Steelers Throwback Thursday: 10 Pittsburgh players nominated to 2018 Pro Bowl

Steel City Underground takes fans back in time to feature events, special moments, and historical times and players in the world of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Steelers Nation. Join us as we revisit these moments in our “Steelers Throwback Thursday” series.

The 2017-18 NFL season was a memorable one for the Pittsburgh Steelers, for several reasons. The team finished the regular season with a 13-3-0 win-loss record, became AFC North champs, had the “Killer B’s” on their roster, and had ten different players nominated to attend the Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando (Florida) on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018.

With the changes to the 2022-23 NFL Pro Bowl coming up on Feb. 5, 2023, at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, we thought it would be fun to jump back and look at the then highest Pro Bowl nomination group of Steelers players since the nine Pittsburgh nominees of the 2005-06 NFL Pro Bowl game. Originally, ten players made the list… but there was much more to the story…

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The nominees

After a season that saw Pittsburgh lose in the divisional round to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Pro Bowl was one last opportunity to see members of a very good Steelers team take the field once again. Granted, a Super Bowl appearance would have been much more highly cherished.

Still, the fact that ten players were nominated was a small consolation. The Steelers had the most representatives in the Pro Bowl among all NFL teams at the time. They were:

Brown, Villanueva, DeCastro, Pounce, Bell, Roethlisberger, and Boswell all participated as nominated. Heyward replaced Raiders DE Khalil Mack and Nix replaced Patriots FB James Develin.

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Unfortunately, in the 12th game of the Steelers’ 2017-18 regular season, Shazier suffered a season-ending injury that would subsequently become a career-ending one. He was replaced by Browns LB Joe Schobert in the Pro Bowl.

As Steel City Underground’s own Joe Kuzma wrote at the time:

“Shazier was on his way to a legitimate Pro Bowl season before a tragic injury removed him from the field in this twelfth game of the year… Shazier was a Pro Bowl alternate last season but had a huge year matching a career season-high with three interceptions, forcing two fumbles, and surpassing his career tackle total with 68.”

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The Steelers rallied around Shazier, their teammate and friend, by wearing special No. 50 gear, special “Shazier” cleats; fans created the “Shalieve” movement out of respect and hope for the young linebacker.

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The game

For the first time since 2009, the game started outside of primetime hours, around 3:00 p.m. (ET) and was the second year the Pro Bowl was in Orlando. The AFC team won the game 24–23, the second straight year the Pro Bowl was won by the American Football Conference.

Mike Tomlin was the head coach of the AFC team.

The first score for the AFC was a 41-yard field goal by Boswell that capped a 12-play, 52-yard offensive drive. The AFC did not get back on the scoreboard until after the halftime period.

In the final quarters, Boswell converted two-of-two PATs in the third and one-of-one PAT in the fourth to seal the win.

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