The NFL Pro-bowl: It is said to be the "All-Star" game for the "best of the best"/ greatest NFL athletes of that year. If this was true, don't you think that Brent Celek would have been a shoe-in for the 2010 Pro-bowl?
Well, he wasn't!
If the Philadelphia Eagles tight end improves his numbers this next season, he should make it into the up and coming 2011 pro-bowl right?
I have reason to believe that despite a breakout season in 2010, Brent Celek might not make the 2011 Pro-bowl team, and here is why.
Brent Celek will be entering into his fourth year as a tight end in the NFL. Each year he has improved terrifically. In 2007 he recorded a humble 16 receptions for 178 yards. In 2008 he improved to 27 receptions for 318 yards. Then in 2009 Brent scorched the field with 76 receptions for 971 yards.
In the 2009 season, the stats for NFC tight ends had Brent Celek First in 20+ yard and 40+ yard receptions. He was a close second in total yardage with 971 yards. He missed the No. 1 spot, held by Jason Witten, by a mere 51 yards. Brent was also second in yards per game, second in average yards per catch (of 20 catches or more), third overall for touchdowns, and fifth overall at receptions as a tight end in the NFC.
You would think that these numbers would have placed him high up on the list for pro-bowl mention, right? However, For pro-bowl nominations, its more of a popularity contest then a talent contest.
In the NFC you have several "Big Name" tight ends. Just to name a few: Vernon Davis from the 49ers, Jason Witten from Dallas, Tony Gonzalez from the Falcons, Visanthe Shiancoe from the Vikings, and Chris Cooley from the Redskins.
Last year the Pro Bowl selections for the NFC were Vernon Davis and Jason Witten. Although both players had great seasons, any player mentioned in this article (including Celek) could have made the list, except Cooley (but only because of injury).
Lets take a minute to look over the rest of these players seasons.
Vernon Davis : The No. 1 Selection for the 2010 Pro Bowl for NFC tight end finished third in receptions with 78, third in total yards with 965, and No. 1 in touchdowns with 13.
Jason Witten : The No. 2 Selection for the 2010 Pro Bowl for NFC tight end finished No. 1 in receptions with 94, No. 1 in total yards with 1030, and tied eight other players at 17th for touchdowns with a whopping total of two.
Tony Gonzalez : Finished second in receptions with 83, finished fifth in total yards with 867, and finished sixth in touchdowns with six.
Visanthe Shiancoe : Finished seventh in receptions with 56, 11th in total yards with 566, and second in touchdowns with 11.
* Chris Cooley : Chris Cooley gets a "Star" and a pass because he broke his ankle midway into the season. However, he was well on his way to another "Prp Bowl" type season with, 29 receptions, 332 total yards, and two touchdowns in only seven games.
These five names are arguably the top five tight ends in the NFC. This also leads to a big issue with the pro-bowl elections. In my opinion, Celek would have been No. 2 last year behind Witten. Davis should have been No. 3.
Celek now has the potential to jump up to No. 1 this year under Kevin Kolb. However because the Pro Bowl is voted by fans, the awesomeness of Brent's season could go overlooked due to the popularity of his peers.
Even with his Facebook page steadily growing in popularity, I think It will take a steady improvement on last years numbers and a bit of campaigning to get some notice around the league.
Good Luck Brent, I will be pulling for you!