A closer look at the All-Pro vote

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We noted earlier today that the Associated Press has declined to release the full list of 50 members of the media who vote on the NFL’s All-Pro team. But we have been able to identify some of the voters behind some of the more surprising votes.

The oddest choice on the entire AP All-Pro team may have been listing Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch as a fullback, rather than a running back. The one voter who put Lynch at fullback was Boomer Esiason, the former NFL quarterback who now works as a TV and radio commentator.

Another former NFL quarterback, Troy Aikman, stood out with another odd vote: Aikman was the only one of the 50 voters who didn’t place a punter on his All-Pro team. We’ve been told Aikman “preferred not to vote for a punter.”

And in yet another sign that great former players don’t alway make for great All-Pro voters, we have James Lofton’s vote at guard. Lofton, the Hall of Fame wide receiver who’s now a broadcaster, voted for Seattle’s James Carpenter as an All-Pro guard. Carpenter is just not a good guard and that vote is hard to understand.

Evan Mathis of the Eagles is a good guard, but it was surprising to see that he got two All-Pro votes even though he spent half the season on short-term injured reserve. No matter how good Mathis was on the 50 percent of the Eagles’ offensive snaps that he played, did he really deserve to be chosen ahead of guards like Marshall Yanda of Baltimore and Zack Martin of Dallas, both of whom also played at a very high level while playing 99 percent of their teams’ offensive snaps? Hub Arkush and Nick Pavlatos thought so, because they were the media members who voted for Mathis.

Green Bay’s Clay Matthews got five votes as an All-Pro outside linebacker, which was not surprising. But it was surprising that Matthews also got one vote as an All-Pro inside linebacker. Matthews did get some playing time at inside linebacker, but according to Pro Football Focus, Matthews played more on the outside than on the inside in all 16 games this year, and overall Matthews played 84 percent of his snaps at outside linebacker. It’s hard to see how a player who spends so little time on the inside can get an All-Pro vote over linebackers who play on the inside full-time, but John Czarnecki voted for Matthews at inside linebacker.

Another voter who cast an outside-the-box vote was Dan Pompei, the one voter who kept Antonio Brown from being a unanimous selection at wide receiver. Pompei voted for Dez Bryant and Jordy Nelson, both of whom had very good seasons as well, at wide receiver.

For NFL players, there’s no higher honor at the end of the season than to be named the best player at your position in the league, and for the most part the players on the All-Pro team are the best players at their positions. But it’s disappointing, when going through the vote counts, to get the feeling that some voters don’t take the job of All-Pro voter seriously enough to do the necessary homework to really learn which players are deserving. The AP could stand to overhaul its list of voters, which would give the league a better list of All-Pros.

86 responses to “A closer look at the All-Pro vote

  1. Well, I understand Aikman. I don’t think most of these voters would be able to tell the difference between some of the best punters on each league. That is complex.

  2. This reads to me like media carping. Each voter should be able to use whatever factors/values/weighting formula her or she chooses without being chastised by media “experts” like MDS who automatically assume that their evaluation is superior to that of some guys who have actually played the game. Votes that fall outside the mainstream of opinion should not be subjected to scrutiny and disagreement just because the scrutinizer (if that’s a word) sees it differently, and calls for the replacement of the offending voters is just media hubris. A few out-of-the-box votes don’t affect any outcomes as the majority opinion will always prevail.

  3. Whoa big fella! Careful talking badly about a Seahawks player, you’re now setting this up to be flooded by Seahawks fans talking about how all 53 of the players on their roster are the 53 best at their positions in the NFL and likely to end as the 53 greatest players of all time. Then they’ll tell you how those players were skilled but their previous coaches got nothing out of them until Pete Carroll personally made each of them into the greatest player of all time at their position.

  4. The way Marshawn runs and hits, he basically is his own fullback so there is some logic to that vote.

  5. How are Aikman, Lofton, and Esiason even given votes? These votes should be held by nationwide and beat reporters whose primary assignment is to cover the NFL and the teams.

