A week ago, the NFL released the final results for the 2009 AFC and NFC Pro Bowl rosters. The rosters were selected based off a voting system, which tallied results from fans, players, coaches and media personnel.
Notably, the Associated Press reported on FoxSports.com that history was made with the selections of both Peyton and Eli Manning, marking the first time in NFL history that two “quarterback-playing brothers have been chosen for the same all-star game.” However, Peyton still boasts significant Pro Bowl experience over Eli; this will be the 9th ticket to Honolulu for the illustrious Colts quarterback while it will only be the1st Pro Bowl experience ever for last year’s Super Bowl hero.
Eli’s teammate, placekicker John Carney, also made history by being the oldest kicker ever selected to the Pro Bowl. According to the AP article, Carney started out the season as an emergency replacement for the Giants while their kicker from last season, Lawrence Tynes, recovered from an injury. However, Carney kicked so well while Tynes was injured, when Tynes was healthy, the GIants kept using Carney. Now, he’s going to the Pro Bowl in February.
As strong as this year’s rookie class was, FoxSports.com writer, Alex Marvez noted with surprise that only two rookies were selected for this year’s Pro Bowl: Tennessee’s standout tailback, Chris Johnson, and Clifton Smith, a kick/punt return specialist from Tampa Bay. Marvez notes that, arguably, Atlanta’s stellar quarterback, Matt Ryan, Houston’s speedy tailback, Steve Slaton, and Denver’s powerhouse left tackle, Ryan Clady all deserved a nod to go to the Pro Bowl this year.
Regarding Ryan, Marvez noted that he has lead the Falcons to more victories than Drew Brees and Kurt Warner, both Pro Bowl selections from the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals respectively. He also points out that Ryan has a better touchdown to interception ratio than Brees and Warner as well, saying that “Ryan’s interception ratio translates to one turnover for every 43.2 pass attempts. That, too, is better than the marks posted by Warner (42.3) and Brees (34.1).”
Regarding Slaton, Marvez believes he is a far more deserving choice than Ronnie Brown, who Marvez claims garnered his main recognition due to his performance from the Wildcat formation. He writes that, production wise, Slaton was the better back this season: “As for Slaton, he is further proof that fan Pro Bowl voting shouldn’t be conducted until December. Slaton has rushed for 579 yards in the past five games, four of which the Texans won. Overall, Slaton has 1,124 rushing yards; Brown stands at 877. Slaton also has a better per-carry average (4.9 to 4.2) and reception total (40 to 24) than Brown.”
Finally, Marvez remarks about Broncos tackle, Ryan Clady, that “Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler and wide receiver Brandon Marshall are headed to the Pro Bowl. The least they could do is pool funds and buy Clady a plane ticket to travel with them.” Marvez also highlighted Clady’s success at shutting down superstar pass rushers in the forms of Carolina’s Julius Peppers, Miami’s Joey Porter, and Atlanta’s John Abraham. Finally, Clady has only allowed a half sack on the year while the tackle selected in front of him, Jason Peters, has allowed 8.5 and, as Marvez notes, played a crucial role in giving up the game winning touchdown against the Jets this past Sunday.
Some highly capable veterans will also not be making the trip to Hawaii either. Notable exceptions include WR Randy Moss from the Patriots, RB Brian Westbrook from the Eagles, QB Philip Rivers from the Chargers, DT Haloti Ngata from the Ravens, TE Dallas Clark from the Colts, WR Greg Jennings from the Packers, and LB Lamar Woodly from the Steelers. NFL.com analysts Solomon Wilcots, Terrell Davis, and Jim Mora Sr. discussed a few of the players they think were snubbed from the NFC and AFC as well.
That said, few can argue with the rosters themselves at many positions. The NFC will send Adrian Peterson, Clinton Portis, and Michael Turner at runningback, and while some would argue for other NFC runningbacks (like Brandon Jacobs, Matt Forte, Deangelo Williams, or the previously mentioned Westbrook), it would be hard to exclude any of the original three selections. The same can be said for the NFC at WR where Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Steve Smith, and Roddy White were selected out of a very competitive group.
The AFC had its tough positions as well. With arguably six Pro Bowl worthy defensive tackles (Casey Hampton, Richard Seymour, Shaun Rogers, Kris Jenkins, Haloti Ngata, and Albert Haynseworth), only three could be selected. The final group consists of Rogers, Jenkins, and Haynesworth. Even though Randy Moss is missing from the AFC wide reciever corp, it would be hard to replace any of the four recievers chosen ahead of him (Brandon Marshall, Andre Johnson, Wes Welker, and Reggie Wayne) due to the production and explosiveness that each provided to their respective teams this year.
The next major individual accolades for the NFL will come with the announcement of its end-of-season awards, including coach of the year, offensive and defensive players of the year, league MVP, and rookie of the year.