PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – I don’t care about the Pro Bowl.
But if you are going to have it, have the best guys in it. Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward is one of the best guys. He isn’t in it.
What a crock.
What a sham.
The Steelers had eight guys selected for the Pro Bowl, but perhaps the biggest story was Heyward, a man who was not. This is despite having 41 tackles, 10 sacks, 7 tackles for a loss, 3 deflections, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He is as wonderful of a disruptor as there is in the game, forcing running lanes to change and quarterbacks to scurry around. Yet, because there isn’t enough that Heyward does that is quantified by hard numbers, he gets screwed in the process. All this, and he also plays on a very good football team.
Guy got screwed. Plain and simple.
If you watched the NFL this season and you don’t think Cam Heyward — from that 3-4 defensive end position — is one of the top ends in the AFC, you simply don’t know much about football.
It’s disheartening and off-putting because it undermines accomplishment.
Heyward’s snub isn’t about the fans, either. No, it isn’t about the 71 people worldwide who actually take the time to watch the Pro Bowl.
Heyward’s snub is about him. The travesty is indigenous to him and, really, that is all.
I mean, it speaks to the flaws in the process, but it is about Heyward.
Here’s why: Many players have Pro Bowl bonuses tied into their contracts. That is to say, a stipulation wherein they make a certain sum from their club for being selected. This is a bonus that Heyward should be realizing, but won’t. On top of that — much like playing in the Super Bowl — the participants in the Pro Bowl get a game share. Last season, players on the winning team of the Pro Bowl received $61,000 each while players on the losing team got $30,000 apiece. You might say that is a bunch of peanuts to a millionaire, but I challenge you to find anyone on this Earth who doesn’t want that much extra coin in their pocket for playing a low-risk game. Money is money, even if you are rich — and Cam Heyward is getting screwed out of money.
There are also the historical connotations and implications to all of this; the resume-building stuff. Is it a long-shot that Cam Heyward will be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame at some point? Probably.
But with a player like him, it isn’t totally out of the realm of possibility. That said, when putting together his resume and discussing his body of work, even one more appearance in the Pro Bowl is something that could add a boost.
To me, this is all akin to the fabulous career Aaron Smith had for the Steelers — a guy who made Sports Illustrated All-Decade Team for the 2000s, while appearing in just the Pro Bowl once, in 2004. It didn’t add up for Smith, just as it doesn’t add up for Heyward and I think much of the reason is because neither are enormous self-promoters or flashy personalities. Both Smith and Heyward play workingman football where they quietly go about their business, make plays and jog back to the huddle.
Again, I’m not real into the Pro Bowl. Heck, I probably won’t watch one play. But if you are going to have it, have the best guys. Cam Heyward is one of the best guys and he’s getting cheated by not being selected.