    It is obvious that the vote is not being taken seriously by the voters… A guide for player eligibility at positions might also help mentally challenged voters like Boomer.

  6. atwatercrushesokoye says:
    Jan 2, 2015 7:41 PM

    Whoa big fella! Careful talking badly about a Seahawks player, you’re now setting this up to be flooded by Seahawks fans talking about how all 53 of the players on their roster are the 53 best at their positions in the NFL and likely to end as the 53 greatest players of all time. Then they’ll tell you how those players were skilled but their previous coaches got nothing out of them until Pete Carroll personally made each of them into the greatest player of all time at their position.

    __________________________________

    That SB still stings doesn’t it.

  7. atwatercrushesokoye says:
    Jan 2, 2015 7:41 PM

    Whoa big fella! Careful talking badly about a Seahawks player, you’re now setting this up to be flooded by Seahawks fans talking about how all 53 of the players on their roster are the 53 best at their positions in the NFL and likely to end as the 53 greatest players of all time. Then they’ll tell you how those players were skilled but their previous coaches got nothing out of them until Pete Carroll personally made each of them into the greatest player of all time at their position.
    ————
    I’ve been living in Colorado for the past 14 years. You’ve just basically described a majority of Bronco fans.

  8. What, no uproar for the Browns Joel Bitonio at guard? He was rated the 2nd best guard by Profootballfocus as a rookie.

  9. Whoa, beware the Seahawk fan blow-back about to come your way for not submitting that all 22 starters are all-pro and they all got snubbed and Seattle is the greatest franchise ever (since 2012) and the fans are the most loyal and best fanbase ever (since 2012).

  10. Seems to be a lot like the Hall of Fame vote where subjective opinions carry far too much weight. However, I doubt there is a way to fix it.

    Some will always argue that former players should have a vote even though a number of them are severely lacking in the good judgment category. On the other hand, beat writers can be irrationally territorial about teams they grew up rooting for. As for the national media scene, these people are often elevated beat writers and/or more former players.

    And then we come to turning it into a popular vote by the fans, but the sham that is the Pro Bowl voting shows how little success this idea would have.

  11. As much as I love bryant, brown season was out of control this year. But if you are making a team and U had to pick between brown and bryant I would laugh in feeling bad for those who would pick Brown over Bryant.

  12. it’s time to do something different ,Don’t let former players vote. they had to many concussions .

  13. As a Seahawks fan, the closest Carpenter should be to the AP team is reading who’s on it.

    As for Lynch at fullback, one possible explanation that I read was that Esiason may have preferred to vote Murray, Bell, and Lynch to the team, while thinking that no fullback should be voted on ahead of any one of those 3.

  14. This is the same AP that did a re-vote due to Brian Cushing’s PED scandal for defensive rookie of the year. yet it overwhelmingly still named him Def ROY!

    They’re dumb to begin with and if they don’t follow rules or need common sense requirements to be written explicitly they definitely should lose their votes.

  15. The only time I paid attention to who made All Pro was when I collected Topps football cards in the 70’s and All Pro was printed on the picture of a player who was one.

  16. At least the guy who voted for Nelson and Bryant (both elite WRs in their own right) isn’t egregious enough to land him in the looney bin like some of the others.

    We have this issue every year. The year that Calvin Johnson nearly got to 2,000 yards he only got 49 votes because Tim Ryan thought AJ Green and Brandon Marshall had better seasons.

  17. The guy who didn’t vote for brown said he didn’t base it on stats but who was harder to cover. And that it was also a coin flip. Good grief I hope he doesn’t vote for the HOF the same way. He should be embarrassed to admit that.

  18. As for Lynch at fullback, one possible explanation that I read was that Esiason may have preferred to vote Murray, Bell, and Lynch to the team, while thinking that no fullback should be voted on ahead of any one of those 3.
    ——————————————————–
    If this is the case then Esiason should have his voting privileges revoked. The position is fullback and only allow votes for fullbacks should be allowed. It does not matter if the best fullback is not as good as the third best tailback. This like voting for the second best QB as another position (maybe fullback as well after all they are both backs) because he might be the second best player in the league just so he can be on the first team. Stupid.

