The Steelers have a long tradition of having the players vote on potential team captains. When Mike Tomlin was hired as head coach, one of the first things I wondered was whether he would continue this tradition, or rather pick the captains himself. For awhile, I thought he was going to do the latter, but I was wrong.
The players voted for captains, and their choices were announced after Monday's practice (as a bonus, read Allen Rossum's thoughts about coming to play in Pittsburgh at the bottom of the article. Badass).
Offense - Hines Ward.
Really, there should be no other offensive captain. Roethlisberger had a legitimate chance, but Ward has shown he can lead by example though his fearless blocking, committed receiving and "do-anything-for-the-team" attitude. I'm glad the players recognized Ward for what he brings to the team each and every week. He would be a leader with or without the title of captain, but the recognition of his peers just adds to his repertoire. This is the third straight honor for Hines.
Defense - James Farrior.
Again...Best. Selection. Possible. James is always around the ball, and can be counted on for 100+ tackles a year. In his time in Pittsburgh, no other player say that they've made as many tackles as Farrior. With the release of Joey Porter's mouth, the team showed the fans that they would be going in a quieter, "lead by example" direction. There are other guys, Polamalu, Foote, who would also be decent picks, but Farrior gives everything on every down. He's consistently been one of my favorite players, simply because he plays the game how its supposed to be played. Its fun to listen to the trash-talkers and to watch the showboaters, but every now and then, its better to watch the football players. James Farrior is a football player. He is also a defensive captain. For the fourth straight year. I applaud the team for their selection.
Special Teams - Clint Kriewaldt and James Harrison.
This is Kriewaldt's second straight year as special teams captain. Its the first honor for Harrison. I would like to see the name Iwuoma on this list, but that's another story. Aside from Chidi, James and Clint are the baddest guys on special teams. Yes, they can both play typical defense, as evident in Kriewaldt's interception in the Carolina game and the fact that Harrison will be stepping in as outside linebacker. However, on special teams, you can practically tally Harrison or Kriewaldt for the tackle on each and every kick. Us normal people wonder how guys can always be around the ball. Its nearly impossible to understand. Kriewaldt and Harrison are those guys...always in on the tackle. Its no coincidence that the other guys on the team picked Kriewaldt and Harrison to represent for the special teams. They are the best possible choices, and will hopefully be the reason that the Steelers' special teams rebounds after a less-than-stellar '06.