I Remember the Days when the Pro Bowl Used to Mean Something…

I can remember back as a kid, trying to rationalize with my parents why I didn’t want to go see a movie with them that night because the Pro Bowl was on television.  I was enamored with all of my favorite players, playing my favorite sport, all on the same field.  With guys like Ray Lewis, Simeon Rice, and Warren Sapp roaming on defense, how could you go wrong?  In recent years, the Pro Bowl television ratings have decreased, so the NFL has been trying different ploys to increase viewership.  They are adding skill competitions, moving the date, even this season putting the Pro Bowl in between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl.  The rationalization behind all of these different ideas was the people weren’t watching the Pro Bowl because it occurred after the Super Bowl, and fans had already reached their “yearly quota” of football.  Maybe the NFL should consider that no one is watching the Pro Bowl because it doesn’t mean anything anymore, the best players aren’t even on the team.

The true beauty of the Pro Bowl should be awarding players for having great seasons.  Players shouldn’t receive free trips to Hawaii because they have had a great career, they are the star of a great reality TV show, or because they have sick flow (although Clay Matthews’ should get votes for just that reason).  Players should be voted to the Pro Bowl because they were the single best player at their position for that season.  By now you must be anticipating me calling out a few players.  If so, you were absolutely right.

Logan Mankins, NO

Brandon Meriweather, NO

Eric Berry, YES

Andre Johnson, NO

DeSean Jackson, NO

Mike Wallace, YES

Larry Fitzgerald, YES

Santana Moss, YES

Dwight Freeney, NO

Tamba Hali, YES

Darrelle Revis, NO

Nhamdi Asomugha, NO

Joe Haden, YES

Antoine Cason, YES

Julius Peppers, NO

Jay Ratliff, NO

BJ Raji, YES

Jason Peters, NO

Tony Gonzalez, NO

Vernon Davis, YES

Chris Cooley, YES

You may be thinking, “Mattyoshow, you’re losing it dude!  Andre Johnson not in the Pro Bowl?  Dwight Freeney and Julius Peppers out, but Tamba Hali in?  Darrelle Revis and Nhamdi swapped for Hadan and Cason?  Are you nuts?”  Well, call me old-school, but I like to back up my wild propositions with stats, because let’s face it, aside from SportsCenter highlights we know very little of how each one of these players actually performs on a week to week basis.

-Mike Wallace gained more yards and had more touchdowns this season than Andre Johnson, so he gets the vote.

-Both Larry Fitzgerald and Santana Moss had more catches and yards, while having the same number of touchdown catches that DeSean Jackson, so either one or both get my vote.  Fitzgerald ahead of Moss because of Arizona’s quarterback situation.

-Darrelle Revis and Nhamdi Asomugha combined to have 51 tackles and no interceptions this year.  I’m sorry, but even if your name is Deion Sanders, those are not Pro Bowl numbers.  Joe Haden finished the season with 6 interceptions and 24 passes defended, while Antoine Cason had 4 interceptions and 21 passes defended for the league’s best secondary in San Diego.  McCourty obviously gets the start, but Haden and Cason also get my vote.

-Brandon Meriweather wrapped up the season with 68 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 6 passes defended.  Eric Berry amassed 92 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 13 passes defended on one of the league’s most improved defenses.  The numbers speak for themselves, Berry gets my vote.

-Logan Mankins has played in only 9 games for the Patriots this year after holding out for the first part of the season.  Without playing in at least 12 games you don’t get my vote.  Off my team, Mankins!

-Dwight Freeney grabbed 10 sacks this season, but had only 25 tackles.  Julius Peppers got paid over $2 million per sack this season (8 total), had 54 tackles, and knocked down 11 passes.  Jason Babin is on the AFC squad as a backup, but with 58 tackles and 12.5 sacks, he gets my vote over Freeney.  It has been said that Jared Allen had a down year, but with 60 tackles, 11 sacks, and 8 passes deflected, he’s on my squad over Peppers.

-Jay Ratliff had one of the worst seasons of his career, and yet he’s starting for the NFC squad after racking up 31 tackles and 3.5 sacks as Dallas’ nose tackle.  BJ Raji anchored the league’s best scoring defense with 39 tackles and 6 sacks as Green Bay’s nose tackle.  Come on Raji, you’re with me.

-Terrell Suggs is a reserve for the AFC side, and with 68 tackles, 11 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles, he is deserving.  Except, my man Tamba Hali racked up 52 tackles, 14.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles for the Chiefs.  Hali is in as my backup.

Fans have the power to vote players into the Pro Bowl, actually 1/3 of the power (the coaches have another 1/3, and the players the final 1/3), and I’m in full support of that.  This allows fans to rally around a “hometown” guy, so even a team like Detroit or Arizona may get a player into the Pro Bowl.  But, if fans are afforded the opportunity to vote, then that opportunity needs to be taken seriously.  Fans need to respect the responsibility that they have, really take a hard look at these players, and reward those that had the best seasons.  I won’t be watching this years Pro Bowl because the best players aren’t on the field, and until that changes, I’m not tuning in.


2 Responses

  1. Desean Jackson should make it just for his all around play. He is one of the best at what he does.

  2. People don’t get into the pr bowl because no matter what the league tries the players don’t give there all in a game that is basically just a glorified scrimmage and it shows on the field. And why should they risk injury for something so unimportant? Robert Edwards ring a bell?

    I actually think the skill competitions are a pretty good idea, personally i prefer watching the home run derby and the dunk contest/3 pt. contest in the MLB and NBA more than each of their all star games. Its because it gives fans a chance to see their favorite players have a blast doing what they love alongside players they are normally at war with, which shows and is much funner to watch.

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