Pittsburgh Steelers’ fullback and special teams’ guru Roosevelt Nix was added to the roster for the 2018 NFL Pro Bowl this morning. Nix is more than deserving of this honor and I’m sure he’ll enjoy his trip to Orlando like any of us would. Sadly, Nix has joined many, many other Steelers there in what can only be a reminder of just what a failure this past season has been for the Black and Gold.
Nix will not have a hard time finding his AFC teammates as he joins nine others who are already scheduled to be there. Eight (which was a league-high) players plus recently added Cam Heyward who should have been there in the first place will welcome the defensive player-turned-fullback to the land of Mickey. Selected originally were Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Alejandro Villanueva, Ryan Shazier and Chris Boswell.
When you look at that impressive list and realize that they are no longer playing in the postseason, you can’t help but wonder just how this team failed to get to the Super Bowl. But perhaps the issue lies within that very sentence. Was this ever really a team? Maybe this ‘team’ was actually just a really nice collection of individuals who happened to wear the same uniform in 2017. As each day passes since their loss to Jacksonville, that feeling inside me just festers as I’m sure it does you as well.
Somewhere along the way Mike Tomlin lost this team. Was it when he himself started talking about “rematches with New England” way too soon? Perhaps it goes back to the National Anthem flap in Chicago? I really don’t know but for anyone to tell me he didn’t “lose this locker room” in some way I’m sorry. I don’t buy it. I do not put all the blame on him though. Tomlin has had to deal with some selfish players who felt drawing attention to themselves was more important than putting the team first.
Mike Mitchell’s antics and consistently poor level of play is an example. Le’Veon Bell’s entitled attitude is another. And don’t for a second think that the saga with Bell is over. I’m expecting a rap and any number of other comments any day now and throughout the offseason. Hope I’m wrong but I doubt it.
Am I proud that all of these guys have earned Pro Bowl accolades? Sure, as individual players it’s one of the greatest honors you can get. But for me it’s also a reminder of just how much talent this Steelers’ team had and it failed. This really was “Super Bowl or bust” in 2017 but we’re stuck enjoying our guys in a meaningless game.
What a waste.