The Steelers will be well-represented in the Pro Bowl on Sunday, with the team’s coaching staff coaching the AFC squad, and nine players participating in the game.
The team is also represented in the NFL Flag Championships that are a part of Pro Bowl week, with Pittsburgh Flag Football League (PFFL) Steel, a team of 13 and 14-year old boys, participating.
“It’s extremely special,” said PFFL Founder and Commissioner Chris Curd. “It’s one of the things that we tell the boys, and the parents, that if it’s only about football we are wasting everyone’s time. It has to be about something more. Everything we drive home to them has been about accountability, effort, and overall respect. If you can do those things in football and on the field, you can take those things back to the classroom, neighborhood and athletic team, and you can become a leader over time. That is what we are training these kids to be. We have a fun time playing flag football, but it’s more than that.”
A total of 66 youth flag football teams will compete in the championships, powered by USA Football, at ESPN Wide World of Sports on Friday and Saturday, in different age groups and categories. The team from Pittsburgh will compete within a group that includes 36 teams.
The players on the Pittsburgh team are comprised of 10 players from eight different area schools, who have competed within the PFFL against teams comprised of adults this past year. The Steelers selected them to represent Pittsburgh at the championship, and had them at the team’s UPMC Rooney Sports Complex a few weeks ago where they held a practice and met players.
“None of this would be possible without the relationship we have with the Steelers organization,” said Curd. “They have been a great deal of help and assistance in making it happen for us last year, and again this year. It’s allowed our program to be on a platform and stage we would never be on.
“When we came to the facility, they said we might have a chance to see some of the players. We walked in and the first two minutes they were greeted by Antonio Brown. It was like the Red Sea was parted. They were so excited. Then Arthur Moats came out and said a few words to them. The thing that was cool is the Steelers players spent a few minutes with them. It was like they saw themselves in these kids. For them to spend time with the kids, it was amazing.”