It happens every NFL season around this time, but the Pro Bowl selection process once again failed miserably in filling out its' annual rosters.
The Green Bay Packers may just be the best example of the failures of this years' selection.
While Greg Jennings, Chad Clifton, Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson and Nick Collins made the team, Aaron Rodgers, Tramon Williams, B.J. Raji and Josh Sitton were all left off the Pro Bowl team.
To understand how the Pro Bowl process messed up, let's examine each of the Packers' selections and snubs.
Truth be told, it would have been a travesty to keep either Jennings or Matthews off the roster.
Both Jennings (72 catches, 1,168 yards and 12 TD's) and Matthews (12.5 sacks) clearly deserved their Pro Bowl selections, as they've been the the biggest playmakers for the Packers on their respective sides of the ball.
Not all the Packers' selections were quite as convincing, however.
Clifton has had some solid performances this season, but by no means has the Packers' left tackle had a Pro Bowl season. He was picked more because of the lack of any viable alternatives than quality of play this year.
Woodson was picked mostly because of reputation. He's had a good year, and he's still a good player, but Woodson has taken a backseat to Tramon Williams in the Packers' secondary.
While I have no problem with Woodson getting selected, Williams deserved the spot more than he did.
Collins is in a similar situation. He probably got picked because he's been there before, but he lacked the big plays this season that he's known for. In fact, he's probably dropped as many interceptions as he's had this season.
Again, I have no problem with Collins in the Pro Bowl. In a way, I'm glad the Packers' dominance against opposing quarterbacks is being rewarded (Packers lead the NFL in opposing quarterback efficiency), but Earl Thomas and Chris Harris would have been equally good picks.
This is where the selection process goes wrong. Call me a biased Packers' fan, but how in the world does Aaron Rodgers not get selected to the Pro Bowl?
Let's look at who was picked ahead of him.
Michael Vick, the NFC starter, was a no-brainer pick—I have zero complaints about him.
Look, I understand the Atlanta Falcons have had a great season. Winning 12 games, with a 13th win likely this weekend, is nothing to sneeze about.
But Rodgers has flat outplayed Ryan this season at the quarterback position. The numbers back up that argument.
Rodgers: 3,693 yards, 27 TD's, 10 INT's, 101.9 rating, 335 yards rushing, 4 TD's
Ryan: 3,469 yards, 26 TD's, 9 INT's, 89.8 rating, 115 yards rushing, 0 TD's
Plus, Ryan has one of the better running attacks in the NFL, while Rodgers has been a one-man show for the Packers for most of the season.
Same goes for Brees. The Saints have relied on the Brees much like the Packers have with Rodgers this season, but the numbers again suggest that Rodgers should have been the pick.
Brees: 4,444 yards, 32 TD's, 21 INT's, 92.2 rating, -3 yards rushing, 0 TD's
This isn't a knock on Ryan or Brees.
"Matty Ice" has been really good for the Falcons, and his calmness in late game situations is admirable.
Brees has also done it all for the 11-4 Saints, but his 21 INT's is an important statistic. Rodgers has less than half that amount, and is just as important to his team as Brees is to the Saints.
Rodgers deserved a trip to Hawaii.
Williams deserved it as well. I mentioned it above, but there is no conceivable reason why Williams shouldn't be on the Pro Bowl roster.
He's evolved into one of the game's best cover corners, and his six interceptions are second in the NFL.
Here is where the crime begins. Asante Samuel is a deserving pick, and I have no problem with Woodson, but Deangelo Hall?
Just because Hall had six interceptions shouldn't have punched his ticket. Four of those interceptions came in one game against the Chicago Bears.
Thanks a lot Jay Cutler.
That's not the only reason, however. How can you justify giving Hall the nod when he's an intricate part of the NFL's 31st ranked passing defense?
In comparison, the Packers are the 5th best in the NFL in that category, and Williams' emergence this season has been a big part of that ranking.
Finally, Williams was fourth in the NFL in pass defensed with 19. Hall was nine spots down that list with 14.
Overall, it's criminal that Hall is going to the Pro Bowl and the much-deserving Williams will be at home.
There's a solid case for Raji as well. Raji has the fourth most sacks for defensive tackles in the NFL (6.5), and he's been a big part—both literally and figuratively—of the Packers' second ranked scoring defense.
That's why I have no clue how Jay Ratliff (3.5 sacks) or Justin Smith (5.5 sacks) were picked ahead of him.
I won't doubt that Ratliff had a great season, last year. His performance dropped considerably this season, and the Cowboys' defense as a whole tanked. So how is he a starter in the Pro Bowl?
Smith was a decent choice, but if that final interior lineman spot came down to Raji and Smith, how do you not choose Raji? Obviously, name recognition and popularity factored into that choice.
I'm not saying that fans know what they are talking about, but Sitton won the fan vote for the NFC's guard position.
By winning that third of the voting, how did Sitton not get in with the coaches and players vote?
I understand the selections of Jahri Evans and Chris Snee, but did both guards—Carl Nicks being the other—from the Saints' 27th ranked rushing offense deserve a Pro Bowl spot?
I have the least amount of problem with Sitton's snub, but I still think he deserved the spot.
While Tramon Williams and Aaron Rodgers are first alternatives, and will likely go because of that, there's no reason they shouldn't have been included on the original list.
The snubs, and even the Packers' who made the list, highlight how bad the Pro Bowl selection process has become.
Maybe some people don't care about the Pro Bowl, but it's still a shame that deserving players won't get a chance at lacing up with the NFL's best.
And they'd probably never admit it, but I can guarantee you the players care.
Included in the alternatives are Donald Driver, AJ Hawk, B.J. Raji, and Josh Sitton—all are second alternatives.
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