December 19, 2007

Popularity Bowl rosters

by Dan Bilicki In: Football

It’s that time of the year when the NFL announces the AFC and NFC rosters for their all-star game, the Pro Bowl. Now, in most sports, fan voting does not account for 100% of the selections for the all star games. In the NBA, MLB and even NHL, only the starting lineup is picked by the fans — often leading to players making the team by name and fan loyalty only. But not in the NFL, where the entire team is picked via fan voting. Sure a few reserves are picked by the league based on performance, but everyone else is there because the fans want them.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing? There will be snubs no matter how the team is assembled and fans usually do a reasonably well job, especially this year. Snub columns are dreadfully short and can only really argue for the likes of David Garrard, Fred Taylor and Derek Anderson. But those three are at positions that are nearly impossible to win at considering their opposition. How could Garrard and Anderson ever beat out Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. They were also defeated by Big Ben but he’s more deserving than them. Taylor’s having a great season and might be the best running back to never make the Pro Bowl. He was beaten out my LDT, Joseph Addai and Willie Parker. I would pick any of those three over Taylor in a heartbeat.

Will the NFC play with ten players on defence for the first snap? The slain Sean Taylor was voted to the NFC team to start at free safety. One can only wonder when he received the majority of his votes. He was a really good player so far this season, but would fans click on his name more after learning the tragic details of his murder? Either way, I think it was a nice touch for the league not to have taken him off the ballot completely — which I’m sure there would’ve been debate over.

God’s Team, the Cowboys led all teams with 11 players named to the squad including seven starters and four backups not to mention a few reserves including Roy Williams, who will most likely get a call to take Sean Taylor’s place. It’s no surprise to see that many Dallas players on the team considering how well they’ve played this season, as well as the relatively weak competition of the NFC.

In the AFC, I’m actually surprised to see eight Chargers on the team which ties New England for the most selections from an AFC. The Chargers haven’t been living up to their quoted potential this season and I suspect that this may be due to fans voting for names they know instead of selecting the top performers.

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