Every year when the Pro Bowl rosters come out, we see past-their-prime players with recognizable names chosen, while less famous players who have had much better seasons are snubbed. So at this point it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Still, it was rather surprising to see a couple of blatantly bad picks on this year’s Pro Bowl rosters.
The worst pick of all is Packers center Jeff Saturday, who has had such a bad season that he got benched last week, being chosen as one of the NFC’s two centers. Vikings center John Sullivan would have been a much, much better choice. Sullivan had a particularly strong season on an offensive line that went totally unrecognized by the Pro Bowl selectors despite helping Adrian Peterson threaten the NFL record for rushing yards in a season. Falcons center Todd McClure has had a good season and also would have been a much better choice than Saturday. Frankly, most of the starting centers in the NFC could justifiably complain that they were snubbed, when their play is compared to that of Saturday.
The three NFC defensive ends (Jason Pierre-Paul of the Giants, Julius Peppers of the Bears and Jared Allen of the Vikings) were also chosen at least as much for their reputations as for what they actually accomplished on the field this year. I would have taken Arizona’s Calais Campbell over any of them. Campbell doesn’t put up huge sack numbers (he has 5.5 this season), but he’s better against the run than any of them, and the 6-foot-8 Campbell is as good as any defensive lineman not named J.J. Watt at getting his hands up and making it difficult for quarterbacks to pass over him. It’s largely gone unnoticed because their offense is so inept, but the Cardinals’ defense is good. And Campbell is as important a part of that defense as anyone. He deserved to go to the Pro Bowl.
And as we’ve previously touched on, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman deserved to go. It’s possible that some voters didn’t choose Sherman because of his pending PED suspension, but based on his play on the field, Sherman belongs: He’s clearly had a better season than Arizona’s Patrick Peterson and Chicago’s Tim Jennings, both of whom made it.
There are good players at other positions who didn’t make it, including Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, Redskins running back Alfred Morris and Buccaneers receiver Vincent Jackson, but in those cases it was more a matter of more players at those positions having Pro Bowl-caliber seasons than there were spots available on the Pro Bowl rosters. In the cases of Sullivan, Campbell and Sherman, they were clear Pro Bowl snubs.