Starting with the 1950 NFL season, 2022 brings the 73rd year of NFL players being selected to the Pro Bowl. Whether or not they play in the game or act as a reserve, it is a label that players carry with them on their résumé regardless of if they have incentives built into their contracts.
With this year‘s pro bowl from the 2022 season featuring the first “Pro Bowl Games” rather than a game played in pads, the NFL has at least embraced what this game has in essence become in recent years. But setting the game aside, the notoriety of being selected as one of the best players at their position for their conference is recognition enough.
For those who may be confused of the difference between Pro Bowl and All-Pro, the Pro Bowl is selected by conference and has enough players to fill up a roster while All-Pro is done for the entire NFL and is only looking at filling a starting lineup. For example, three quarterbacks are selected per conference to the Pro Bowl (assuming they all come to the game, because if they do not then more are selected), but the designation of being All-Pro goes to one quarterback for the season. There are more than one outlets that select an NFL All-Pro Team, but the one by the Associated Press is the accepted as the official team.
So without further ado, here are five fun facts when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers and their history of players being selected to the Pro Bowl. All data comes courtesy of Pro Football Reference.
The Steelers have had 339 selections to the Pro Bowl since 1950
Just to give a little history, the NFL played an All-Star game from 1932 through 1942. Players selected to this game are traditionally categorized as being equivalent to a Pro Bowl selection. For the Steelers, they had 13 players selected over this time period. Since the Pro Bowl began in 1950, the Steelers have had 339 selections from 123 different players with 77 being selected multiple times.
The most selections of any Steelers player to the Pro Bowl is Joe Greene (10)
A Pro Bowl selection from his rookie year in 1969 through 1976, Greene was not a Pro Bowler in 1977 despite being First Team All-Pro. Greene followed up with two more Pro Bowl appearances in 1978 and 1979.
There are five players from the Steelers who are tied with nine Pro Bowls. They are Jack Lambert, Mike Webster, Maurkice Pouncey, Franco Harris, and Ernie Stautner. As for active players, Cam Heyward leads the way with six Pro Bowls.
The Steelers have had at least one player selected to the Pro Bowl in every season except one (1999)
The Steelers sent no one to the Pro Bowl in the last season of the 20th century. In a downtime for Steelers to receive the accolade, only one player made it to the Pro Bowl for the Steelers in 1998 (Dermontti Dawson) and only one was selected in 2000 (Jason Gildon).
The player for the Steelers with the most Pro Bowl appearances with no All-Pro selections is Andy Russell (7)
After his rookie season in 1963, Andy Russell missed the 1964 season due to military service. Returning in 1966, he was selected to the Pro Bowl three seasons later in 1968. After a year with no selection in 1969, Russell saw six-straight Pro Bowl seasons from 1970 to 1975. But in all that time Russell was not selected First Team All-Pro. The closest he came was a 1972 when he was selected to the Second Team All-Pro.
While Russell leads the way with seven Pro Bowls and no All-Pro seasons, there were two Steelers not far behind. Ben Roethlisberger had six Pro Bowl selections without being selected All-Pro and Casey Hampton had five Pro Bowl selections while being shut out in the All-Pro department. Neither player was ever selected to even the Second Team All-Pro.
The largest difference in Pro Bowls to All-Pros is 9 to 1 (Franco Harris and Ernie Stautner)
Two of the three players who have their number retired with the Pittsburgh Steelers, both Harris and Stautner were fixtures for the Pro Bowl for almost a decade yet each only received one All-Pro selection. Stautner was All-Pro in 1958, which was the sixth of his nine Pro Bowl seasons. Harris’ All-Pro season in 1977 was also his sixth Pro Bowl selection as he was a member of the Pro Bowl for nine-straight years from 1972 to 1980.
So there are five fun facts when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers and their selections to the Pro Bowl. How many of these did you already know? Are there any other fun facts when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pro Bowl that you have in your back pocket? Make sure you leave any of them in the comments below.