The NFL announced this week that Evan Mathis, originally selected as an alternate, will be playing in the 2014 Pro Bowl. It will be the first year that the exhibition game will be “un-conferenced” with the participants being selected by fans, coaches and players with no conference affiliation.
The actual rosters will be “drafted” fantasy football-style by alumni team captains Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders. The Pro Bowl Draft will be televised live on the NFL Network at 8 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Jan. 22. The game’s silly format suits the irreverent Mathis. His sense of humor was on full display when he tweeted this after receiving the news that he would be invited to play in this year’s Pro Bowl:
Someone tell Tonya Harding I don’t need her help getting into the Pro Bowl anymore.
— Evan Mathis (@EvanMathis69) January 14, 2014
While Mathis’s reaction was far from serious, his initially snubbing was seriously disappointing. Mathis elevated the Philadelphia Eagles’ run blocking into the league’s elite ranks, and he became LeSean McCoy‘s secret weapon in one of the finest seasons by a guard in NFL history.
Furthermore, Pro Football Focus named Mathis their Offensive Lineman of the Year after he graded out at 47.7 points overall, which is 13.6 higher than the second-ranked guard, Josh Sitton. Specifically, Mathis’s run blocking was graded far higher than any other guard in the league.
Through the Eagles’ well-documented turbulence over the last few years, Mathis has been their only steady producer, consistently grading out as one of the NFL’s elite guards. Despite a track record of dominance, however, he had never been invited to a Pro Bowl … until now.