Bears safety Eddie Jackson is out for the season with a foot injury and wouldn’t be able to participate even if he made the Pro Bowl, but Jackson isn’t happy about his snub — especially compared to Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt, who has missed more time than Jackson but still made the AFC Pro Bowl roster.
Jackson, who was leading all safeties in fan Pro Bowl voting before his season-ending injury two weeks ago, pointed out that he was immediately taken off the Pro Bowl ballot when he was placed on injured reserve. Watt, meanwhile, missed seven games but still made the Pro Bowl.
“How somebody miss 6 games but still make pro bowl I miss two games so far but taken off ballot,” Jackson wrote in a since-deleted tweet.
Jackson did not mention Watt by name and got the number of games that Watt missed wrong, but he appeared to be referring to Watt with his question. And Jackson makes a valid point: He played in 12 games this season before his injury. Watt will play, at most, 10 games this season, having missed seven of the Steelers’ 14 games so far this season.
It’s easy to see why Jackson is frustrated, and another reminder that Pro Bowl voting doesn’t make a lot of sense, and that many worthy players are snubbed while many unworthy players get in.
Still, while the traditional Pro Bowl game has been pushed aside for a flag football game and other events, the Pro Bowl does matter: It directly impacts players financially, as the Collective Bargaining Agreement ties increases in first-round draft picks’ fifth-year option salaries to Pro Bowl selections. And some players have Pro Bowl bonuses in their contracts.
So it would be nice if Pro Bowl selections better reflected how much players had actually contributed. In the case of Watt, who has only played half of the Steelers’ 14 games this year, it’s hard to justify him making it. And if Watt can make it after missing seven games, it doesn’t make a lot of sense that Jackson was taken off the ballot as soon as he went on injured reserve.