The Detroit Lions were already shut out of the Pro Bowl earlier in the season, with only Matthew Stafford, Darius Slay, Sam Martin and Matt Prater being named as alternatives.
However, many—including Darius Slay—dismiss the Pro Bowl as a popularity contest. AP’s All-Pro teams tend to carry more weight towards true accomplishments. However, the Lions were shut out again, as not a single Lions player made the organization’s first or second team.
The AP All-Pro teams are decided by a group of 50 sportswriters and broadcasters who regularly cover the NFL. You can find the entire list of their 2016 selections here.
The Lions weren’t only shut out from making the final teams, but they hardly even received any votes at all:
Lions are in the playoffs despite getting a grand total of two All-Pro votes. Cornerback Darius Slay got one, Punter Sam Martin got one.— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) January 6, 2017
The omission of punter Sam Martin seems like the most egregious error from the team of writers. Martin had the third highest net punting average in NFL history this year. Rams punter Johnny Hekker, who set the net punting average record this year, deservedly got in above Martin, but Raiders punter Marquette King really has no place on the second team. Though King just barely edged out martin in punting average (48.6 vs. 48.5), Martin’s net was much higher (44.2 vs. 41.4) and he had fewer touchbacks (three vs. nine). Of course, King had a higher profile with some of his on-field antics, and that may have been enough to draw the extra attention to himself.
In the end, though, it’s hard to argue against most of these selections. While guys like Matthew Stafford and Darius Slay had great years, it’s hard to argue that they were better than their All-Pro counterparts. The Lions still have a lot to be proud of for their 2016 season. Chief among them is the fact that they’re still currently playing football.