  19. James Lofton shouldn’t be allowed to vote never again, Its obvious he picked randomly Carpenter at G.
    I agree with Boomer, he might think no FB Should be in the all pro team, who can blame him.

  20. I love to read Denver and 49er fans whine over things that Seahawk fans agree with. Carpenter as a All-Pro, maybe in the most overweight group vote. See, we can be nasty, too.

    And, no, we don’t think that all 22 of our starters should be all-pro, but the one person on the team that doesn’t get any recognition in any voting who should be winning awards in Pete Carroll. He is the best coach, right now, in the NFL.

    js

  21. None of these arbitrary postseason awards results matter…

    Until you start talking about the Hall of Fame. Then these “throwaway” votes can impact a player’s legacy.

  22. Carpenter not a good guard? Seattle has the best rushing attack in the league by a wide margin, and you don’t think he has anything to do with that? I’m not gonna pretend like I’m an expert on OL play but even Cris Collinsworth was singling out Carpenter’s play in primetime broadcasts

  23. Andrew Luck and Tom Brady getting all pro votes is a joke too. They had good seasons but the 3 best qbs this year were Rodgers, Romo and Roethlisberger. At least Rodgers rightly was on the first team.

    Since all pro selections affect hall of fame consideration, the pool of voters needs to be reexamined. These guys are clueless.

  24. Nelson & Bryant receiving more votes than Demaryius Thomas, who had a better season than both, is a joke.

  25. On the Matthews thing, I kinda get it. Teams use different players in different ways on DL and LB. Does he play in a 3-4 v 4-3, is a weak side ILB in a 3-4 different from a will in a 4-3, etc. I can see someone saying ‘I’m not gonna try to figure out a guy’s role is, I’m just voting for the best 4 LBs and the best 4 DLs’. Let them sort it out when the votes are tallied.

  26. No way to really fix it unless they form an All-Pro committee that studies all games to determine the team. Most voters are probably voting on stats or reputation.

  27. @atwatercrushesokoye

    (Seahawks fans, 53 best players ever, etc)

    Next, all those “Seahawks Fans” will tell you how they’ve loved the Seahawks forever, even BEFORE last year!!!

  28. hyprcaffeinated says:
    Jan 2, 2015 8:51 PM
    Aikman having a vote explains how so many Cowboys made the team. Biased in the broadcasting booth. Biased as an All-Pro team voter.

    Typical hater of the Buck/Aikman team. Those guys do a phenomenal job and that is why they get Fox’s number one game each week. The last thing Aikman is is a biased color guy. The Cowboys being a 12-4 team is why their guys made all-pro

  29. If AP played this year he would have ran long hair Clay over on every play. Clay didn’t do anything great, all he can do is show his long hair and played like a girl.

  30. Harrison Smith got shafted, and it’s an easy case to make. This whole year late on both ends of coming and going really shouldn’t be “just the way it is.”

  31. Carpenter was a first rounder that virtually no one liked, Seahawk fan or otherwise. His rookie season came after the lockout when he had been advised not to work out as agents were concerned injuries would not be covered by teams. As a result he came to camp over weight, out of shape, and not at all ready to play. Couple that with a major knee injury that same season and the kid has been fighting the current ever since. It’s virtually impossible to find a ‘hawk fan that likes him.

    That said, he has worked very hard to improve. He can be excellent at times in run blocking. I mean road grader good. He struggles at pass protect, even inside at guard. Teams often change up their front just to stretch him out. Penalties are the thing most complained about this year, especially pre-snaps. All that said he is not a bad guard.

    All pro though? Not even close, not even a pro bowler. More like above average run blocker, below average pass blocker.

  32. I vote for Randall McDaniel (is he still playing?), John Kuhn, Johnny Manziel, Jonathan Vilma, Dashon Goldson, Taylor Mays, Trent Richardson, Derrius Heyward-Bey, Jadeveon Clowney, and the entire Seahawks team.

