Chiefs’ Anthony Sherman, Chris Jones show Pro Bowl positions are outdated

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Anthony Sherman is not a starter for the Chiefs. But he is a starter for the AFC Pro Bowl team. Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones is one of the best players in football this season. But he’s not a Pro Bowler.

Those two Chiefs represent a significant problem with the way the NFL assembles the Pro Bowl rosters: The positions used are outdated, and more in line with what football looked like in 1960 than what it looks like in 2018.

Let’s start with Sherman, who is the AFC’s starting fullback. The fullback position, once a staple of NFL offenses, is now so little-used that Sherman has played less than 10 percent of the Chiefs’ offensive snaps this season, even though he’s been healthy and available for all 14 games. There’s just no reason that there should be one starting fullback and two starting wide receivers, even though NFL teams use a third wide receiver far more often than they use a fullback. Designating three receivers as starters would make more sense.

If the NFL doesn’t want to take fullbacks out of the Pro Bowl running altogether, it would be wise to change the rosters to add a flex position where voters could choose to select a fullback, or a second tight end, or a third receiver. That’s what PFT said the Associated Press should do three years ago to update its All-Pro teams, and that’s what the AP then did.

But while Sherman didn’t belong on the Pro Bowl team, Jones did. Yet he didn’t make it, and that again shows a problem with the Pro Bowl rosters: Versatile defensive linemen who line up at both end and tackle, like Jones, are too easily overlooked. The Chiefs listed Jones as an end, where he was beaten out by J.J. Watt, Myles Garrett and Melvin Ingram, but he might have made it if he had been listed as an interior defensive lineman.

Again, however, the NFL might be better off allowing for more versatility in the Pro Bowl positions: Perhaps there should be at least two spots available for defensive ends, at least one for a defensive tackle, and then the other three defensive linemen could be either ends or tackles. A versatile player like Jones would have a better shot of making the roster in that scenario.

We can quibble about Pro Bowl “snubs” all day, and we can ask whether anyone even cares about the Pro Bowl enough for it to matter. But as long as the Pro Bowl still exists, the best players ought to get rewarded. And there’s something wrong with a system that leaves Anthony Sherman as a Pro Bowl starter, and Chris Jones off the team entirely.

42 responses to “Chiefs’ Anthony Sherman, Chris Jones show Pro Bowl positions are outdated

  1. It’s an honor to know that you are the best fullback out all 6 fullbacks that are on a roster in the NFL. Hats off to you Anthony Sherman!

  2. Oh stop….the media loves this stuff and the current system because they can talk about Snubs non-stop. It’s all a part of the NFL machine.

  3. You listed the main point in the last paragraph. The Pro Bowl still exists. Why? It’s a joke!

    Name the players, mail them an award and be done with it!

  4. At least Akiem Hicks made it for the Bears. No player over the last 2-3 seasons has been snubbed worse than this BEAST. He WRECKS games. Mack might get all the headlines, but this man is the Bears most IR-REPLACEABLE player.

  5. but most players wont end up going which makes at least 4 rosters of players able to put pro-bowler on their resume, despite not being the best at their position in the league. for example, wasnt tyrod taylor inthe pro bowl last year?

  6. I think they should be more generic about the position groups. Instead of breaking it up as OG, C, T let it just be Offensive lineman. Same for the defense and secondary. If you end up having to play Myles Garret as a DT, who cares. The pro bowl doesn’t matter anyway. It’s more important to show off the players that have impacted the most. If that means five safeties get in and only take corners or 3 WR’s and 4 TE’s, cool.

  7. Jones was robbed. He now holds the record for consecutive games with a sack and doesn’t make it. They also need to move it back to Hawaii.

  8. So aka blame the fans for not voting them?

    Nobody is blaming the fans. If you’ve ever voted for the Pro Bowl you understand what he’s saying. There are positions, with players listed. You vote for them under the position their team says they play. So you can’t vote for Chris Jones as a DT, or an “interior lineman” cause he’s listed a DE.

    Then you get a starter and 2 back ups I think. Nobody knows him as a DE so he doesn’t get in, if he was down a DL he would probably have gotten in. They need to just go to a system like the players use for the top 100. All players are just listed, you vote/rank them and then they tally up the votes. Highest people make the team. Positions like DLine should just be DLine, not DE, DT, NT etc. Linebackers should be just LB, not OLB or ILB, MLB. Same with DBs, no safeties or CBs. Just Defensive Backs. Sure you might end up with 4 safeties playing but whatever.

  9. Pro bowl votes should only come from players and coaches. Enough of the fan favorites already!!
    Players that play against players and coaches that coach players etc know who the real players that deserve the pro bowl. Stop taking fans votes into consideration all together. It is a flawed system and if the game is going to keep being played then it needs to be fixed and have the players that deserve it on the roster. Not the ones that fans like. I know fan voting is only a portion of the votes but has to be a big part of it. Us fans dont truly know who deserves it or not. Only players and coaches know that.

  10. Pro Bowl has been boring for years since no one wants to play and risk getting injured. Even the flag football game cost a guy (Robert Edwards) his career.

    Solution: have them play kickball in Tom Brady’s backyard in LA while being required to hold a beer in one hand at all times. That’s more watchable than the current pro bowl.

