.
The Legends Captains will serve as mentors for the players who participate in the game this year, though as you would expect, many of them will be dropping out and not traveling, this year the game being held in the Steelers Depot Metroplex stomping grounds of Las Vegas.
With each passing rendition, it seems, the actual Pro Bowl game begins to less and less resemble a genuine football game, but, of course, for good reason. Nobody wants to see a star player on their favorite team get injured in a meaningless exhibition.
Still, I enjoy tuning in and checking some of it out. I harbor an early childhood memory of watching a Pro Bowl game before understanding exactly what it was, and I loved seeing the uniform jerseys with different helmets. I took to a particular fondness for the black helmets of the Steelers players, before having had any fandom to any team.
The Pro Bowl certainly isn’t what it used to be, with actually dynamic, exciting, and contested plays few and far between, but hey, it’s the last chance you may get to see a Steelers helmet for a while. I’m sure the majority of you will be skipping the game, and I certainly don’t blame you, but I hope at least somebody from the team shows up so we can hear from them and bring to you what they have to say in their first offseason comments.