  33. does anyone really believe antonio brown is the first or second best receiver in the NFL? hes a good player, but when it comes down to it there are a solid 6-7 players who are straight up better and harder to cover then antonio brown despite what the statistics say

    and passing yards for QBs and receivers are not a very indicator of success

  34. supersuckers3 says:
    Jan 2, 2015 9:59 PM
    hyprcaffeinated says:
    Jan 2, 2015 8:51 PM
    Aikman having a vote explains how so many Cowboys made the team. Biased in the broadcasting booth. Biased as an All-Pro team voter.

    Typical hater of the Buck/Aikman team. Those guys do a phenomenal job and that is why they get Fox’s number one game each week. The last thing Aikman is is a biased color guy. The Cowboys being a 12-4 team is why their guys made all-pro
    ——–
    Aikman has no business being in the booth, he’s the worst out there. Brady Quin in his first outing was far better then the bumbling bafoon Aikman.

  35. This is why I don’t usually spend two seconds worrying or wondering about All Pro teams or Hall of Fame voting. Do you pick the best player, the guy with the best stats, the guys from winning teams, or the guys that get the most hype? The people that are most qualified to judge the best players are the people who are the closest to the players when they are performing, and those people are the referees. That might not be popular, but they’re the ones that know who the best players are.

  36. CM3 shouldn’t have received any votes at all. He’s nothing more then a pass rusher that is a complete liability in the run game. Change his last name and no one knows who he is.

  37. I was listening to a local Pittsburgh radio show and they were actually laughing about the notion of Pouncey being voted as the All Pro Center. Are these voters on crack?

    Aaron Hernandez supports this vote

  38. Pro Bowl / All Pro — Does anyone really care other than the players because they might have that incentive in their contracts?

    I know I don’t care. They’re both just popularity contests anyway.

    The thing which makes me laugh is people criticizing the guys who vote. Like Boomer Esiason, for instance.
    Compared to Terry Bradshaw, Esiason seems like a Rhodes Scholar.

    And some of the same people who criticize how these writers voted, voted for O’Bama and the nitwits in Congress. Now there’s a bunch of wasted votes if ever there were some!

    If I had my way, there would never be any Awards Shows on tv ever again. Talk about a waste of time.

  39. Hey Broncos fan, I love how you are pissed that the Seahawks embarrassed you of late. Now you try calling out the 12th Man as “bandwagon fans”. Denver’s fan base, made up mostly of annoying individuals that never followed that ugly orange jersey’d team until Elway started winning Super Bowls, otherwise, teams like the Buffalo Bills had more fans. I bring this up because recent and current winners (Seahawks) get the new NFL fans to pick the winners. You got you arases beat to a pulp w/ the world watching and you are pissed, don’t hold a grudge against the Seahawks, you should hold a grudge that the media and local Denver fan base thinks you can win a meaningful game.

    As a Seahawks fan, I love being hated, that means we are relevant. I actually don’t hate the Broncos anymore, they are not a threat. Raiders will win another SB before you do again.

  40. So I must have missed the memo… instead of demonstrating our jealousy of the Seahawks by making Adderall references, we’re mocking their fanbase? The loudest fans and the home of the (current) best home-field advantage in the NFL? Yeah… good plan……

  41. I would love to see Ray Guy punt Troy Aikman in the testicles, during a bar fight, about the value of Punters and field position.

  42. hyprcaffeinated says:
    Jan 2, 2015 8:51 PM

    Aikman having a vote explains how so many Cowboys made the team. Biased in the broadcasting booth. Biased as an All-Pro team voter.
    ———————————————————————
    Ever since Aikman has been the color guy for Fox he has went out of his way to be critical of the Cowboys, and for a long time with good reason.

  43. Get over it..

    Pro Bowl/All-Pro means squat.

    Same difference as if you Browns fan, you voted for Gordon.

    Orrrr…. Youre a Pats fan and voted for LaFell.

    Anytime the media is involved, we fans disapprove anyways. Let them have their fun.

