Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

26 Jan 2010

ESPN: Pro Bowl Snubs and Mistakes

This ESPN.com Insider piece looks at five players who shouldn't have been on the original Pro Bowl rosters -- ignoring the injury replacements -- and five players who still have been snubbed, despite the fact that anybody who threw a pass in the AFC has been named to the team by this point. You'll have to read this to find out the reasons, but the players chosen were:

Snubs: Aubrayo Franklin, Ryan Grant, Tamba Hali, Leon Hall, Curtis Lofton
Mistakes: Jairus Byrd, Nate Kaeding, Bryant McKinnie, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, DeAngelo Williams

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 26 Jan 2010

21 comments, Last at 02 Feb 2010, 12:22am by Akonz


by C (not verified) :: Tue, 01/26/2010 - 1:07pm

I don't even have the list in front of me who made it, but I wouldn't take Grant over Deangelo Williams at RB and I watched almost every Packer game as I bet their futures.

- Mount Mckinne made it by name, he didn't have his best year.
- Nate Kaeting had a bad playoff game, but a good regular season, I don't know who you'd put ahead of him, I refuse to pay for the ESPN.
- Curtis Lofton has been very under the radar, Aubrey Franklin is a guy that everybody says is underrated ( and is good), so he seems like a legit choice.

Garrard and Knox making the pro bowl is stupid.

by Eddo :: Tue, 01/26/2010 - 1:30pm

Yeah, Knox wasn't even the best kick returner on the Bears.

by Anonymous Jones :: Tue, 01/26/2010 - 2:15pm

Bill's argument about Kaeding is that the FG efficiency could be somewhat attributable to luck but that the poor kickoff distance shows a lack of an important skill. This is a sound argument. The deeper underlying issue with respect to FG efficiency is do you select Pro Bowlers on results or on showing evidence of consistent skill.

Not that this resolves the issue in any way, but just as an example, we don't give the championship to the team with the best DVOA but to the team that scores more points than its opponents in each of its playoff games. Thus, results over skill, in some sense.

I have no problem with selecting Ks based on FG% even if it isn't a consistent skill. That said, I agree with Barnwell that both kickoff ability and kickoff results are underweighted by Pro Bowl selectors.

by Eddo :: Tue, 01/26/2010 - 2:42pm

Kickoff distance is arguably the most underrated aspect of football. Look no further than how the Saints kept Percy Harvin from being effective by kicking the ball deep into the end zone on kickoffs. Yet no mainstream analyst talks about it.

by C (not verified) :: Tue, 01/26/2010 - 4:03pm

I say results over skill.

Do you vote in the guy that played the best, or the guy that was injured that's normally better ( HELLO NBA ALL STARS). Do you vote for the career .280 batting average guy that's hitting out of his mind, or the better player in the slump? Kaeting had the good FG percentage, take him... You can't penalize a guy for lining up and making what was asked of him.

I agree KO is very underrated, nothing burned me up more than when the Giants had a kicker constantly kicking the ball off to the 5-18 yard line, and watching the returner pick up 20-25 yards to start out in good field position.

That's why I've always been a fan of the "kick off specialist" if he could pound the ball into the end zone or is signifigantly better than your FG kicker. Plus, these guys are traditionally good at attempting those end of half long distance FG's.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 01/28/2010 - 9:52am

Results over skill, sure, but Janikowski also had a great season on field goals, and was an outstanding kick-off man. Kaeding had a good year, but Janikowski's was better.

by iapetus (not verified) :: Wed, 01/27/2010 - 6:46am

Garrard being elected to the Pro Bowl would be stupid, sure. But given the number of people above him who dropped out, we're about half way down the list of AFC starting quarterbacks by the time we reach him. He's not going because anyone thinks he's amazing - he's going because by the voting he's seen as a mediocre QB, which seems pretty much spot on. Remember that the voting took place before the Jaguars' end-of-season slump, as well, when it looked like he was taking the team to the playoffs.

