The Steelers have griped about fines and holding calls, but they're likely to find the most egregious decision by the NFL came in the selection of the Pro Bowl yesterday.
The team with the second-best record in the AFC and with the league's best defense placed just three players for the Pro Bowl. Free safety Troy Polamalu and linebacker James Harrison will start, and linebacker James Farrior is a reserve.
If that does not rile up the 11-3 AFC North Division champs, there's more. The New York Jets placed a league-high seven players on the AFC team, the Tennessee Titans have six and the Baltimore Ravens, who lost to the Steelers twice, have five.
The Steelers will gather today after two days off to begin preparations for a game against the Titans at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn.
They have not had fewer players in the Pro Bowl in the past eight years, or since linebacker Jason Gildon was their only representative after the 2000 season. They also had three on the team after the 2003 season. More Steelers could be added as some players decide not to play because of injuries or other reasons.
If it's any consolation to the Steelers, the New York Giants placed just one player on the Pro Bowl roster a year ago and went on to win the Super Bowl.
Among the obvious snubbed from the NFL's top defense were end Aaron Smith, nose tackle Casey Hampton and linebacker LaMarr Woodley. Hampton was second among the fan voting at defensive tackle, of which three were chosen. Hampton, Ben Roethlisberger and Willie Parker missed out after making it a year ago, when six Steelers were selected to the Pro Bowl.
The game will be played Feb. 8 in Honolulu.
The squads were selected by a combined voting of fans, players and coaches. Harrison made it for the second year in a row. Polamalu tied Donnie Shell's high of five Pro Bowls for a Steelers safety. Farrior made it for the second time, his first five years ago.
A handful of former Steelers also made the Pro Bowl, including safety Chris Hope, who will play against them Sunday in Tennessee. Other former Steelers are Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter, Jets guard Alan Faneca (his eighth) and Cardinals special teamer Sean Morey.Inside
Peyton and Eli Manning become the firstbrothers to play QB in the same Pro Bowl.
Ed Bouchette can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .