AFC Pro Bowl Roster 2012: Andy Dalton Snubbed for Bigger-Name Philip Rivers

Michael DixonAnalyst IIIDecember 27, 2011

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - DECEMBER 18:  Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks to pass in the second half of the game against the St. Louis Rams on December 18, 2011 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. The Bengals defeated the Rams 20-13. (Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images)
Whitney Curtis/Getty Images

While Philip Rivers has had a marvelous career, he does not belong on the AFC Pro Bowl roster this season. It's not close. 

Andy Dalton, not Rivers, deserves the Pro Bowl quarterback spot with Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger. Yet when the rosters were released on Tuesday, Rivers earned the honor.

The one area where Rivers is significantly superior to Dalton is yards. But if you stop and think about that, Rivers should have more yards. 

He plays most of his games in the AFC West. The pass defenses in the AFC West are abysmal. That's not the case in the AFC North, where even the dismal Cleveland Browns are strong in the secondary. 

Also, look at the weapons that Rivers has at his disposal. Yes, Green has an emerging A.J. Green, but doesn't have Vincent Jackson, Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates to help pad his stats. Nor does he play in an offense that's pass-first. Rivers has attempted 556 passes; Dalton has thrown 472.

The yards are clearly going to benefit Rivers.

Despite Rivers' superior numbers, the rest of the stats are even or benefit Dalton. Rivers has 24 touchdown passes; Dalton has 20. Rivers has 19 interceptions thrown; Dalton has 13. And that's what sets Dalton well ahead. 

Rookie quarterbacks are supposed to be more raw. That means that they throw a lot of touchdowns, but also a lot of interceptions. Yet the veteran Rivers has more interceptions, and even those numbers are dramatically skewed by six combined touchdowns and zero interceptions thrown in relatively meaningless games against the Jaguars and Bills.

The Bengals have been in playoff contention all year, and went through a brutal stretch of games and secondaries in the middle of that. 

Dalton has fewer interceptions and despite being a rookie, leads a better team. The lifetime achievement here clearly belongs to Rivers, but this is about the 2011 season. That honor rightfully must belong to Dalton.

As things stand now, he'll need an injury or Super Bowl appearance from Roethlisberger or Brady to make the trip to Hawaii, as Dalton is the first alternate.