Pittsburgh Steelers All-Decade Team: Offense
The end of a decade is always a time for reflection.
It's a time to look back at the best and the worst of the past ten years, in your life and the world as well.
For the Pittsburgh Steelers, the decade has been a very good one.
Two Super Bowl titles and six division titles gave the Black and Gold their best decade since the team of the seventies ruled the NFL.
As the club prepares for the next decade, it's time to look back on the last 10 seasons. Here is the unofficial Steelers' All-Decade Team, starting today with the offense.
One note to bring to your attention is at fullback. Since the position has slowly been phased out of the modern day offense, I decided to choose two running backs instead. Sorry Dan Kreider.
For your enjoyment and discussion, my version of the Steelers' All-Decade team: offense.
Center: Jeff Hartings
Jeff Hartings was a two-time Pro Bowl selection and First-Team All-Pro pick in 2004.
The former Penn State standout was the anchor of the offensive line from 2001-2006, starting in 89 games.
Justin Hartwig has done a decent job, but Hartings was a stud.
Left Guard: Alan Faneca
A nine-time Pro Bowl selection and a six-time First Team All-Pro pick, Faneca is arguably the best guard of this decade.
Faneca started in 153 games for the Steelers and is still, at the age of 33, one of the best in the business.
One the Steelers shouldn't have let get away.
Right Guard: Kendall Simmons
Kendall Simmons was a first-round pick in 2002 and started 76 of possible 80 games between 2002-2007.
Injuries derailed his career, but when healthy, Simmons was a solid performer for the black and gold.
Left Tackle: Marvel Smith
Marvel Smith was a second-round draft choice in 2000 and immediately became a starter.
His best season was in 2004 when he earned his first and only trip to the Pro Bowl. Like Kendall Simmons, injuries cut short his career. A solid player nonetheless.
Right Tackle: Willie Colon
Willie Colon makes the all-decade team simply because right tackle has been such a weak position for Pittsburgh through the decade.
Marvel Smith started his career on the right, but moved quickly over to the left side, leaving Oliver Ross and for a time, Max Starks on the right.
Colon, a fourth-round pick in 2006, is the best of the bunch.
Tight End: Heath Miller
The most productive TE in Steelers history.
Heath Miller keeps rewriting the franchise record book for receptions, yards and TDs by a tight end.
Drafted in the first round in 2005, Miller has started since he arrived in Pittsburgh. His 71 catches this season are the most by a Steelers TE for a single season.
How he hasn't made a Pro Bowl yet, I'll never know.
Wide Receiver: Hines Ward
An easy choice here.
Hines Ward owns every major receiving record in franchise history and is the heart and soul of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The four-time Pro Bowler and 2005 Super Bowl MVP shows no signs of slowing down at 33. He's having one of the best seasons of his career with 87 catches for 1,106 yards and six touchdowns.
To top it of, Ward is the toughest and arguably the best blocking wideout in NFL history. The ultimate worker and team player.
Wide Receiver: Plaxico Burress
Santonio Holmes might have a better career, but Plaxico Burress grabs the other receiver slot opposite Hines Ward.
Burress was a first-round pick in 2000 and quickly became a starter. Despite five tumultuous years, he was a productive receiver.
Plax finished his Steeler career with 261 catches for 4,164 yards and 22 TDs. Not bad for a No. 2 receiver.
Running Back: Jerome Bettis
Without a doubt the best trade in Pittsburgh Steelers history was getting Jerome Bettis from the Rams for a third-round draft pick. It ended up being a bigger steal than what the Indians gave up Manhattan for.
"The Bus" thrived in the Steel City, going to four Pro Bowls (he went to two for the Rams) and rushing for 10,571 yards with 78 touchdowns.
He capped his stellar career with a Super Bowl ring during the 2005 season.
Running Back: Willie Parker
An undrafted free agent in 2004, "Fast Willie" will go down as one of the biggest finds in NFL history.
Parker has rushed for over 5,000 yards with 24 touchdowns in his six-year Steelers career.
And while this might be his last year in Pittsburgh, the two-time Pro Bowler has left his mark in Steelers history.
Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger
Who did you expect? Kordell Stewart?
This is a no-brainer. By the time Big Ben is done, he'll own every passing record in franchise history.
The 2004 Rookie of the Year has passed for over 19,000 yards and 124 TDs. Even more important, Roethlisberger has guided the Steelers to two Super Bowl titles, four division crowns, and a 67-29 record with Ben at the helm.
This season, Roethlisberger became the first Pittsburgh QB to throw for 4,000 yards. Amazingly, he has been to only one Pro Bowl (2007).