Pro Bowl Curiosities and the Big Question

 

Pro Bowl Corkscrew

Falcons fans certainly weren’t expecting large numbers of their favorite team to be named to the Pro Bowl, but to be completely shut out was pretty shocking to say the least. Tony Gonzalez and Curtis Lofton being shunned were two of the more intriguing decisions, with #88 being the absolute most surprising. All-Star balloting and voting for every sport is always a guessing game and will most certainly have some controversy about being a popularity contest, but the NFL’s all-star choices are either absolute undeniable picks or are playoff teams. Not to say that the best teams shouldn’t have the most players going, but 81% of the NFC’s roster is filled with players from playoff teams this year and most of them deserve it, but basing it on pure numbers and stats tells a different story. A look at some of the question marks in the NFC:

Tight End

Vernon Davis (In) – 72 Recs, 876 Yards, 12 TDs

Jason Witten (In) – 88 Recs, 954 Yards, 1 TD

Tony Gonzalez (Out) – 80 Recs, 837 Yards, 6 TDs

Brent Celek (Out) – 69 Recs, 875 Yards, 8 TDs

By the numbers, Davis would be an obvious lock with a whopping 12 TDs and a breakout year, but Witten is a pretty interesting pick. Davis had less yards then Witten, but he had twelve touchdowns. Witten did have the most receptions and the most yards in the NFC, but he had one touchdown….ONE. So the barometer for Vernon Davis getting in was OK for him to have less yards and MUCH less receptions, but the TDs put him in. Witten’s one TD was way overlooked with his receptions and yards. Brent Celek also has a case with same amount of yards as Davis and 8 times the touchdowns.

Middle Linebacker

Patrick Willis (In) – 147 Combined Tackles, 109 Solo, 4 Sacks, 10 PDef, 3 Ints

Jon Beason (Out) – 134 Combined Tackles, 105 Solo, 3 Sacks, 10 PDef, 3 Ints

London Fletcher (Out) – 134 Combined Tackles, 89 Solo, 2 Sacks, 7 PDef, 1 Int

Curtis Lofton (Out) – 129 Combined Tackles. 103 Solo, 0 Sacks, 0 PDef, 0 Int

Jonthan Vilma (In) – 110 Combined Tackles, 87 Solo, 2 Sacks, 11 PDef, 3 Int

Granted, Curtis Lofton’s stats alone don’t warrant a trip to the Pro-Bowl, but many players got the corkscrew on this one. Patrick Willis is the best MLB in the game and is beyond a doubt a lock for Miami. Jonathan Vilma’s stats are most inferior to Jon Beason of Carolina. Beason has higher stats in every category except 1 pass defense. Vilma ranks 7th in the NFC in tackles at his position and 16th in the NFL. This one is really hard to understand.

Wide Receiver

Miles Austin (In) – 74 Recs, 1,230 Yards, 11 TDs

Sidney Rice (In) – 77 Recs, 1,200 Yards, 6 TDs

Steve Smith (Out) – 97 Recs, 1,163 Yards, 7 TDs

DeSean Jackson (In) – 60 Recs, 1,120 Yards, 9 TDs

Roddy White (Out) – 79 Recs, 1,087 Yards, 10 TDs

Greg Jennings (Out) – 65 Recs, 1,084 Yards, 4 TDs

Larry Fitzgerald (In) – 94 Recs, 1,075 Yards, 12 TDs

Miles Austin obviously is a lock after a huge breakout year. Larry Fitzgerald is one of the best in the biz and his 12 TDs tops the NFC and Desean Jackson has been arguably the most electric player in the NFL and did miss a week. Sidney Rice was second in the NFC in yards, but only had 6 TDs compared to almost double digits by the others. Roddy White had almost 20 more receptions than Desean Jackson, more yards than Larry Fitzgerald, and almost double the TDs that Sidney Rice had. The picks are understandable to an extent, but Roddy White has a case.

Not to say that most all the players don’t deserve their ticket to Miami, but many other players on other teams got jobbed as well. The Bengals, for instance, won their division and are 10-5 and didn’t get one single Pro Bowl vote. The Falcons and the Bengals are the only two teams above .500 that didn’t get one selection. The other four teams that didn’t get a selection: Chiefs, Bucs, Seahawks, and Lions. Most fans may not want the NFL to mandate a selection from each team, but the parameters for the Pro Bowl selection should at least be made much more clear and fair.

