Let me first say that I think the NFL Pro Bowl game is Busch League when compared to every other All-Star game in America. However, the honor of being a pro-bowler is something that has some merit to it. Earning the honor is a validation that a player is one of the game’s best. I’m sure that most NFL players would rather be a pro-bowler than not, regardless of the fact that the game itself is a joke.
That brings us to Chad Greenway and his absence from this year’s list of those going to Hawaii.
Greenway has been one the biggest reasons for the Minnesota Vikings‘ resurgence this season. He leads the team in tackles and ranks second in the NFL with 145 total tackles. In addition he’s recorded 95 solo tackles, three sacks, one interception, and five pass deflections. His nose for the ball and leadership make him the key piece at linebacker for the Vikings. The team would not be where it’s at without Greenway.
While his stats alone make him deserving of a Pro Bowl selection, the fact that Clay Matthews was selected instead makes his snubbing even more ridiculous.
I think Clay Matthews is no doubt one of the best linebackers in the game, but not this season. For starters, Matthews missed four games with a hamstring injury. That’s one quarter of the season he wasn’t on the field. Whether that’s his fault or not, the reality is that Matthews has missed a quarter of 2012, while Greenway probably didn’t even miss four plays in a row this season.
The one area where Matthews does have the edge is with sacks. He’s totaled 12 (sixth in the league) through 16 weeks, an impressive number considering the time missed. But at the same time, Matthews has only tallied 40 total tackles (266th).
It shows that sacks are no doubt a much more popular statistic than tackles. Players that get a lot of sacks are just more popular than workhorse players like Greenway, so the selection is not surprising in that regard.
If you just look at these two players’ seasons objectively side-by-side, I think it’s clear that Greenway should be the one going to Hawaii.
It is ironic that the two will both be on the field this Sunday though. Greenway will get a chance on the national stage to show why the voters got it wrong.