Since we are getting closer to the 2009 NFL Pro Bowl, something occurred to me. In the endless debate of Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady, I wondered why Peyton goes to the Pro Bowl more often than Brady when so many people seem to believe that Brady is better.
I know that many people will complain about how the Pro Bowl system is flawed, but I want everyone to think about this for a moment.
Players are named to the Pro Bowl based on three criteria. The coaches' votes count for one-third, the players' votes count for one-third, and the fans' online voting counts for one-third.
Now, I agree that enabling the fans to have 33.3 percent of the voting power is ridiculous, but does that really favor Manning anyway?
Think about it, Brady is just as popular as Manning. Manning appears in more commercials, but that does not make him any more popular, that simply makes him more marketable.
Even here on Bleacher Report, there are 719 Patriots fans to only 305 Colts fans.
So wouldn't that be an advantage for Tom Brady in terms of Pro Bowl selections since one-third of the vote is in the power of the fans, more of whom are likely to be fans of Brady then Manning?
Many would argue that since Brady has played with less quality receiving talent that he has not had the opportunity to put up numbers like Manning has. Now, I personally believe much of that fault resides with Brady's inability to improve the performance of his teammates, but that is a subject for another debate.
There certainly is some truth regarding the fact that there are various causes for Brady having less impressive numbers (weather, location, talent, etc.).
Even so, does that really have an impact on his likelihood to be voted to the Pro Bowl?
Look at this year for instance. Brett Favre got voted in on name recognition and did not have flashy numbers at all. I'd certainly be inclined to think that Brady is just as much if not more popular then Favre.
Kerry Collins will be playing as a reserve due to Favre and Philip Rivers' injuries or inability to play. Collins certainly did not have flashy numbers at all. There were quite a few more productive quarterbacks in the AFC this season, but Collins will be playing in Hawaii due to the fact that he played on a winning team.
Brady is perhaps the most famous of this generation's winning quarterbacks.
My point here is that when it comes to the quarterback position, less productive quarterbacks are not held back due to that fact. If anything, the Pro Bowl allows every opportunity for winning quarterbacks to have a solid chance of making the roster.
So if the fan participation does not favor Manning and the lack of superior statistical production does not harm Brady's chances, what else is there?
The players also get one-third of the voting ability. They are not allowed to vote for any players on their own team to remove bias, but beyond that they have the freedom to vote for whoever they like.
Now I do realize that there are some stupid players who have no idea who to vote for, but is that something that would favor Peyton anyway?
The players know that Brady is a winner and since that is something that most players value anyway, wouldn't that favor Brady even when it comes to the less intelligent players who vote?
The players know who is more difficult to play against and I believe they vote accordingly.
Then we have the coaches who also possess one-third of the vote. I'd imagine that the coaches are more qualified to vote then anyone.
Even so, year after year Manning managed to gather more votes than Brady.
Which brings me back to my original question: If Tom Brady is better than Peyton Manning, then why does he appear in Hawaii less often?
In Brady's seven active years, he's been voted to the Pro Bowl four times, that's about 57 percent of the time. A high percentage, no question about it.
In Manning's 11 active years, he's been voted to the Pro Bowl nine times, that's about 81 percent of the time.
There is certainly a large differential between the two.
I'm not saying that the Pro Bowl is the No. 1 criteria for evaluating a quarterback's greatness, but I do believe that it is something which should be considered.
When thinking of all the criteria, doesn't it make Brady fans wonder why he's been voted to the Pro Bowl less often than Manning?
Most Patriots fans probably don't care and they'd say something to the effect of "Super Bowl rings are all that matter."
That might be the goal of an entire team all year long and the Patriots have had major success in doing so.
But if you take a look at the individual talent, it comes as no surprise that Manning is recognized more for his individual contributions.