Good video from NFL.com on the biggest Pro Bowl Snubs, first on their list……….yep, Tony Gonzalez.

Will the Falcons Break the Ridiculous “Curse”?

Long suffering and new Falcons fans alike all know what’s at stake on Sunday: the curse of never having back-to-back winning seasons in their franchise. The Birds couldn’t have made their fans any more anxious by having to wait until the very last game to do so. Even though the current players, coaches, and staff don’t have any ties to the “curse”, they do know how important it is to many fans. (Check out DOL’s new pre-game post)Normally, this game wouldn’t have seemed so large back when the Bucs were winless in the beginning of the season, but after having great play from many rookies, beating the NFC’s #1 seed at home, and beating the Falcons for 59 minutes and 30 some odd seconds in round one in the Georgia Dome, this one is a really nerve-racking game for many fans. One of the biggest non-playoff games the Falcons have played in a long, long time.

GO FALCONS AND BREAK THAT STUPID CURSE!!!!!!!!!!

 

By the way…….Happy New Year to You and Your Families!!!!

 

216 comments Add your comment

Sarah B

January 2nd, 2010
2:51 am

Nobody watches the Pro Bowl anyway. Go Falcons… Get the Minkey off our backs!

Atlanta Peach

January 2nd, 2010
3:06 am

Choke, “Howd you Doin” ?!!!!!!!

tbhawksfan

January 2nd, 2010
6:49 am

Congrats on being first Sarah B. WOW

jerry

January 2nd, 2010
6:51 am

It is surprising that no Falcons were picked since the Pro Bowl is in Miami. But there is just something incongruos about selecting something from the “Cesspool of the NFL” and sending it to Hawaii.

Dawson Devitt (D3)

January 2nd, 2010
7:50 am

Sarah B. – Very true on the Pro Bowl. I’ve never watched one or even played one on Madden. It makes much more sense doing it the week before the Super Bowl, instead of after. If Jason Witten or one of the 4 receivers go to the Super Bowl, there’s a good chance Gonzo or Roddy would go in their place.

Atlanta Peach – Hilarious

tbhawksfan – And she didn’t even acknowledge the first honor

jerry – The Bengals got screwed more than the Falcons did, they won their division and are 10-5 and sent no one.

The Real Falcon

January 2nd, 2010
7:55 am

Let’s just win the game on Sunday. everything else will work out.

Birdman

January 2nd, 2010
9:56 am

D3
JUST A WORD OF THANKS
For all the articles you have put a lot of time in this season as well as care for others .I Just came into this blog before the season began and what an exciting time I have had. It really means a lot to go to a place where if nothing else in common people have is a team they root for. Thats cool !!

You gays and gals have learned me a lot this season here in the cage . I have always been a Falcon fan but during and after this season well lets just say it is like pouring Gas on a fire . Thanks and Happy new year to you all …..

I think it should be called the Popularity Bowl
That is what it really is……

Birdman

January 2nd, 2010
10:00 am

OH YEA !GO FALCONS….!!!!!!
BACK TO BACK !
BACK TO BACK !

Falcons Fan

January 2nd, 2010
10:28 am

Who cares about this popularity contest anyway. Picking Jason Whitten is the biggest joke of all with Sidney Rice running second. I won’t be watching anyway!

Birdman

January 2nd, 2010
10:37 am

Cool Article and blog on DOL’s site
But someone else is there is using my blog name . Its not me ???

Falcon Hater

January 2nd, 2010
10:49 am

Quit crying about no Falcons making the Pro Bowl. The Falcons have and will always be losers. Falcons will lose tomorrow and your back to back winning seasons will not happen. If they do win and get the back to back, be sure to get t-shirts and hats made. Have a parade, because the Falcons will NEVER have a Super Bowl victory parade.

falcon21

January 2nd, 2010
10:58 am

D3, check out Da’Rick Rogers today in the All-America game. The man can play. 11:oo ESPN.

Robopop

January 2nd, 2010
11:42 am

Yes, the Pro Bowl IS a joke! ANY game that has the word “bowl” in it (Pro Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, etc.) is suspect. It is all for money. I have seen several teams in the college bowls that have absolutely NO reason to be there except to bring in money. They used to mean something, but now? It’s the same with the Pro Bowl. They’re there because they’re fan favorites – NOT because they necessarily deserve to be there. It would be more appropriate to call it the “Toilet Bowl.”