I'd argue the AFC QB roster was already getting ridiculous when Vince Young was going - Garrard doesn't make it any worse, just emphasises the point.

by Birdman (not verified) :: Wed, 01/27/2010 - 12:37pm

Re: McKinnie

I'd say that Hutchinson was a similar case. He didn't play that well this year. I'm not sure who I'd put in place of him, though.

by kev (not verified) :: Tue, 01/26/2010 - 1:46pm

Ya, I ain't paying to read this ad either. Besides its the probowl......yippee...i guess

by Bill (not verified) :: Tue, 01/26/2010 - 1:57pm

Who goes for the Bills if it isn't Jairus Byrd?

by Eddo :: Tue, 01/26/2010 - 2:08pm

Unlike baseball, there's no rule that says each team must have a representative. The answer to your question is "no one" (though I'm not commenting on Byrd's qualifications, just your "if").

by Kevin from Philly :: Tue, 01/26/2010 - 5:11pm

Of course, the biggest mistake was having it when noone from either Conference champion could attend.

by Led :: Tue, 01/26/2010 - 6:34pm

Shouldn't the snubs and mistakes match up by position? A guy only got "snubbed" if he's better than someone who made it. And a pick is only a "mistake" if there's somebody better that should've made it instead.

If this is explained in the article, just tell me I'm an idiot. I'm not a member.

by HostileGospel :: Tue, 01/26/2010 - 11:57pm

Not really. For instance, the article argues (as other people have) that Leon Hall deserved the spot that went to Champ Bailey. Champ may have been the 4th best CB in the AFC (the article suggests that possibility but doesn't commit to it), but Hall was third, and was hence snubbed even though Bailey's selection was not egregiously bad.

The argument on DeAngelo Williams is great- his stats (yards and carries) are almost exactly the same as his teammate Jonathan Stewart. I'd love to see a comparison of the Pro Bowl votes both of them received (total, not just the fan voting).

Overall, I'd be kind of embarrassed to critique something when I didn't know what the hell I was talking about, but then, oh yeah, my NAME is on what I write, isn't it?

-Les Bowen

by bubqr :: Wed, 01/27/2010 - 9:09am

Curtis Lofton over Vilma, Beason or London Fletcher ? He was that good ?

by Chinini (not verified) :: Wed, 01/27/2010 - 3:00pm

Lofton was the Falcons defence

by Tom Selleck (not verified) :: Wed, 01/27/2010 - 5:49pm

Yep. Especially considering the nobodies Atlanta played at nose tackle this season.

by Akonz (not verified) :: Tue, 02/02/2010 - 12:22am

I think they played some good teams this year. I mean they did have the 3rd hardest schedule coming into the 2009 season. They played the dolphins, jets, saints, cowboys, eagles, giants, patriots, and the panthers. To me those seem like at least ok teams. I mean the giants were in the playoff hunt til the end, the panthers went 8-8 with the hardest schedule in the league, and the jets and saints and cowboys and eagles and patriots made the playoffs.

by Newt (not verified) :: Wed, 01/27/2010 - 8:57pm

the falcons only allowed 1 100 yard rusher this year and ended up like 10th best run defense and with all their injuries Lofton was their D up the middle.

by morganja :: Thu, 01/28/2010 - 4:56pm

The Deangelo Williams 'Mistake' is idiotic. Not only was he 9nth in DYAR, he was 9nth saddled with a passing game that no one respected. The Panthers didn't hide that they were running. They dared teams to stop them, and they couldn't. Deangelo pretty much single handedly saved the season for the Panthers.

The argument that Stewart did the same thing so therefore they both must be over-rated simply doesn't follow minimum requirements for logic. They are both highly touted first round picks. They are both extremely good. That they might both deserve to be in the Pro Bowl does not logically follow with therefore they both shouldn't be in the Pro Bowl.

One might think that a person speaking for Football Outsiders would use their own ratings.Here are the running backs for the NFC and their DYAR:

Adrian Peterson: 12th
Steven Jackson: 6th
Frank Gore: 20th
Deangelo Williams: 9nth

Now who would one expect to be the mistake using Football Outsiders 'Advanced Metrics'?

But Bill Barnwell despises the Panthers for whatever reason so it's pretty silly to respond to his nonsense. If he was any kind of self-respecting professional he would avoid commenting on things for which he has a clearly demonstrated antipathy. It's simply wrong to imply, as he does in the article, that his personal, unsubstantiated opinion is backed up by Football Outsiders statistics when it's not.

The last time he commented on the Panthers it was solely to imply that Steve Smith was stupid. This is just another of his pot shots at a team he hates.

by Eddo :: Thu, 01/28/2010 - 6:07pm

Can't you argue in favor of Williams (and I tend to agree with you, actually) without throwing out personal attacks? Can't someone be critical of a Panthers player or two without having a vendetta?