Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, center Maurkice Pouncey, wide receiver Mike Wallace, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and kick returner Antonio Brown have been selected to the 2012 AFC Pro Bowl team announced today by the NFL. Polamalu, Pouncey and Wallace were named starters in the NFL’s annual all-star game.
The Pro Bowl will be played Sunday, January 29, 2012, at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii and televised by NBC at 7 p.m. Eastern. The Pro Bowl squads were selected by a combined voting of fans, players and coaches.
The Steelers are sending multiple players to the Pro Bowl for the 11th straight season and the 20th time in the last 23 seasons. At least three Steelers have made the Pro Bowl every season dating back to 2001.
Polamalu will make his seventh Pro Bowl appearance and his sixth as a starter. This season, Polamalu ranks second on the team in tackles (88) on the NFL’s top-ranked defense in yards per game (273.9 avg.). He returned a fumble 16 yards for a touchdown in Week 3 at Indianapolis and also has one interception and one sack on the year.
Pouncey is making his second consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl, his first as a starter. Pouncey is the anchor of the Steelers offensive line but has missed the last two games with an ankle injury. Last year, he was the first Steelers rookie offensive lineman to make the Pro Bowl since offensive tackle Frank Varrichione in 1956 and the first Steelers rookie since linebacker Kendrell Bell in 2002.
Wallace is making his first trip to the Pro Bowl in just his third season in the NFL. Wallace leads the team with 71 receptions for 1,182 yards (16.6 avg.) with a team-high eight receiving touchdowns. He hauled in a 95-yard touchdown reception from Roethlisberger in a Week 7 victory at Arizona, which was the longest pass play in team history. Entering Week 17 this year, he is 18 yards away from becoming the first Steelers’ player since 1960 to record back-to-back seasons with at least 1,200 yards receiving. Wallace is the first Steelers wide receiver to start in the Pro Bowl since 1985 when John Stallworth was named a starter.
Roethlisberger is making his second trip to the Pro Bowl after previously being named to the squad following the 2008 season. His 3,856 yards entering the final week of the season rank second in team history for single-season passing yards and his 301 completions also rank second on the team’s single-season list. Roethlisberger was twice named AFC Offensive Player of the Week in 2011 and broke the team’s all-time record for completions in Week 14 versus Cincinnati.
Brown was selected to his first Pro Bowl as a kick returner after breaking the team’s single-season record for all-purpose yards (2,048). He ranks second in the AFC in kickoff returns (27.7 avg.) and fourth in punt returns (10.8 avg.). In Week 13 versus Cincinnati, Brown returned a punt 60 yards for a touchdown. Since 1941, Brown is one of only three Steelers with at least one punt return and one kick return for a touchdown.
In addition, linebacker James Harrison (1st alternate), safety Ryan Clark (2nd) and linebacker LaMarr Woodley (2nd) were named as alternates to the Pro Bowl.