Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

21 Oct 2005

Pro Bowl Balloting has Begun

Have I ever mentioned that I don't think the fans should vote for the Pro Bowl? I'd love to see each team's personnel director, or the assistant coaches, make all the decisions. But if they are going to let fans do it, I have some suggestions for improvement. For one, don't start so damn early. The season isn't even half over. For another, put a little thought into who belongs on the ballots. Is there any reason that Justin Fargas should be on the ballot, but not Kelly Holcomb? Is there any reason for Tim Rattay to be listed at all, let alone twice, once with San Francisco and once with Tampa Bay? And what if he had been traded to an AFC team? Could we start an internet campaign to get him elected to both the NFC and the AFC squad? Now that would be cool. When I was a kid and we were playing backyard football, if we had an odd number of people, one person would serve as quarterback for both teams. I'd like to see that in the Pro Bowl.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 21 Oct 2005

34 comments, Last at 25 Oct 2005, 12:00pm by James


by djcolts (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 3:17pm

Robert Mathis leads the NFL in sacks, but he's not an option for DE on the Pro Bowl Ballot.

I think every sport has these types of problems with All-Star balloting, though.

by Theo (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 3:29pm

"Tiki and Ronde Barber both make the Pro Bowl would be fun election".

by B (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 3:33pm

Is it too early to start the "Patrick Pass Pro-Bowl fullback" bandwagon? I know Carl is on-board.

by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 3:43pm

They'll never get rid of the popular vote, but it would be nice if they just stopped counting it. Let people think their votes count, but actually have a handful of experts making the picks. Even many of the worst sportswriters in the country couldn't do worse than the fans do.
The popular vote is good as theater, but clearly fails in practice.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 3:55pm

Sportswriters would do just as poorly as the fans; they'd just make different mistakes. I think most people who post about TMQ, PK, Dr. Z et al feel that way.

Maybe the players would do it the best. I don't know. The idea of an all-star exhibition game in a sport like football is silly anyway. They should just play flag football instead (on a field, not the beach, Robert).

by B (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 3:58pm

I think the players, coaches and scouts should be the people to decide. They know more about who deserves to go then the fans or sportswriters do.

by ABW (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 4:01pm

Yes Patrick Pass to the Pro Bowl. That would be sweet.

They should just get rid of the game and just do ridiculous stuff like the kicking contest, and that thing they did where receivers had to stand in the middle of a square and catch as many balls from the jugs machines on the corners as possible. That stuff was freaking awesome. Who didn't think the kicking contest between Vinatieri and Akers was the sick?

by Purds (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 4:11pm

Mathis is a great special teams pick. Even as a rabid Colts fan, I realize Mathis is not one of the three best DE's in the AFC; however, he is very good at what they ask him to do: play special teams and rush the passer.

by Purds (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 4:13pm


I saw the passing drill contest. I thought it was great. But, I didn't see the kicking contest. How did they run it? Just kicking from various spots, or like a game of H-O-R-S-E (which would be pretty cool to see)?

by Drew (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 4:16pm

RE #1

Mathis is listed under special teamers, for some reason. Seems strange since, if he does make the Pro Bowl, it won't be for his special teams play. That's kind of like listing Steve Smith under punt returners.

by djcolts (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 4:39pm

I don't think Mathis is a Pro Bowler, but he should be a candidate if he keeps sacking QBs.

Mathis plays special teams, and is pretty good at them, but not good enough to be make the Pro Bowl as a special teams player.

by JonL (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 4:43pm

Pardon my ignorance, but who - or what - are T. Fisher and M. Turner?

by Dave (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 5:04pm

T. Fisher is Tony Fisher, the Packers' #3 running back (though with injuries to Green and Davenport and the Packers' habbit of rotating backs, he gets a fair amount of carries). M. Turner is Michael Turner, the Chargers' #2 back, who gets the ball because Brees can't hand it to LT on every down.

by Drew (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 5:07pm

Re #11

I also don't think Mathis is at a Pro Bowl level, although I did vote for him out of homerism. Being exclusively a situational pass rusher hurts a lot, but if he ends up with 16+ sacks, and if the Colts D continues to get media recognition, anything can happen.

Mathis reminds me a little of KGB. Did KGB ever made the Pro Bowl?

by marc (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 5:10pm

wow, I thought everybody knew this but I guess not...
Pro Bowl voting consists of equally weighted votes from fans, players, and coaches.
I don't have a clue where this "panel of experts" crap came from

by Carl (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 5:13pm

"Now that would be cool. When I was a kid and we were playing backyard football, if we had an odd number of people, one person would serve as quarterback for both teams. I’d like to see that in the Pro Bowl."

I see it every time Harrington plays, MDS. He throws to opposing DBs as often as he does to his own wideouts.

So, let's vote for him to go to the Pro Bowl.

Personally, I think writers, coaches and players should be the only ones voting.

Coaches and players because this is their world, and they should choose who amongst them is the most popular.

Writers because I'm an elitist who wants a ballot! Fairness? Who cares! I want to cancel out King's vote!

You know you want TO on that Pro Bowl roster. You NEED him on that roster.

Besides, I'm still steamed about last year when I was exiled from the local press corps for pushing for Clayton over Roethlisberger for rookie of the year.

