I swore to myself that I wasn’t going to care anymore. I told myself over and over that it doesn’t matter. But, once again, the Pro Bowl has managed to find a way to really piss me off.
But why? Why do I care so much about a game that nobody cares about? Last year’s Pro Bowl garnered the game’s lowest rating in over 10 years. Nobody cares about this game. Yet it’s used as some sort of measuring stick to determine if a player is good or not?
When the term “popularity contest” was invented, they were talking about the Pro Bowl. The best example of this is when you see what teams always seem to have the most representatives at the all-star game. The Patriots, Packers, Steelers, Seahawks, Cowboys and Larry Fitzgerald. All teams that consistently win and Larry Fitzgerald.
This game is not about picking players that are actually having great years. How could it be? I can’t fully blame the voter here. If you’re a fan that watches your team, slightly pays attention to the rest of the division and watches ESPN or NFL Network to get the rest of your info, all you’ll ever see is highlights of the name brand players. Who else are you gonna vote for?
If you’re a coach or a player and you didn’t play a certain team, who are you going to vote for? Players you know and players you’ve played against. It’s a broken system that’s never going to change.
It’s like the MTV Movie awards. These movies are in no way, shape, or form the best in any category. They’re just the movies that have been shoved in their demographics’ face the most. The Pro Bowl is the MTV Movie Awards of football.
I know I said earlier that it doesn’t matter, but it does. To so many it does. As I mentioned before, this is how fans know a player is good. This is how fans pick in their fantasy league. This is what establishes a player’s arrival.
What this actually does is wrongfully determine who is a good player and furthers idiotic narratives like quarterback wins. These narratives affect everyone. As a writer or simply just a fan of a team, it gets pretty damn annoying trying to explain that Matthew Stafford is a once-in-a-lifetime talent when some dummy on the internet is telling me he’s only been to one Pro Bowl.
It kind of makes you wonder if and when statistics will ever matter to the world again?
Let’s go further on this Stafford thing, shall we? Here are the six quarterbacks that were named to the 2018 Pro Bowl and their stats compared to Stafford’s.
Matthew Stafford vs. the 2018 Pro Bowl QBs
As you can see, Matthew Stafford is as good as the best and better than the rest as far as statistics go. Then again, that’s all that matters. Quarterback wins is a stupid thing to say if you’re reading this piece and thinking “but these guys know how to beat 53 other guys by themselves.”
Why does Matthew Stafford not get in? It’s all real simple. He plays for the Detroit Lions. You know, the 0-16 Detroit Lions. The team that’s never won a Super Bowl. The team that hosts a nationally televised game and proceeds to get their team and their city dumped on by announcers for four hours, even though they win the game.
What about the guys that don’t deserve to be there but are because they’re hot or their team’s hot. I’m talking about legends of the past like the group that The Sportster assembled last year. We’re talking about Matt Cassel, Braylon Edwards and Derek Anderson to name few.
Why are football fans trusted to do anything? We’re the same people that put Peyton Hillis on the cover of Madden. We should have lost all our voting privileges that very day.
This isn’t just about the Lions. I can understand there are better options than Golden Tate and Marvin Jones Jr. I get that. I don’t get the absence of Matthew Stafford and Matt Prater and I never will.
As far as non Lions, how do guys like Harrison Smith not make the Pro Bowl every year? I know that I constantly claim that Glover Quin is the best safety in the league, and I often believe it to be true, but Smith is a clear 1B that should have made the squad over Earl Thomas any day of the week. Speaking of Quin, here’s another reason to get upset.
It matters to the players
This isn’t just a free trip to Orlando. There’s money to be made involved. For example, Darius slay is getting an extra $550,000 for making the Pro Bowl. That’s a lot of extra lettuce that could have gone by the wayside had voters decided Slay didn’t meet their criteria for a what a good player is.
Speaking of Glover Quin, he had some things to say about the Pro Bowl in an interview with Justin Rogers of The Detroit News.
“I told you guys this a couple years ago, if don’t lead the league in interceptions, I don’t make the Pro Bowl,” Quin said. “It really doesn’t matter how good I played. I (forced) more turnovers than any safety in the NFC. I don’t know if I even gave up a touchdown this year. I don’t know. It is what it is, man.”
Quin went on to say that he thinks the method of voting should change and perhaps be based upon nominations. And those nominations should only be players that truly had Pro Bowl worthy seasons. I think it’s a pretty good approach, but to add my own thoughts to that, you’d have to move voting closer to the end of the season to allow for injuries and potential breakout players that come on hot in the second half of the season.
Two bright sides
Matthew Stafford might wind up playing in the Pro Bowl after all. Stafford is a second alternate. Carson Wentz is clearly not going to play in this game after he tore his ACL a few weeks ago. Drew Brees, Russell Wilson or first-alternate Jared Goff might be in the Super Bowl. Thus Stafford has a chance to slide in for the second time in his career.
Although Matthew may really not care and decide to not play like he did last year, either due to injury or otherwise.
The second bright side is the All-Pro team. Stafford is still a long shot for the honors, but at least the All-Pro team is selected by professionals of the Associated Press. If you look back on past Pro Bowl rosters and All-Pro rosters you’ll see a drastic contrast.
Again, it’s probably a long shot for Stafford. The AP selects just two quarterbacks. One of them will obviously be Tom Brady. If they focus on the stats instead of the hoopla, they may pick Stafford to be the other, but it’s still highly unlikely. Darius Slay is the only player on the Lions that should be an absolute shoo-in. Him and Matt Prater, I mean.
Basically the theme of my rant is this: The Pro Bowl should not distinguish the validity of a player any longer. It’s a game that nobody cares to watch and the score doesn’t matter. It’s also a game nobody plays in. Brandon Marshall once scored four touchdowns in a Pro Bowl game.
All I ask is that you consider statistics again. Maybe that’s what this rant is about. It’s about making stats matter again. Let’s stop thinking players are great because we’re told they are, or because they have high fantasy value. Make The Stats Matter Again. That’s my slogan for my Presidential run in 2020. See you there.