The AFC and NFC rosters were announced today for the 2011 Pro Bowl. Three Chiefs players were voted onto the prestigious team.
Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, running back Jamaal Charles and offensive lineman Brian Waters will be representing the Kansas City Chiefs, but one name escaped the list of active players: quarterback Matt Cassel.
Cassel is in his second year as the starting quarterback of Kansas City and is the undisputed heart and leader of the playoff-bound team.
So, who was chosen above him?
The starter for the AFC will be Tom Brady. I have no problem with this. Brady is having one of the best years that a quarterback can have. Brady boasts a 66 percent completion percentage with 34 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Now, he also holds the NFL record for most passes thrown without an interception.
There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Brady deserves this spot.
But what about the other two players that beat Matt Cassel out?
First, we have division rival Philip Rivers from the helm of the San Diego Chargers.
For the first half of the season, Rivers was leading the league in just about all stats that are recorded for a quarterback. After all of that, his team is only 8-7 and eliminated from the playoffs before the last game of the season.
Statistically, Rivers has an edge over Cassel. Rivers completes a good 66.7 percent (second in the league behind Drew Brees) with 4,397 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
The third quarterback on the AFC sideline in Hawaii will be shoo-in Peyton Manning.
This marks Manning’s 11th Pro Bowl selection. This ties Brett Favre for the most selections by a quarterback.
Manning is going to go to the Pro Bowl every year for the rest of his career, but does he really deserve it this year?
Manning is leading the NFL in passing yards with 4,436, 31 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. This is certainly a Pro Bowl season, stat wise.
Cassel wasn’t too shabby, either. In just 14 games, Cassel put up over 3,000 yards, 27 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions. It is also noteworthy that Manning and Rivers also throw the ball about twice as much per game than Cassel does.
If both Rivers and Manning have more passing yards and more touchdown passes this season than Cassel, why am I so upset?
The Pro Bowl should not be all about statistics but that is what most voters are looking at. We need not forget about the attitude and desire that the leader of a team brings.
With the exception of Michael Vick, no player was as vital to their team as Matt Cassel.
With one-on-one coaching from Head Coach Todd Haley, Cassel has been transformed into an elite quarterback that can manage a team of young players better than any other in the league.
Cassel has taken a team from worst to first in one season. In the one game that Cassel was out, the team showed a lack of motivation, interest and heart.
What Cassel gives this team is something that Rivers and Manning did not give their teams: A reason to be proud to wear the uniform.
There has not been much to cheer for in Kansas City for the latter part of the last decade. Cassel is a big reason why all heads are high in Kansas City for the dynasty-to- be.
Even though we won't get to see Cassel as an All-Pro this season, we do get to see his supporting cast. Make sure to wear your red on January 30th to support Charles, Bowe and Waters.