By Chris Lehman
After the millions of votes were totaled, we now have the winners who will take the field in Hawaii. While some of the players were obvious selections, there were several others who had great years but were left off the rosters. Those spots were filled by big name players who didn’t necessarily have the best year. This happens every year. Fans vote for their favorite player as opposed to who actually played well that year. Similar to when Yao Ming was voted to start in the all-star game after not playing a game all year due to a career ending foot injury. Here’s what went wrong:
(All stats are as prior to week 17)
First things first…where is Victor Cruz? Before this year, no one knew who he was other than the New York Giants and the New York Jets. The Jets knew because he torched them for three touchdowns in his rookie season preseason debut. Now, he’s known as the salsa-dancing deep threat and Eli Manning’s favorite receiver. Cruz was third in the league in receiving yards with 1,358 and snagged eight touchdowns to go along with that. But yet, Greg Jennings who hasn’t reached 1,000 yards got the last spot at receiver. Jordy Nelson should have brought his 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns to Hawaii before Jennings.
Eli Manning. I get that he had a good year, probably the best year he’s ever had. It’s hard for NFC quarterbacks to make the pro bowl considering every year they have to deal with Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees; very similar to a point guard trying to make the the all-star team in the western conference when they had to deal with Chris Paul and Deron Williams. While I’m not tryin to take anything away from Manning, I can’t help but feel that Matthew Stafford should have gotten that spot. He threw for ten more touchdowns (36) which put him fourth, only behind the two aforementioned and Tom Brady. What he was able to do for the Lions and the city of Detroit was something special, and he deserves to be rewarded.
Adrian Wilson holds the record for sacks in a season by a defensive back with 8. This year he has as many sacks as Greg Oden will have starts (for you basketball watchers). In other words, he has zero. This is a prime example of a player making it because of his name. Roman Harper is much less known, but what is known about him is that he loves getting after the quarterback seeing as he has 7.5 sacks this year and has a chance to break that record against the Panthers. Harper deserved that spot, hands down.
Champ Bailey – I have mad respect for Champ. He’s easily one of the best cornerbacks to ever play. This year, however, Brandon Flowers was one of the most impressive corners. He didn’t get ANY publicity playing for Chiefs, but week after week, he shut down receivers. Kyle Arrington’s 7 interceptions are impressive, but the fact that he’s a cornerback on the league’s worst pass defense kind of kills his chances.
Clay Matthews did not deserve it this year. Last year, he was unstoppable and became the most feared player in the league for opposing quarterbacks. But this year, the man who could be a descendant of Hercules, didn’t live up to his hype as he only brought down a quarterback six times. Then we have a guy like rookie, Aldon Smith. Any time a rookie gets double digit sacks it’s a big deal. Smith had fourteen! Some would suggest that Matthews’ presence on the field alone makes him worthy and his stats don’t show what he does for his team. This is a poor argument because while Reggie Bush was in New Orleans, he rarely put up big numbers but he always made the defense gameplan and adjust for where he was, and obviously he never made a pro bowl.
Somehow, the voting system needs to be changed so that we don’t just see the same people in the pro bowl every year. It eliminates chances for rookies and breakout players to make a name for themselves on the biggest stage.