No matter the format, there always seems to be players left off the Pro Bowl roster or snubbed. Unfortunately, Kiko Alonso has fallen into this category after an impressive rookie season for the Buffalo Bills.
This year the NFL is taking a new approach to the Pro Bowl by disregarding conferences in hopes to get the best players and avoid these snubs. These players, who can be found here, then will be drafted to one of two teams led by Jerry Rice or Deion Sanders.
The players were selected to the Pro Bowl by a combination vote of players, coaches and fans. Each group accounted for one third of the total vote.
For the most part, the rosters seem well done and the players who were deserving of the recognition were named to the Pro Bowl. The issue here is at inside linebacker where Luke Kuechly (CAR), Vontaze Burfict (CIN), NaVorro Bowman (SF) and Patrick Willis (SF) were the four selections at the position.
This chart breaks down how Kiko Alonso's season compares to the four players picked at inside linebacker this year.
|Vontaze Burfict (CIN)||157||105||52||3||1||1|
|Luke Kuechly (CAR)||146||88||58||2||4||0|
|NaVorro Bowman (SF)||135||111||24||4||3||1|
|Patrick Willis (SF)||98||78||20||3||0||2|
|Kiko Alonso (BUF)||145||81||64||2||4||1|
Stats Courtesy of ESPN.com
Based purely on statistics, Alonso has numbers very similar to Kuechly and Bowman and is clearly way ahead of Patrick Willis. He has 47 more tackles and four more interceptions than the 49ers linebacker and should have made the Pro Bowl over him.
Looking at fan voting there is an even bigger discrepancy as Kiko Alonso was the leading vote-getter with 381,299. He finished ahead of Luke Kuechly (249,505), NaVorro Bowman (235,392), and more than doubled Patrick Willis' total (183,975). Vontaze Burfict didn't even finish in the Top 5 among fan voting with Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee (236,245) rounding out the Top 5 of fan voting.
Should Kiko Alonso Have Been Selected to the Pro Bowl over Patrick Willis?
There is still a chance that Kiko Alonso could make the Pro Bowl as an alternate with all four players selected being playoff bound. With the Pro Bowl now being played ahead of the Super Bowl, if a player's team makes it to the Super Bowl they are not eligible to play in the Pro Bowl. It would be surprising if Alonso was not first in line as a replacement.
Even if he does get to play in the game, Kiko Alonso's season warranted being selected to the Pro Bowl on the first ballot. Statistically, he has been one of the best inside linebackers this year and won the fan voting by over 130,000 votes. It is a shame he didn't make the Pro Bowl, but it did not diminish his rookie season in Buffalo. He looks to have a career full of Pro Bowl selections in the future.