In what was originally thought as somewhat of a snub, Giants wide receiver Steve Smith will now join fellow Giant Shaun O'Hara at the Miami Pro Bowl this year. Smith replaces Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald who pulled out due to injury.
Many people thought Smith was more deserving of the honor over DeSean Jackson, who had less yards and catches than Smith. What helps Jackson is that he had 13 total touchdowns, including three returns and one rushing TD.
It also probably helps that Jackson set the NFL record for average yards per touchdown with at least 10 touchdowns, as well as tied the NFL record with eight touchdowns of over 50 yards.
His mark was an incredible 52.8 yards per score. People tend to respond to big plays, not to mention ESPN uses them to boost the SportsCenter ratings.
Smith was the NFC's catch leader (No. 2 in the NFL), and was first in yards for much of the year until teams began keying in on him. His 107 catches were 25 (!) better then the team record set by Amani Toomer in 2002.
In all honesty, it is hard for me to truly say Smith deserved it more than Rice, Fitzgerald, Austin, or Jackson, but I rarely remember a guy getting 100 catches and not making the Pro Bowl.
That speaks to the NFL's evolution into a passing league, where getting 1000 yards receiving is not a big deal anymore. It's nice, but it is basically expected out of your No. 1 guy now.
Here are the stats for all the players:
Steve Smith: 107 receptions, 1220 yards, 7 touchdowns.
Larry Fitzgerald: 97 receptions, 1092 yards, 13 touchdowns.
Miles Austin: 81 receptions, 1320 yards, 11 touchdowns.
DeSean Jackson: 62 receptions, 1167 yards, 9 touchdowns (13 total).
Sidney Rice: 83 receptions, 1312 yards, 8 touchdowns
I hope Smith enjoys his time in Miami and I will be looking forward to watching him. It is nice to see a skill position player make it from a passing offense that was pretty potent, regardless of how he got there.