The America's Game features presented by NFL Films are always enjoyable short movies to watch for any football fan. If you aren't familiar with the format, NFL Films talks with 3-4 featured individuals from each Super Bowl championship team (either players or coaches) as they review the highlights of their championship year. As you can imagine, the Steelers have more of these features than any other team with six, one for each Super Bowl victory. They are truly enjoyable documentaries that include the perspectives and special stories from players that made a significant mark for that team's Super Bowl run.
From the Steelers' specials, there have been 16 players and 2 coaches featured in the America's Game documentaries:
Super Bowl IX:
LB Andy Russell, RB Franco Harris, DT Joe Greene;
Super Bowl X:
WR Lynn Swann, S Mike Wagner, DE Dwight White;
Super Bowl XIII:
DT Joe Greene, RB Rocky Blier, TE Randy Grossman, CB Mel Blount;
Super Bowl XIV:
DE LC Greenwood, WR John Stallworth, DT John Banaszak;
Super Bowl XL:
RB Jerome Bettis, LB Joey Porter, HC Bill Cowher;
Super Bowl XLIII:
SS Troy Polamalu, QB Ben Roethlisberger, HC Mike Tomlin.
If When the Pittsburgh Steelers win Super Bowl 49 in Phoenix, Arizona on February 1, 2015, there are a number of possible candidates to be the interviewees of that represent the Steelers on the next edition of the America's Game special. How the Steelers win the Super Bowl, is up to you. Each interviewee usually played an important part to the season, were a major replacement on the team to injury, or made huge plays in the Super Bowl to help the team to victory.
So who will it be? Let's take a look at possible team leaders after this season that NFL Films will have to consider after the Steelers win their seventh Super Bowl:
QB Ben Roethlisberger: Roethlisberger would be the second member of the Steelers' organization to be featured in multiple America's Game specials (the other would be Joe Greene). The 11th year quarterback will need to lead the offense to be much more efficient than last season, giving away less turnovers and scoring more touchdowns. This is his year to do just that. Ben Roethlisberger came off as the humble guy in the last America's Game special who sought to redeem his poor performance in the Super Bowl XL victory against the Seattle Seahawks. This year he will come off as the masterful veteran who loves to see growth in his teammates. Neal Coolong says Roethlisberger can break the franchise record for passing yards in 2014. What say you?
RB Le'Veon Bell: In just his second year in the NFL, Bell can be the player that re-establishes the strong reputation of a ground game in Pittsburgh. While he gained more than 1,000 all purpose yards in 2013, he'll gain well over that on the ground alone in 2014. His power and agility will get him some iconic runs trucking over major defenders in the NFL throughout the season. Should the 2nd year player get the shot?
WR Antonio Brown: He was the team's 2013 MVP and had the second most receiving yards in the NFL last season. He set a personal record of eight touchdowns in 2013, and has improved his touchdown count in each year of his tenure with the Steelers. The Steelers are the only team in the NFL with three wide receivers to receive Super Bowl MVPs, so it only makes sense that Antonio Brown will be considered as an interviewee after he makes his mark in NFL playoff history, again.
TE Heath Miller: Miller has been the quiet work horse for the Steelers since he came into the league in 2005. After recovering from an injury from 2012, his 2013 season was more about him trying to find his way back to being productive than it was about him leading the team. But with his second opportunity to have a full training camp under a Todd Haley offense, Miller has a chance to improve upon his 2012 career-best numbers in 816 yards and eight touchdowns. Miller has embodied the classic blue collar workhorse mentality of the Steelers over the years and is a fan favorite. He's always been soft-spoken, and I'm sure Steeler nation would love to hear his perspective on a championship season.
C Maurkice Pouncey: The former Florida Gator can become the first Steelers' offensive lineman to be interviewed on an America's Game feature. He just got signed to his first non-rookie contract and is coming off the a season where he missed all but a few plays of one possession in the first game of the season. Pouncey has the makings of the being the NFL's comeback player of the year should he be able to perform at a high level and lead the Steelers offensive line to be a top unit in the NFL.
DE Cameron Heyward: BTSC has affectionately been calling Heyward "Wreck It Cam" for some time now. He made some big strides in 2013 and is poised to wreck havoc upon opposing offenses in 2014. The Steelers have featured more defensive lineman in America's Game specials than any other position on their roster, so it makes sense that a defensive lineman could be featured in this year's edition of the show. Jeff Hartman sees 2014 as a season for Cam Heyward to get eight sacks; what say you?
MLB Lawrence Timmons: For all the great Steelers linebackers to play in the NFL, only Joey Porter and Andy Russell have ever been featured in America's game. While the two have been great players in their prime, neither might be considered as the best to play for the Steelers. Lawrence Timmons is a player from the same draft class as Patrick Willis, has developed behind James Farrior and become a leader for the current Steelers' defense. He's in his prime as a defensive player and after having an impressive 2013 campaign, he is a player that can continue to be a leader as the defense sees a resurgence into the upper stats of the league in 2014.
MLB Ryan Shazier: Could he be the first Steelers rookie to be featured on America's Game? His speed has been seen as uncanny and after an impressive mini-camp and OTAs portion of the 2014 offseason, he has been looked at as a potential starter on the roster. Could he be a candidate for defensive rookie of the year and a team member for the America's Game special?
CB Ike Taylor: Why? Because swag. After being "pissed" about his pay-cut, Taylor will be looking to have a big season. He may not record a large number of interceptions, but he can shutdown several star receivers this season; including, but not limited to, A.J. Green, Andre Johnson, Steve Smith, and Julio Jones. And that's just who he'll shut down in the regular season. Look for the "you can't see me" celebration to be back in full swing. The wily veteran will be able to be a significant role player for the team and be a part of the reason why the secondary will be better in 2014.
SS Troy Polamalu: Arguably the greatest safety to ever play for the Steelers, Troy Polamalu, like Ben Roethlisberger, has a chance to be the second Steeler, after Joe Greene, to be featured in two America's Game specials. He lead the NFL's defensive backs in forced fumbles in 2014 and showed more stability as he avoided injury last season. While opposing teams may start to think the 2010 defensive player of the year may be out of gas, it will be the year for Polamalu to prove he has quite a lot left in the tank.
HC Mike Tomlin: The 2008 Steelers' edition of America's Game featured Mike Tomlin as it was his second year coaching in Pittsburgh and he signified a change in the mentality of the Steelers. The story behind how his motivation to ensure the Steelers' defense should form an attack to score once they forced a turnover was nothing but magical. Does the Steelers' head coach have some more moments of wisdom to share with his team? The answer should be obvious.
DC Dick LeBeau: In the history of America's Game as a documentary series, no assistant coach or coordinator has been featured as an interviewee for a Super Bowl champion. But if there ever would be such an interviewee, why wouldn't it be LeBeau? He's arguably the greatest defensive coordinator in the history of the NFL; the father of one of the best modern blitz schemes that has spawned numerous top defensive seasons for the Steelers, and commands the respect of every player on the Steelers' roster.
There you have it! Vote away! Do you have anyone not listed that you would vote for? Put them in the comment section. We can revisit this after the Steelers complete their 19-0 season and win the Super Bowl in Phoenix!