Three More Eagles Earn Pro Bowl Berths, but Is That Really an Honor?

Lou DiPietroAnalyst IJanuary 25, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 20:  Quintin Mikell #27 of the Philadelphia Eagles pursues against the San Francisco 49ers at Lincoln Financial Field on December 20, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Remember that old tree in the woods conundrum? Well in that vein, there are now three Eagles that are wondering something: If they make the Pro Bowl because no one else cares, does it really matter?

First it was Jon Dorenbos, then Donovan McNabb, and now Quintin Mikell...and as each Eagle is added to the Pro Bowl roster, the meaning of the game sadly becomes more and more of a joke.

The additions of the aforementioned three give the Birds nine Pro Bowlers, which with the withdrawal of Brett Favre ties them with Minnesota for the most players in the game.

Small consolation, because no one cares…possibly not even the players themselves.

Well, most don’t anyway, which is why the AFC is down to its eighth-string quarterback and 25 percent of the game has already changed.

In each case, it goes to show just how bizarre Pro Bowl rules are, especially in an era where the game is played before the Super Bowl and a good 10 percent of the players voted in definitely won’t play.

Dorenbos was added as the 43rd “need” player by NFC Coach Wade Phillips. Of course, the rules say that the need player must be a long snapper—but if that’s a positional requirement, why don’t the players vote on it?

As for McNabb, he knew he was going to the Pro Bowl last week, but his spot as Drew Brees’ replacement wasn’t made official until Monday. He’ll be joined by Dallas’ Tony Romo, who will replace the injured Brett Favre.

That last nugget also means that Aaron Rodgers, the only quarterback of the six who was actually legitimately voted into the game, will start for the NFC.

Mikell’s case is even more convoluted.

Free safety Darren Sharper and strong safety Adrian Wilson were selected to start, with another free safety, Green Bay’s Nick Collins, selected as the backup.

Even though it worked out with the starters, there is a caveat in the Pro Bowl voting. Much like with outfielders in the MLB All-Star Game, the NFL only votes for “safety” in the Pro Bowl, not by specific spot.

Now keep that in mind as it gets weirder.

When Wilson got hurt in Arizona’s game with the Saints, he was replaced by the first alternate, who happened to be a strong safety: New Orleans’ Roman Harper. Likewise, when Harper and Sharper were lost due to the Saints’ Super Bowl berth, they were replaced by the second and third alternates—Arizona free safety Antrel Rolle and Mikell.

Ostensibly, a Cardinal was replaced by a Saint, who was then replaced by another Cardinal.

Yet, even with all the rules and the bizarre circumventions, because Mikell is a strong safety (and, in fact, the only one on the team), he will start there and Rolle will be the backup—despite the fact that Rolle was above Mikell on the alternates list.

Yes folks, the Pro Bowl, where the rules are seemingly made up on the fly and David Garrard is one of the best available players.

And that’s what makes it such a joke.

While yes, Mikell wouldn’t be a Pro Bowler without the “Super Bowl Rule” and McNabb may or may not have been depending on which side of the bed Favre woke up on, is getting there really an accomplishment?

I say not, and the AFC quarterback situation confirms it.

To wit, the original three QBs were Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Philip Rivers.

Brady pulled out due to his rib injury, so Rivers moved up. First alternate Ben Roethlisberger then declined due to injury—which is really more of him “taking it easy” because of a balky shoulder—so Houston’s Matt Schaub stepped up from second alternate to third-teamer.

Then, Rivers pulled out reportedly because of the impending birth of his fifth child, which while understandable is both questionable and weird for a guy who was last year’s biggest snub. But the third alternate, Carson Palmer, is also injured, as he had a procedure done to repair a thumb injury last week, so the spot went to fourth alternate Vince Young.

And finally, to cap it off, when Manning made the Super Bowl, fifth alternate David Garrard—who had less touchdown passes than Matt Cassel and a lower rating than Kyle Orton—stepped in to fill his spot.

Other end result? Schaub, who wasn’t even actually on the team when voting concluded, will actually start the game.

Some All-Star lineup, huh? Good thing the game doesn’t have a bizarre rule against, say, black quarterbacks, or else we might be looking at a thrilling Cassel vs. Alex Smith fourth quarter.

But hey, at least nine Eagles made it, right?                

Let me know how they do. I’ll be watching the Grammys, the WWE Royal Rumble, or some other “big” show where the people involved actually want to be there.