2014 Pro Bowl Roster: 10 Players Who Don’t Belong
2014 Pro Bowl Roster: 10 Players Who Don’t Belong
When it comes to All-Star voting in sports, more often than not it is the popular player that gets in ahead of a deserving player. It explains how Magic Johnson made an All-Star game in 1992 without playing a single game. He retired before the year, but still made the Western Conference All-Star team and won MVP of the game.
The NFL has probably the most lackluster of all the All-Star games in pro sports. You rarely get the best players in the league to fly to Hawaii and play in the exhibition with special rules. Since they are now doing the Pro Bowl the week before the Super Bowl, teams that make the Super Bowl can't send their players. Usually Super Bowl teams have some of the best players in the league and not having them in the game takes away from it.
The NFL has come up with new rules, where Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will draft from a pool of players who were selected to form their own team. You will no longer get the same amount of players from each conference at each position playing in the game. Currently you get the best players, regardless of conference, entered in the game and get to see matchups that you usually won't get to see.
You might be able to see Peyton Manning throwing the ball to Calvin Johnson, which is something that could have never happened before. Defensive ends Greg Hardy and Cameron Jordan might be able to pass rush against their team's starting quarterbacks if they line up opposite Cam Newton or Drew Brees.
You will also get to see matchups that most teams only get to see in practice. With Kansas City having Brandon Albert trying to block Tamba Hali or Justin Houston, or Justin Smith of San Francisco lining up against his teammate Mike Iupati. The NFL has done a good job of adding intrigue to the game this year, but do they have the best players playing? These 10 players got selected based on name instead of performance this season.
10. Tom Brady
Tom Brady has had the most difficult season of his NFL career, other than when he tore his ACL. Gone are Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Deion Branch and Aaron Hernandez. They replaced those guys with Danny Amendola and two rookies. Although he managed to throw 24 TDs with only 10 INTs and get his team in the playoffs, he is not deserving a Pro Bowl selection. Tony Romo has a higher completion percentage, the same amount of interceptions and seven more TD passes.
9. Matt Prater
Matt Prater was selected to the Pro Bowl based on his NFL record 64-yard field goal. He is 23-of-24 on field goals this year, but he has the advantage of playing in Denver where you can kick everything like an extra point. His 23 makes ranks 19th in the league and he has done a lot of his scoring on extra points. Shaun Suisham of Pittsburgh is 28-of-30 and has had to play in terrible conditions all season.
8. Haloti Ngata
Haloti Ngata is one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL, but shouldn't be going to the Pro Bowl. He has 45 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 2013. Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus has 67 tackles and 7.5 sacks.
7. Justin Houston
Justin Houston has missed a month due to injury. When he was playing, he was amongst the leaders in sacks and was very deserving of a Pro Bowl nod. He finished the season with 11 sacks, but just 44 tackles. Lavonte David of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished the season with 137 tackles, six sacks, five INTs, two forced fumbles and a safety. Defensive ends get in because of their sack numbers, outside linebackers should have the all around season that David did.
6. Vernon Davis
Vernon Davis is tied for second in the NFL with 12 touchdowns by a tight end. He ranks 14th amongst tight ends with 49 receptions, tied with Garrett Graham and Tim Wright who were not involved in the offense at the start of the season for their respective teams. The Pro Bowl should be about consistent players that have good all around seasons, and Tony Gonzlaez would be more deserving. He is second in the NFL for receptions by a tight end with 79 and has eight TDs. It would also be nice to send him out with a Pro Bowl bid as his last football game.
5. Cameron Wake
Cameron Wake of the Miami Dolphins has 35 tackles and 8.5 sacks this season. If you take away the games he had against Cincinnati and Cleveland, he had only three sacks in the other 13 Dolphins games. His teammate Olivier Vernon has 55 tackles and 11.5 sacks this year. He has registered at least half a sack in nine games this year which shows he has been more consistent.
4. Darrelle Revis
There should no longer be any debate between Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman for best corner in the league. Sherman has outplayed him for the last three seasons and this year wasn't even close. Revis finished with only 47 tackles, one INT and 12 passes defended. DeAngelo Hall of the Washington Redskins had 74 tackles, four INTs, three TDs and 17 passes defended.
3. Jairus Byrd
Jairus Byrd has been a playmaking safety since he got into the NFL. He has never had high tackle numbers, but his ability to take the ball away is what makes him a Pro Bowl-caliber player. He has only 45 tackles this season, but his four interceptions are second most amongst all free safeties this season. Cleveland Browns free safety Tashaun Gipson also has four interceptions, but he has 89 tackles and one touchdown.
2. Johnny Hekker
Johnny Hekker ranks 11th in the league in yards per punt and 28th in punts downed inside the 20. That means almost every other full-time punter in the league had more punts downed inside the 20. Shane Lechler of Houston finished fourth in the league in yards per punt and fifth in punts downed inside the 20.
1. Patrick Willis
Patrick Willis is one of the most talented linebackers in the NFL, but is having a down year by his high standards. His 98 tackles ranks 34th amongst linebackers in the NFL and has three sacks and two forced fumbles. Buffalo Bills rookie linebacker Kiko Alonso is fourth amonst linebackers with 145 tackles, he has two sacks, four INTs and a forced fumble.
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