  44. I’m not trolling because I couldn’t care less about the boring NFC North, but am I the only one who thinks that Clay Matthews is the most overrated player in the NFL? The packers have a horrible defense each and every year yet somehow this Peyton Manning Jr sellout is a pro bowl/all pro player every year.

  45. Here’s an easy way to tell whose fan base is ‘better’ then the next. I’ve gone to every Seahawk game in San Francisco for the past 10 years or so and I travel North to see the Hawks since the C-Link opened.

    Haters are you Ready?… their are FAR more Seahawk fans at Candlestick every game that I’ve been at, then ever are or could ever be at the C-Link. Thousands more…

    Been a Seahawk fan since the year they started, but we accept newbies as fans, too. We’re not stuck-up like so many of you seem to be. Fans come in all types. The train, like last year, is moving on, with you or without.

    Just bow down to the best fans and get over it.

  46. Again — who cares about this All Pro voting? I could not care less. The only people it matters to are the players because of incentive clauses they might have in their contracts, and the fact that making this list helps beef up their credentials and equates to more money.

    The fact is, the teams who win and are featured on prime time tv games more have an advantage in getting guys elected to being a Pro Bowl or All Pro player.

    Heck, John Madden used to pick anonymous players who were good that he’d rave about so much on one telecast, that by the end of that game they’d be a Hall Of Fame player to many writers.

    I remember one Monday Night game when he raved about an “O” lineman and they replayed several blocks and pulls he made during the game that he loved.
    The following weekend I was listening to a NY writer being interviewed on the radio and he was asked if any unheralded player in the NFL had jumped out at him. His answer was the guy Madden had singled out, and the writer said virtually all the stuff Madden had said about him during that Monday Night telecast.
    It hit me how much influence Madden had over those guys.

  47. The only time I paid attention to who made All Pro

    You make a good point.

    Average guy like me, watching the game for years, I’ve never paid it any attention.

    This is kind of like the media creating its own news, which happens all the time.

    Aikman should have had to do his own punting for a season and perhaps he would appreciate the value of the position.

  48. Ever since Aikman has been the color guy for Fox he has went out of his way to be critical of the Cowboy

    Easy enough to do since he seems to broadcast every one of their damn games.

    George Stephanopoulos doesn’t see any conflict of interest though.

  49. Having the “media” vote is nothing more than a sham, just like most of their “stories”. Let the players & coaches do the voting, they’re a lot more informed of what’s really going on!!

  50. 1point21jjwatts says:
    Jan 3, 2015 4:05 AM
    I’m not trolling because I couldn’t care less about the boring NFC North, but am I the only one who thinks that Clay Matthews is the most overrated player in the NFL? The packers have a horrible defense each and every year yet somehow this Peyton Manning Jr sellout is a pro bowl/all pro player every year.
    ——————————————————————
    Yes you are the only one. If you watched Packers games you wouldn’t say he’s overrated or that Green Bay has a horrible defense.

    Since the bye when Matthews started playing two positions, the Packers have had a top ten over all defense, allowed less than 87 yds rushing/gm (3.6yd/att) to go along with a top 10 pass defense.

    But keep believing that.

  51. These days I don’t think the players give a crap about being an All-Pro. Some(Lynch) won’t even talk to the media. The days of being an All-Pro or Pro Bowl player actually mattered when the players made squat and they would get bonuses for being named to the All-Pro or Pro Bowl team. Now guys don’t even want the free vacation to Hawaii. And I’m talking about back in the 70’s and 80’s when the guys made nothing, not the 40’s or 50’s.

  52. atwatercrushesokoye says:
    Jan 2, 2015 7:41 PM

    Whoa big fella! Careful talking badly about a Seahawks player, you’re now setting this up to be flooded by Seahawks fans talking about how all 53 of the players on their roster are the 53 best at their positions in the NFL and likely to end as the 53 greatest players of all time. Then they’ll tell you how those players were skilled but their previous coaches got nothing out of them until Pete Carroll personally made each of them into the greatest player of all time at their position.

    ———————-

    Most of them would start for Denver…..

    43-8

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