Outside linebacker James Harrison, the replacement for the departed Joey Porter, also was a first-time pick, and the former nondrafted free agent had the joyous look of a kid opening a Christmas present when he learned the news.
Harrison and Faneca were chosen as AFC starters; Roethlisberger was thrilled enough merely to be picked.
A year ago, Roethlisberger's career, and life, were badly disrupted by a serious motorcycle accident, an appendectomy and multiple concussions. Teammates and former coach Bill Cowher were unhappy that a player so valuable carelessly put himself in a position to be badly hurt by not wearing a helmet in his June 2006 crash.
The 25-year-old Roethlisberger has rebounded in a big way this season, throwing a team-record 29 touchdown passes and trimming his interceptions to 11. His 100.5 passer rating is the league's fourth-best.
Roethlisberger put together the comeback year despite uneven protection -- his 43 sacks are second-most in the league -- and multiple-game injuries to wide receivers Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward.
"It's an honor to be able to be in the same sentence, same breath, same team with those guys," he said. "It's an honor. It's an all-star game. You can say, 'He's an all-star,' I guess."
Like Parker, he wasn't drafted out of college, and he was cut multiple times before finally winning a job with Pittsburgh in 2004. He didn't become a starter until Porter, long the most familiar face on the Steelers' defense, was released in March.
Harrison has a team-high 8.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception, yet still plays on special teams. He will start at outside linebacker along with New England's Mike Vrabel, who played for Pittsburgh from 1997-2000.
Probably the most surprising Steelers pick was Polamalu, who missed four games with injuries and has had a down year statistically.
"Quite honestly, I wasn't thinking too much about it (the Pro Bowl)," Polamalu said. "Maybe because I didn't think I had a chance."
"It would mean a lot to me. I'm not going to lie and say it doesn't," Parker said.
The 31-year-old Faneca, a five-time All-Pro guard, is in the final season of his contract and is expected to play elsewhere next season.
"People ask if it gets old," Faneca said. "It's a huge honor."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press