  11. As another exhibit, see Tarik Cohen. Does he belong in the Pro Bowl? Absolutely. Is he the best returner in the NFC? Really, no. But he wasn’t going to crack the RB field so that was the only way to get him in. And in the process, a return specialist who was likely better, got jobbed.

  12. How the hell did Anthony Sherman make the Pro Bowl??? He literally has ONE touchdown…. While James Develin of the Patriots has 4!!! Craziness… Most of the fans who vote for this haven’t got a clue!? Very unfortunate for the many other players that truly deserve to be rewarded and didn’t because of the fair weather fans out there who think the Chiefs, Rams, and Chargers are the only teams that play football apparently. And yet, they still didn’t vote for Chris Jones, shame Chiefs fans, shame. You vote in a useless fullback and snub your most talented and deserving D-Lineman.

  13. “Sherman has played less than 10 percent of the Chiefs’ snaps this season”

    And so has punter Brett Kern of the Titans. Or Special Teamer Adrian Phillips, who isn’t even the starting safety on the Chargers. Yet they’re Pro Bowlers just the same…

  14. Just because current regime is bastardizing the game of football…doesn’t mean we should eliminate the FB position from the Pro Bowl…most fans don’t even like Roger Goodell and the job he’s doing…and part of that hate for him is the constant rule changing that is slowly eradicating the FB position…don’t give in to Roger Goodell I say!!! Keep the FB position legitimate…

  15. bassplucker says: “As another exhibit, see Tarik Cohen. Does he belong in the Pro Bowl? Absolutely. Is he the best returner in the NFC? Really, no. But he wasn’t going to crack the RB field so that was the only way to get him in. And in the process, a return specialist who was likely better, got jobbed.”

    Um, he leads the NFL in punt return yards and has the best return average in the NFC…

  16. Just proof that the NFL is petty (no Malcolm Jenkins) and that selections are made on popularity and not merit. No Chris Jones is laughable, didn’t he set an nfl record for most consecutive games with a sack? That seems pretty consistent, bet if he played for Dallas, he’d be first team. Jared Goff? Yikes. Have you seen Goff recently? It ain’t pretty, that team is done for if it’s on his shoulders and not gurley. Aaron Rodgers? Laughable. I’m surprised yak prescott was left out of this popularity contest. Also shocked no vander eshe but the difference is, I think he deserves to be on that list. Kid is solid

  17. finzfan49 says: “Us fans dont truly know who deserves it or not. Only players and coaches know that.”

    Most players don’t follow the league like fans do. They only focus on the next team they’re facing.

    Your Dolphins didn’t face the Steelers or Browns this year, so would not have seen a single game of theirs. How can the players know if a Steeler was more deserving?

    Same with positional players. It’s not like your WRs studies or even watches opponent offenses, yet he’s supposed to vote for the o-linemen or RB?

    Lastly and most importantly, knowing players, they’ll vote for themselves and teammates. You’ll have 16 ties at every position.

  18. isithockeyseasonyet says: “Jared Goff? Yikes. Have you seen Goff recently?”

    Pro Bowl voting is based on the ENTIRE season’s work, not just the last three games or whatever arbitrary window you’re choosing. Goff was playing at a high level prior to that, especially when the voting started in mid-November.

  19. jjackwagon says: “You listed the main point in the last paragraph. The Pro Bowl still exists. Why? It’s a joke!”

    No one is FORCING you to watch. But 8.6 million people watched it last year and don’t need spoil sports like you to deny us something fun.

  20. I don’t care one whit about the Pro Bowl.
    I most definitely do not watch it.
    It’s the only “game” of the year where the “play-by-play announcing” and “color commentating” is worse than the MNF horror show.

  21. The fact that the game is played the week before the Super Bowl, thus eliminating ANY player from the 2 “best” teams should clue you in on how relevant this game is.

    As someone mentioned above – being named to the All-Pro team is considered an honor, named to the Pro Bowl, not so much.

  22. Have these not heard of James Develin?? Not many Patriots are having Pro Bowl seasons, but Develin is, and is in the Fullback spot a significant number of snaps.

  23. I agree with the author’s assertion of using something like a “flex” position. Football has become so situational now so why not have the Pro Bowl reflect that. Who says the number has to be capped at eleven? Why not add some spots for a third WR, a second TE and a FB. Same for pass-rushing DL or LBs. I wouldn’t go so far as adding a nickleback though.

  24. The pro bowl is just a popularity contest for who gets selected! None of them want to play in the game! It’s a joke!

  25. Chris Jones didn’t make the Pro Bowl with 14 sacks and 2 games to go?

    How hard is it for the NFL to not separate 3-4 and 4-3 defenses? There should be edge rusher, interior lineman and outside linebacker categories.

    One of the biggest jokes I have to see in awards was Khalil Mack winning 1st team All Pro af DE and Linebacker in one season! Sports writers actually pushed that “achievement” they voted for.

  26. Chris Jones left off the Pro Bowl team.

    Quality of officiating which is such a joke that it’s almost impossible to believe that the whole thing isn’t scripted.

    The NFL and Roger Goodell really couldn’t be more clueless, if you stop to think about it. This league somehow succeeds in spite of themselves.

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