Statistically, I didn't even think it was close.

by B (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 5:47pm

Re #9: The kicking game was a version of HORSE, although I seem to recall they used a different word.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 5:56pm

Re: the kickers' competition.

It was officially K-I-C-K, and last year's was a hoot. They were hitting all the normal shots, so they went totally nuts: 60 yards from the bench (Akers hit, Vinatieri missed), wrong-leg kick (Vinatieri hit, Akers missed), blindfolded (both missed, both got a letter).

Vinatieri won by one kick. *Much* more entertaining than the Pro Bowl itself.

The pass-catching contest was also pretty entertaining.

by Independent George (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 5:57pm

Or how about having the rookies playing a touch-football game on the beach?

by calig23 (not verified) :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 10:27pm

I think Bill Cowher should choose the players for the AFC team.

He's practically the permanent head coach for the team, anyways...

by admin :: Fri, 10/21/2005 - 10:33pm


by Bruce Dickinson (not verified) :: Sat, 10/22/2005 - 1:06am

Borderline sympathy for:
Dunta Robinson. He might spend the next five years being the only Texan selected to the pro-bowl. even if he's worthy of it (which he might be), it will feel like a mercy pick because his team sucks.

by Adam H (not verified) :: Sat, 10/22/2005 - 11:23am

RE 18 Hey for the record Akers was up by one kick, but as the competition was taking all day, he graciously proposed sudden death.

by MDZ (not verified) :: Sat, 10/22/2005 - 11:31am

Mathis is one of the best cover guys in the league. I don't have stats, but from watching the games it seems that he makes a lot of tackles on punts and kickoffs. His emergence in that area is a big reason for the Colts improved special teams difference.

by mike abott (not verified) :: Sat, 10/22/2005 - 4:56pm

I don't watch pro bowls I don't see any point to the game itself. The designation is important, if pro-bowl players aren't always the best they are almost always very good, and they get an advantage in contract negotiations which has a complex team effect in the cap era.

I watch every New England pre-season and regular game (local american TV mostly comes from Maine).
I watch every other interesting match up I can get in the regular season and every playoff game.

I am completely unqualified to judge pro bowl worthiness and so is everybody else.

I would suggest a system where voters only vote on the games they watched. The votes being weighted across the games they watched as averages. I am sure most of the people who post here and many of us lurkers can see countless variations on the main theme of only getting to rank players in the games you watched.
Mine would be to have all the players rate thier opponents (on the other side of the ball) after each game.
They would have both film and personal experience, they would have incentive to respect the process, they could be strength adjusted so that the guy who always gives 10 has the same effect as the guy who always gives 0.

Another group would be personnel people if they are actually studying a large cross section of results.

by luz (not verified) :: Sat, 10/22/2005 - 6:22pm

i don't think the writers or the players are any more qualified then the fans. players only watch film on the teams they play that year. writers i don't think are much better. the local guys will mostly know the games of the teams they covered. i think both players and writers are subject to group think and hype.

personally, i think coaches and scouts should make the call. these guys spend tons of time watching and evaluating players in the NFL, top to bottom. in my opinion they're the people that actually know what the hell they're talking about.

by mike abbott (not verified) :: Sun, 10/23/2005 - 12:28am

No matter what else, I think we mostly agree that we need a system where the results are more worthy of respect.

by marc (not verified) :: Sun, 10/23/2005 - 7:32am

the only change worth making to the probowl voting would be to remove the fan vote completely. Every other suggestion in this thread is pure garbage.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Sun, 10/23/2005 - 12:04pm

the only change worth making to the probowl voting would be to remove the fan vote completely.

Good plan -- ignore the wishes of the bulk of fans, to make a particular subset of fans happy.

This is why Tagliabue is commissioner, and we're posting witty comments to somebody else's article on the internet.

by Zac (not verified) :: Sun, 10/23/2005 - 2:28pm

The fan voting sucks. Mike Alstott and his 6 Pro Bowl appearances prove that.

by MDZ (not verified) :: Sun, 10/23/2005 - 4:35pm

Whoops, maybe I jinxed the Colts coverage with the Mathis comment before.

by Adam (not verified) :: Mon, 10/24/2005 - 10:55am

Let's start from the end of this -- we don't care what happens in the game; we only care who gets selected, and it's a matter of respect and a free trip to Hawaii.

Why not just have fans vote on QB/RB/WR/TE, and maybe a generic "best defensive players" vote, and leave the details to people who know what they're talking about?

by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Mon, 10/24/2005 - 7:05pm

#31 - I don't know, looks like Mathis played pretty well when the Colts' coverage unit was on the field . . .

I'm guessing Houston's kick return DPAR will go up a little next time the stats are updated.

by James (not verified) :: Tue, 10/25/2005 - 12:00pm

Fans vote in the pro-bowl because that's who pays(advertising $$ from t.v and attendance$$$) to see the game.

In a perfect world there would be no pro-bowl team. Football is not a game to be played for the hell of it. Too much risk, not enough intensity allowed.

However, maybe a hall of fame like induction ceremony would be more appropriate. This year's Team of 05' inductees are...... It would still be a football showcase, maybe even a better one. Imagine all the debates that kind of system would cause.

Would go a long way on some Hall of Fame debates in the future as well. You might hear an argument that Cadillac Williams has great career numbers but never made one team of the year.