Who Got In?
Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Jeff Saturday, Robert Mathis, and
Who Deserved It?
Manning is obviously beyond reproach. Working all season with an
ineffective running attack and two inexperienced receivers — he was without
Anthony Gonzalez, who was supposed to have a big year, all season — he lead the
team to a 14-1 record.
He authored seven fourth quarter
comebacks. He further established himself in the two-minute offense and
gained double honors as the one player his team cannot live without and the one
guy you don't want to face with the game on the line and the ball in his hands.
The statistics were there, as they always have been, but Manning added another
layer to his game and another footnote in his storied legacy in 2009.
Wayne was fourth in the league in yards, fifth in touchdowns, and fourth in
receptions. There were players with more impressive numbers in the
individual categories, but no receiver was able to combine the knack for making
the big play, the little play, the game-changing play, the game-winning play,
and the drive-sustaining play as well as Wayne. In a league of
specialists, Wayne was a receiving Everyman and further cemented his status as a
top-five player at his position.
After years of me lobbying for Clark to make the Pro Bowl, he finally got his
chance. He lead all tight ends in receptions and touchdowns and finished
second in receiving yards to fellow Pro Bowler Antonio Gates.
starting for the AFC in football's all-star game, but an excellent case could be
made that he was the best tight end in all of football in 2009. Chances
are that he will not only be voted as a representative for the AFC in the Pro
Bowl, but as the All-Pro at his position, which is the highest honor a player
Freeney started the season strong, finished the season strong, and is still
the engine that drives the Indianapolis pass rush. This is the second
straight Pro Bowl for Freeney and he deserves every accolade awarded to him.
Who Possibly Didn't Deserve It?
There is a saying among NFL players that you get to the Pro Bowl two years
after you should be and you're voted in two years after you shouldn't be.
Saturday falls into that category simply because he was the one offensive
lineman that the best team in the league could not afford to lose. Nick Mangold got voted in at the right time, as he is a very skilled player both in
the running game and pass protection, as well as taking on many of the line
calls this season for rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez.
center Kevin Mawae had two different starters at quarterback, weathered an 0-6
start, has paved the way for the league's leading rusher and second ranking
rushing attack, and calls the protections for a unit that yielded only 15 sacks
this season. If there were three spots available at center, Saturday would
have deserved consideration and probably should have gotten voted in, but Mawae
was probably passed over because his team is 7-8.
Putting Mathis on this list is not a slight against him, but more of an
indictment of the process in general. Mario Williams had an off year and
did not deserve to be the reserve end.
Mathis plays for a great team, had
excellent stats, and authored a number of game-changing plays, as evidenced by
his five forced fumbles. But, Buffalo defensive end Aaron Schobel had
comparable stats — ten sacks, three forced fumbles, and an interception —
toiling away for a bad team that had no other pass rushing threat. He
constantly faced double teams, was the player on the defensive line that
opponents were game planning against, and faced a number of fourth quarters
where the opponent was running out the clock with a lead.
Schobel and Freeney should be the starters and Mathis should be the reserve
Who Got Snubbed?
Gary Brackett had a courageous and productive season as the captain and heart
and soul of the Colts defense. But, as an undrafted player that is part of
a defense that doesn't garner many headlines, he was passed over. It's
also difficult to pass over players with the pedigree and production of Ray Lewis and DeMeco Ryans.
But, Brackett had more tackles than Lewis and
Ryans and trailed only Lewis in sacks (three to one). Also, since Clint Session led Indianapolis in tackles, it could be argued that he was more
important in the scheme of things. There can be no doubt, though, that
Brackett is the captain, leader, and most important player for the defense on
the league's best team.
Antoine Bethea finished third on the team in tackles and tenth among safeties
in tackles and also contributed four interceptions. With numerous injuries
in the secondary, Bethea emerged as the quarterback for a pass defense that has
had its ups and downs thus far this season and currently ranks 18th in the
Ed Reed has been struggling with injuries for a good part of the
season and Jairus Byrd is now on injured reserve, so there is a very good chance
that Bethea will have his ticket punched to Miami at some point. The issue
with Bethea is that he does so many of the little things right, but doesn't
author many game-changing plays, which is a big reason why Reed and Byrd were
voted in by fans and players. The only time Bethea was on SportsCenter was
when Randy Moss was running past him, so that's a tough image to overcome.
His solid play is one of the primary reasons Indianapolis been so successful, so
Colts fans should hope that he does not change his game in order to get voted
At the End of the Day...
It is a nice honor to be voted into the Pro Bowl by your peers and fans, but
the ultimate goal in this team sport is to win games and win championships.
Hopefully, no Colts will suit up for the Pro Bowl on January 31st, as they will
all be preparing for the Super Bowl.
Visit the ColtPower.com forums!
Follow ColtPower's updates on Twitter!
Take advantage of our FREE seven-day trial!