I am not a fan of the Pro Bowl. Too many things wrong with it. Take the voting, for example. Why is the voting conducted before the end of the NFL season? I hate that. If a running back scores seven touchdowns in his final two weeks, it means nothing for his Pro Bowl chances. The voting's already been decided.
And every year, there are some obvious snubs in the Pro Bowl rosters. Here are the guys who didn't make it this year, but should have.
Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers
This is absolutely ridiculous. Here is a man who is widely considered to be an NFL MVP candidate and should be starting in the Pro Bowl. Rivers is leading the NFL in touchdowns passes (28), yards per attempt (8.23), and passer rating (101.4). Yet Rivers got snubbed, with the final spot going to fan favorite Brett Favre, the NFL's leader in interceptions (17) this season. Given Favre's recent history, he'll probably claim to be injured and Rivers will get his chance still.
Steve Slaton, RB, Texans
The AFC as a whole hasn't featured its usual plethora of talented running backs. In fact, there are about a dozen guys from the NFC who probably wish they were in the AFC so they could play in Hawaii. Still, I'm not sure I understand the selection of Ronnie Brown and not Steve Slaton. Slaton has more rushing yards (1,124) and a greater yards per carry (4.9). Brown has more touchdowns (10 to 8), but take away Brown's four-touchdown game against the Patriots in Week Three and Slaton wins that category by a wide margin too.
It's a shame the voting is conducted before the season is over. Slaton, with four 100-yard rushing totals of his last five games, appears to be on a hot streak, while Brown has topped 100 yards just once in his last 10 games.
Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions
It's not Calvin Johnson's fault that the Lions are 0-14. Or that he's had to play for five different quarterbacks. Johnson has 65 receptions for 1,165 yards and 10 touchdowns, second-best in the NFL. He's a big play guy, and his 17.9 yards per catch average is fifth-best in the league. His 96-yard touchdown reception in Week Seven has been one of the longest plays in football this season.
He gets my vote over either Larry Fitzgerald or Anquan Boldin, both of whom have the benefit of not only each other on the other side of the field drawing away defenders, but also a Pro Bowl quarterback in Kurt Warner throwing to them.
Jason Hanson, K, Lions
What is it with these Lions not getting the credit they deserve? Voting for the kickers is always difficult to judge, and since Hanson ranks just 27th in the league in scoring (thank that Detroit offense, it's easy to overlook him. But it's tough to ignore the fact that he is an astounding 8-for-8 this season on field goals from 50-plus yards. He's only missed one field goal all season, and his 95.5 percent success rate (21-for-22) is second best in the NFL among kickers with a minimum of 20 attempts.
Ryan Clady, OT, Broncos
It's extremely difficult to judge offensive linemen, so I'm going to base this on what I read. Everything I come across says Clady is a legit Pro Bowl type candidate as a rookie, just like Joe Thomas of the Browns last year. Last week, Clady shut down the dominant Julius Peppers, limiting him to no sacks and no tackles all game. I'd put Clady on the roster over first-timer Michael Roos of the Titans, a player who hasn't been quite as dominant in pass protection this season as Clady.
Lamar Woodley, LB, Steelers
Putting Woodley on the AFC roster would give the Steelers three Pro Bowl linebackers, and to be honest, they deserve that many. While the defense has been primarily led by S Troy Polamalu and OLB James Harrison, Lamar Woodley was often talked about as one of the defensive player of the year candidates for the first half of the season. Woodley has 11.5 sacks and has helped Pittsburgh rank No. 1 in the league in scoring defense, rushing defense, and passing defense. I would eliminate Terrell Suggs of the Ravens, a talented player who hasn't quite been as dominant this season.
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