Every year when the NFL Pro Bowl rolls around (like any All-Star Game) there is are always players that we as fans felt were snubbed from this honor. This year’s Pro Bowl seems to have an unreasonably high number of snubs and so before unrolling my Pro Bowl roster for this year, I will give my 5 biggest cheers (glad they got it right but thought they might not) and while I usually do 5, I will do my 10 biggest jeers (biggest snubs) given how bad the balloting was this year and of course my newest category, I will provide my 5 biggest sneers (players that should not have been named to the Pro Bowl). Tomorrow morning I will roll out my Pro Bowl Roster.
5. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals – A.J. Green has had a phenomenal rookie campaign with over 1000 yards receiving and 7 touchdowns and seemed like a no-brainer for the Pro Bowl but given that that last time a rookie receiver was named to the Pro Bowl was Anquan Boldin in 2003. There is always a logjam at the Wide Receiver position for the Pro Bowl and so I am glad to see Green was able to break through.
4. Richard Seymour, DT, Oakland Raiders – A lot of us made fun of the Oakland Raiders when they traded a 1st round pick to New England for Seymour because many thought Seymour’s career was done and that this was the Raiders being the Raiders. Seymour has enjoyed a resurgence in Oakland and his leadership on the defensive side of the ball is a big part of the reason the Raiders are making a serious playoff push.
3. Tamba Hali, DE, Kansas City Chiefs – I feel like Tamba Hali is an elite defensive end who has been largely ignored by the national media. He is having a monster year with 4 forced fumbles and 12 sacks and looking very much like his KC predecessor Jared Allen.
2. Patrick Peterson, PR/KR, Arizona Cardinals – Similar to A.J. Green I am always happy to see a deserving rookie actually get in. The biggest reason I’m excited about Peterson is he is deserving and has been an absolutely electric returner but I was afraid he would lose out to Devin Hester based on name recognition. Well done Pro-Bowl voters.
1. Derrick Johnson, ILB, Kansas City Chiefs – Derrick Johnson is a name that is barely known outside of Kansas City but he is one of the best linebackers in the game and is having a great year. 126 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 2 interceptions – the stats speak for themselves. I am glad that he got noticed because he is most worthy of this honor.
10. Aaron Hernandez, TE, New England Patriots – Aaron Hernandez has had a monster year for a tight end. The only problem is that his teammate Gronkowski is having the best NFL season that any tight end has ever enjoyed. Furthermore, he had to compete with the established name of Antonio Gates but it’s still unfortunate that he could not make the Pro Bowl.
9. Ryan Clark, FS, Pittsburgh Steelers – I have been very impressed with Ryan Clark this season but it’s very hard for a safety to get noticed when his teammate Troy Polamalu and Baltimore Raven Ed Reed have established themselves as the premier safeties in the League. It is difficult to quantify the way that Clark has played this season but he has been the best defensive player on the Steelers and that makes him deserving of a Pro Bowl nod.
8. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings – Adrian Peterson has established himself as the best running back in the league ever since he burst onto the scene in 2007. In just 12 games played this season he had 970 rushing yards and a league-leading 12 rushing touchdowns. This will be the first season of his career that Peterson does not top the 1000 yard mark and does not make the Pro Bowl but injury is the major culprit here.
7. Chris Long, DE, St. Louis Rams – There has not been a lot to be excited about in St. Louis this year (at least in football) but Chris Long has been one thing for Rams fans to be happy about. This is the season that Long started playing at the elite level that was expected of him all along. He has 13 sacks and 1 forced fumble and is very deserving of a Pro Bowl nod. The incredible years that have been enjoyed by Jared Allen, Jason Babin, and Jason Pierre-Paul made it very difficult for any NFC defensive ends to be recognized.
6. London Fletcher, ILB, Washington Redskins – I am constantly amazed by the high level that Fletcher continues to play at and while I don’t think he’ll get in the Hall of Fame, in my eyes he is a future Hall of Famer. This year he leads the league in tackles with 162 and additionally he has 1.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions. I was shocked he was left off the rosters.
5. Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants – This year little-known wide receiver set a franchise record for receiving yards with 1,358, has 76 receptions, and has 8 touchdowns. Without a doubt, Cruz should be a Pro-Bowler.
4. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks – Many don’t remember this but Marshawn Lynch was taken just 5 picks after Adrian Peterson by the Bills. Lynch has shown flashes of brilliance but this is the year he finally became a top NFL Running Back. His 12 touchdowns are tied with Adrian Peterson for the League lead he has 1,118 rushing yards. He has enjoyed a Pro Bowl season and while he will probably take Forte’s place in the game he should’ve been voted in.
3. Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers – 1,101 receiving yards and 12 receiving touchdowns – since when does that not get you to the Pro-Bowl? He has been the best wide receiver on the NFL’s best receiving corps this season. Talk about a snub…
2. Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals – How impressive has Andy Dalton been this year? His 3,166 yards and 20 touchdown passes have taken one of the league’s worst teams last season to being a wild card team this year. There is no way that Andy Dalton should’ve been snubbed for the likes of Phillip Rivers.
1. Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions – Stafford has 10 more touchdowns and 2 fewer interceptions than Eli Manning and their passing yard totals are almost identical. Another big difference is that Stafford has already wrapped up a playoff bid for his team and he’s accomplished this in the NFC’s toughest division. His exclusion was the biggest shock of the ballots.
5. Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers – Greg Jennings has had a great season but the truth is he wasn’t even the best receiver on his own team this year. I can name at least 5 receivers in the NFC more deserving of a Pro Bowl Bid than Jennings and there may even be a couple more. I did not like the Jennings selection one bit but he got in primarily off name recognition.
4. B.J. Raji, DT, Green Bay Packers – Similar to Jennings, Raji was the beneficiary of name recognition and being a member of the NFL’s best team. Raji has had only 21 tackles and has had 3 sacks. These are just not Pro Bowl numbers and overall, I hated this selection.
3. Dwight Freeney, DE, Indianapolis Colts – Freeney has had an ok year but once again he is another person who got in off their name. 7.5 sacks is pretty good but he has only 18 tackles and his defense is giving up an average of 24 points a game? How is that Pro Bowl worthy?
2. Phillip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers – This selection had me just scratching my head. His 4,300 passing yards have been astounding but his team has taken a step back, he has played several awful games and his 24 TDs to 19 INTs is hardly Pro Bowl worthy. He has the yards but has not been able to win games and has had an unbelievable amount of turnovers. I can name a number of QBs who are more worthy than Rivers.
1. Brian Urlacher, MLB, Chicago Bears – This pick was nothing short of awful. Urlacher got into the Pro Bowl purely off name recognition. Off the top of my head London Fletcher, NaVorro Bowman, Stephen Tulloch, and Chad Greenway were all more deserving than Urlacher. He has accomplished nothing worth noting this season.
Questions? Comments? Snide Remarks? Let me hear ’em!