Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Pro Bowl Sham
Why do people get upset about the Pro Bowl rosters? Do you even bother to watch the game? Probably not. Still, a lot of Pro Football Hall of Fame voters use Pro Bowl selections as one of their criteria, so there is some merit. And when undeserving players are selected to the Pro Bowl, well then, you have a right to complain.
Of course, there is an annual selection of at least a few players who skate by on reputation alone (looking at you John Lynch). But they are typically defensive players or offensive linemen—positions where you can't debate merit by statistics.
That doesn't explain why some running backs are selected to the team. For instance, which running back would you rather have on your team:
Running Back A: 1,357 rushing yards (4.7 average), 2 TDs, 52 receptions for 429 yards and 0 receiving TDs.
Running Back B: 1,092 rushing yards (5.1 average), 7 TDs, 74 receptions for 664 yards and 4 receiving TDs.
Running Back B has the advantage in rushing average, rushing touchdowns, receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and total touchdowns. Basing your selection on numbers, Running Back B is the overwhelming choice. Not only does he have the statistical advantage, his team is also in control of its division.
Oh, but Running Back A does numerous national commercials so he's an automatic selection. So Running Back A, Tiki Barber, gets the Pro Bowl selection while Running Back B, Brian Westbrook gets nothing. (Until, of course, Barber figures that he is too good to condescend to play in a Pro Bowl.)
It doesn't seem like a big deal now, but wait until they try to shove Barber into the Hall of Fame and they use Pro Bowl selections are part of the criteria.