NFL: Matt Cassel's Good Season Does Not Necessarily Make Him a Pro Bowl Snub
Now that the Pro Bowl rosters have finally been announced, it's time for everybody to start talking about all of the players who were snubbed. If you read a lot of people's snub lists, one of the most common names you'll find on there is Matt Cassel. While Cassel has in fact had a good season, as well as the Kansas City Chiefs as a team, it is unbelieveable how many people think he should be in the Pro Bowl.
Take a look at who went instead of Cassel. First, there is Tom Brady, who is at this point almost a lock to win the league's MVP. The people who are arguing for Cassel won't debate he is better than Brady hopefully, if they do their opinion should be dismissed immediately.
Next, you have Phillip Rivers. Rivers does play in the same division as Cassel, and River's Chargers lost the division to Cassel's Chiefs. However, the wins are the only thing Cassel really has on Rivers, and he's only got two more. Rivers has almost 1,400 more yards on him as well as a few touchdowns, all with a less talented team around him. Stats aside too, who can reasonably argue that Rivers isn't the second most talented QB in the AFC. Some hardcore KC fans might try and tell you that Cassel has outplayed even Rivers this season, but I think the general NFL fan base is okay with this selection.
Finally, the last AFC Pro Bowl spot went to Peyton Manning, and this is the spot that most of the debate revolves around. On the surface, a lot of people are quick to say Cassel, due to the fact he has more wins and a better passer rating. Also, Manning has had a down year, but by Peyton Manning standards that is. If you dig a little deeper you can see that the man who has won the most MVP's in NFL history is still great, and deserves every snap he will take in the Pro Bowl.
Both quarterbacks play with about an equal receiving core with the Colts' loss of Dallas Clark, assuming Bowe and Wayne are of about equal value. However, the Colts offensive line is in the bottom tier as far as lines go. Yet, Manning has suffered fewer sacks than Cassel, due to his greater ability to read defenses and make efficient audibles. Don't forget Peyton still calls all of the team's plays, making him more than just a passer and more of a field general.
Running behind these lines, Cassel has help from Pro Bowler Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, while Manning spent much of the year without Javarris James and Mike Hart after losing both of his starting running backs for the season. The Chiefs offense gives them a running game to fall back on, the Colts, well, not so much. A great running game can make a quarterback look a lot better—see David Gerrard with and without MJD.
Despite the lack of a great supporting cast, Manning has managed to have a greater production. A "declining" Peyton Manning, as many people have dubbed, still leads the entire NFL in passing yards and is third in touchdowns, falling just shy of Brees and Brady. Also, despite the rocky start, the Colts look as though they will still take their division and be headed back to the playoffs.
Manning's big downside is the number of interceptions he has thrown, as well as the lower-than-normal passer rating. But compare him to NFC Pro Bowler Drew Brees and you'll see he has actually been right on par with the man who out-dueled him in last year's Super Bowl. Manning has also started every game this season and holds the active record for consecutive starts. Cassel missed a game due to injury, and his team suffered the consequence in a blowout loss.
Overall, while Manning and the Colts have both had a down year, he still hasn't been bested by Matt Cassel and the Chiefs, who might be the regular season's Cinderella story. Manning is still a more productive player and a more talented quarterback. Although, with the likelihood that the Patriots or the Colts win the Super Bowl, all those who think Matt Cassel is a snub may get to see him in the Pro Bowl after all.
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