With so many stars choosing to opt out of the Winter (not-so) Classic every year, getting snubbed for the NFL Pro Bowl may actually be the honor more players prefer.
Nnevertheless, this year’s semi-defunct All-star Game sees a host of deserving NFL stars being left off the boat to Hawaii.
Drew Brees: So, what does leading the NFL in yards and touchdowns from the quarterback position get you? If you answered a Pro Bowl selection you would be wrong. Although his Saints did not make the playoffs, Drew Brees has personally thrown for 4,781 yards and 39 scores.
In fact, the quarterbacks with the top three tallies, in terms of yardage this season, will be left off the Pro Bowl roster (Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford and Tony Romo). Matt Ryan is the next closest NFC Pro Bowler to Brees, but he has thrown for 300 fewer yards and has tossed for eight fewer touchdowns than has the Saints’ diminutive signal caller.
Roddy White: Whether he would admit it publicly, Roddy White’s Pro Bowl snub has got to sting when you look at the fact his own teammate, Julio Jones, was selected over him. White has recorded 11 more catches than Jones en route to 1,309 yards receiving (167 yards more than Julio Jones).
White has also converted 18 more first downs than his teammate. The only category in which Jones has the upper hand is in touchdown receptions where the Falcons’ second-year star has pulled in 10 while Roddy White has seven.
Alfred Morris: It’s tough to get the recognition you deserve when your own teammate is stealing all the headlines away from you. The Washington Redskins may have the best rookie in all of football, and his name is not Robert Griffin III.
After being a sixth-round pick from a small school (Florida Atlantic), Alfred Morris had to earn his way up the Redskins’ depth chart. The sensational rookie won the starting running back’s job in camp and then exploded onto the NFL scene, where he currently sits 4th in rushing in all of football with 1,413 yards.
Yet, it will be San Francisco 49ers’ Frank Gore who will be doing the hula dance next month. Gore was selected ahead of the rookie despite having rushed for just 1,146 yards and also getting to pay-dirt three fewer times than has Morris (10-to-7).
Dez Bryant: The player who may take the prize for the worst snub job this season has to be the Dallas Cowboys’ Dez Bryant. Bryant currently has more touchdowns (12) than any wide receiver named to the Pro Bowl in either league. He also has more catches and more yards than Julio Jones or Victor Cruz, both of whom were named to the team ahead of him.
Steven Ridley: Despite having more yards and more touchdowns than the Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Rice, Stevan Ridley was passed over for the AFC Pro Bowl. New England Patriots’ head coach, Bill Belichick is really the man responsible for Stevan Ridley being left off of roster this season.
Belichick is routinely schizophrenic when it comes to shuffling his running backs in and out of the lineup, it is amazing Ridley has been able to put up the kind of numbers he has.
Although Ridley has gained 1,189 yards rushing and scored 10 touchdowns, he has just over half of the Patriots’ total rushing attempts. That can be forgiven, as teams generally run two-back systems now, but the spot in which Belichick single-handedly ended his running back’s chance for a Hawaiian vacation was on the goal-line.
Ridley’s 10 touchdowns are impressive by themselves, but anyone who watched the Patriots this season understands just how many scores were left on the table. Belichick routinely called on Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, Tom Brady and Brandon Bolden to punch it in from close as the Patriots have scored 13 rushing touchdowns with someone other than Stevan Ridley this season.
Demaryius Thomas: Peyton Manning’s No. 1 target will have to fry up some Spam on his own if he wants a true Hawaiian experience this January as the Broncos’ star receiver was passed over for the AFC Pro Bowl team. Thomas is a snub, but it isn’t because some other less deserving receiver made it over him, he is just in the unlucky spot of playing a position with a ton of talent this season.
Through 15 games, Thomas has 87 catches for 1,312 yards and nine touchdowns – Pro Bowl numbers by anyone’s measure. However, A.J. Green, Reggie Wayne and Andre Johnson simply have even better numbers.
Wes Welker’s 1,260 yards and five touchdowns is really the only place Thomas could have an argument, but Welker has snatched 110 balls this season (23 more than Thomas). If Houston or New England makes it to the Super Bowl, Thomas’ phone should start ringing immediately, but right now he looks like the unlucky, odd-man-out on the AFC Pro Bowl roster.
Andrew Luck: Taking down nearly every rookie passing record while leading your team to the playoffs only one year after they were the worst team in football should get you some MVP votes, let alone a Pro Bowl selection. Andrew Luck will certainly have a case for snubbery as he was overlooked in favor of Matt Schaub who can hardly be pointed to as the reason why the Houston Texans are 12-3.
Schaub has had a fine year with 3,733 yards and 22 touchdowns, but his team is loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. Luck is simply asked to do more on a worse team and has propelled them to heights no one imaged when he was taken No. 1 overall in this year’s NFL Draft.
Luck has 4,138 yards passing and has done so without anyone named Arian Foster lining up behind him in the backfield. Luck has also run for five scores himself while Schaub has scampered to pay-dirt a grand total of zero times.