The 2014 NFL Pro Bowl rosters were announced on Friday and two Dallas Cowboys were included. Not surprisingly, Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith were selected to play in the league’s All-Star game in the first year of its new format. On Jan. 22, Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will hold a fantasy draft of the players selected, which will have no reflection of the AFC and NFC, as has been the case in the past. But one player who cannot be picked by the two Hall of Famers is Jason Hatcher, the Cowboys’ star defensive end who was snubbed by the voters.
Bryant and Smith are both former first-round selections, so everyone recognizes their name, even those who don’t follow the Cowboys. However, Hatcher is a veteran who had a breakout year, of sorts, with Dallas in 2013 as perhaps the only defensive player to benefit from new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin’s 4-3, Tampa 2 scheme. His nine sacks through 14 games doubles his previous career-best mark with still one game to go.
Again, it’s not surprising that blue-collar a player was snubbed, but it seemed throughout the year that football minds across the NFL were noticing his strong play, especially considering how awful the Cowboys’ defense was as a whole. But then again, that could have swayed voters from selecting Hatcher while it was easier to justify voting for Bryant and Smith because Dallas’ offense is more recognizable, even if it’s ranked in the bottom half of the league statistically.
One thing is for sure: Hatcher will be back with a vengeance to make the 2015 Pro Bowl.