Only a Single Steelers Star Honored in 1st Release of Pro Bowl Voting Results

T.J. Watt

Getty T.J. Watt celebrates after a sack against the Cincinnati Bengals

Though T.J. Watt may be having trouble getting referees to throw flags when he draws holds, he’s certainly not having difficulty racking up Pro Bowl votes from Pittsburgh Steelers fans.

Whether they vote on social media, through the official Pro Bowl voting website or on team-specific sites, fans can cast their ballots and do their part to send their favorite players to Orlando for the exhibition experience until balloting ends on December 25.

Steelers fans displeased with the early returns might want to start getting more active, because Watt was the only player to show up at the top of a positional leaderboard in the first release of the voting results, per

T.J. Watt Headlines Steelers’ Pro Bowl Voting Results

With 47 tackles (13 for loss), 27 quarterback hits, 14.0 sacks (No. 2 in the NFL, behind only Khalil Mack), three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, an interception and a defensive score, T.J. Watt has been a veritable one-man wrecking crew for the Steelers during the 2023 campaign.

It stands to reason that he’d be the player getting the most love in Pro Bowl voting. And he has.

Outpacing Micah Parsons of the Dallas Cowboys, Josh Allen of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Danielle Hunter of the Minnesota Vikings, per the official voting returns (h/t Matt Schneidman), Watt led all outside linebackers in both the AFC and the NFL as a whole.

But that’s where the good news ends for Pittsburgh.

Miles Killebrew, Christian Kuntz and Chris Boswell are earning a bit of love for their excellent work in specialty roles, but Minkah Fitzpatrick is the only other player operating in one of the two most popular phases of the game to surface in the top 10.

Elsewhere in the AFC North, Myles Garrett and Dustin Hopkins both paced their positions for the Cleveland Browns, the Cincinnati Bengals had no representatives, and the Baltimore Ravens drew the fourth-most votes as a team, highlighted by Kevin Zeitler, Roquan Smith, Kyle Hamilton and Geno Stone.

Were the Steelers Underrepresented in the Voting?

No one should argue that Kenny Pickett, Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson or many of the other big-name Steelers actually belong on the shortlist of players to represent the AFC. But that doesn’t mean Watt should be the only Pittsburgh player in the conversation.

Fitzpatrick, who earned his third career Pro Bowl berth last year, probably isn’t the best choice as the second-leading vote-getter on the Steelers roster. He doesn’t have the interception tally he posted last year, failing to secure even one after leading the league with six, and his tackling and coverage have both declined as his Pro Football Focus grade has fallen from 82.4 to 65.7.

Boswell, however, does have a legitimate case. The 32-year-old kicker has drilled 22 of his 24 field-goal attempts, including four from 50-plus yards and seven from 40-49 yards, and made all 16 of his extra points. He’s also generated touchbacks on a career-best 67.3% of his kickoffs, per Pro Football Reference.

The same is true of Alex Highsmith, who has supplemented Watt’s pass-rushing excellence with plenty of his own quarterback pressures.

He might not have the glamorous statistics (6.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and a pick), but his biggest plays have come at timely moments. And in addition to his pick-six against the Browns and his fourth-quarter strip-sack against the Ravens, he’s generated enough consistent pressure to assert himself as more of a co-star than a supporting piece.

Cameron Heyward joined Watt and Fitzpatrick on the Pro Bowl roster last year, so he deserves a cursory mention here. But with only six games and a single sack under his belt, he doesn’t have the résumé necessary to earn a seventh appearance.

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