Sure, when NFL players and fans think of the 2012 Buffalo Bills, they think of a lousy team who mightily underperformed. Thoughts of a miserable defense led by a $100 million man in Mario Williams is an accurate connotation of these Bills.
However, the 2-13 Kansas City Chiefs were able to send five members to the 2013 Pro Bowl, and the Bills couldn't send one. This doesn't make much sense, especially when the Bills had a few bright spots this year.
C.J. Spiller was nothing short of phenomenal and only struggled to produce when Chan Gailey kept him on the sideline.
Andy Levitre had a great year but was unfairly bypassed due to Buffalo's sub-par record.
Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus also had decent Pro Bowl cases, but were a no-go.
But one snub stands above the rest; the vacancy of Jairus Byrd from the AFC Pro Bowl roster was an absolute crime.
Of the three AFC safeties, there was one free safety and two strong safeties. Ed Reed was the free safety and Eric Berry and LaRon Landry were the strong safeties.
Reed most likely made the Pro Bowl because he is Ed Reed, a possible Hall of Famer and one of the most elite pass defenders to ever touch an NFL field. Not to say that he wasn't deserving, but Reed has had better seasons on better Baltimore defenses.
Other than Reed's selection, the other two are almost baffling. Berry is on the 2-13 Chiefs, a defense that has been torched a number of times this season. Landry is fast and jacked and makes highlight reel hits, but isn't as complete of a player as Byrd, who wasn't voted onto the team.
Was Byrd worthy of a Pro Bowl spot?
Since numbers and stats tend to be the key points to NFL awards and honors, let's briefly look at the four safeties stats.
|Player||Team||Tackles||Sacks||Interceptions||Interception Yards||Forced Fumbles|
Numbers don't lie, and NFL fans and players just love the numbers. Looking at those stats, it's surprising that Reed and Berry will be the starting safeties in the Pro Bowl. Byrd is simply well rounded and deserves to be included over Berry and yes, even Reed.
He is a pure ball-hawking defensive back. His late fourth quarter interception against the Miami Dolphins on national television should have showcased his ability to a national audience. He can also look like Spiller when the ball is in his hands on defense after a turnover.
Berry's stats are mediocre and he has one forced turnover compared to the nine Byrd has forced. Add in the fact that Berry plays on the worst team in football and his selection is nothing short of confusing. The fact that he is starting should be a mystery.
Landry's selection isn't as crazy as some people are making it, but Byrd is a more well-rounded player. Compared to the three safeties, Byrd has created the most turnovers and has the most interception return yardage. He is also a solid tackler and has saved a number of big plays from breaking to the end zone.
The Bills had a few bright spots who were worthy of Pro Bowl selections, but none more so than Byrd. Add in some weaker players sneaking onto the roster before Byrd and it's an absolute shame.
Byrd has had a fantastic season and the fact that he plays on a under-performing team should not hinder his value. He has flown under the radar and was absolutely robbed of a Pro Bowl spot and robbed of the accolades he deserves based on his production.