BT

January 2nd, 2010
11:57 am

D3,
More current, frequent and shorter Blogs sounds like a good idea to me.

Curse?
There is no such thing as a curse IMO, only 44 years of mostly bad, prior, organizational management.

Having a Falcon or two in the Pro Bowl would have been nice but I don`t really care about that.
Building a team for sustained future sucess is the only goal that truly has any real meaning to me.

Lil'Dave

January 2nd, 2010
12:37 pm

Hey guys I’m headed to The Spalding Derby tomorrow. How will I find you guys once I’m inside? JJ you going to have big ol’table waiting on us? Let me know cause I am going to show.

BT

January 2nd, 2010
12:38 pm

TAMPA, Fla. (AP)—The Atlanta Falcons can make franchise history. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would like to think they can save their coach’s job.

So much for the notion that the NFC South rivals might be content with going through the motions when they end disappointing seasons Sunday.

The Falcons (8-7) have won two straight and still have a shot at finishing with consecutive winning records for the first time.

The Bucs (3-12), also winners the past two weeks, have one more opportunity to make a case they’re headed in the right direction after losing 12 of their first 13 under rookie coach Raheem Morris.

“Our motivation is to have a winning season,” Falcons 1,000-yard receiver Roddy White said.

“You always want to be the first person to do something. That’s what our task is. It’s like a playoff game. Our owner wants to get this out of the way. We’re going to be out there playing hard. We want to make sure we get it done for him.”

The Bucs are feeling a lot better about themselves after beating Seattle and New Orleans on the road.

They rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Saints in overtime last week, although it’s anybody’s guess if one of the biggest upsets of the year enhanced the prospect of Morris returning in 2010.

The reclusive Glazer family has not commented publicly on the 33-year-old coach’s future. Nor have team officials done anything to squash speculation the owners are trying to gauge whether Bill Cowher is interested in the job.

In the meantime, the youngest coach in the league continues to go about his business.

“When you do what I do, you can’t worry about that,” Morris said. “You’ve got to go do your job.”

The Falcons entered the season with high expectations after winning 11 games and making the playoffs in their first year under Mike Smith. They faded after a 4-1 start, in part because of key injuries that contributed to a stretch of six losses in eight games.

Victories the past two weeks against the Jets and Bills ensured Atlanta would finish .500 or better in consecutive seasons for just the fifth time.

“You get what you earn in this league. To this point we’ve earned an 8-7 record … but we feel like we’ve made some strides in a lot of areas,” Smith said.

“This is our second year. We’re talking about building a team that is going to be able to sustain the level of play for a number of years. That’s our main goal. I think we made some improvements in many areas, even though it doesn’t show on the win-loss record.”

Morris feels the same way about his young team, which has endured three quarterback changes, as well as the firing of their offensive and defensive coordinators since the start of training camp.

After a slow start, the offense is showing signs of progress, with rookie quarterback Josh Freeman going 3-5 since moving into the starting lineup. The defense allowed 29 points per game through 10 games, but has limited opponents to 17.4 per game since Morris took over play-calling responsibilities five weeks ago.

Against the Seahawks and Saints, Tampa Bay didn’t allow any points in the second half.

“We’re playing good football right now,” said Freeman, who believes the Bucs are beginning to establish an identity as a tough, physical team.

“We’re running the ball. The defense is standing up and shutting people down. This is the type of football we’re capable of playing. Our record is what it is, but we have a chance to go out and get another one on Sunday and end the season on a high note.”

The Falcons beat Tampa Bay 20-17 in Atlanta on Nov. 29, despite losing Matt Ryan with a foot injury in the opening quarter. Backup Chris Redmond threw the winning TD pass to White with 23 seconds to go.

The Falcons have taken note of what the Bucs have done down the stretch.

“I’m very impressed with the effort and the consistency they’re playing with,” Smith said.

“I think defensively, they have really stepped up their play in the last four or five weeks. And the young quarterback has definitely matured since the first time we saw him, and I thought he had a very good game when we played him here in Atlanta.”

Running back Cadillac Williams, who has overcome two career-threatening knee injury to become Tampa Bay’s leading rusher again, is among the Bucs who feel Morris and his staff deserve to be back.

“A lot of things happened, but they’ve definitely showed the second half of the season with Josh coming in and other guys stepping up that they’ve pulled things together,” said Williams, coming off his first 100-yard rushing performance in over three years.

“If you watch a lot of teams that have one or two wins, they just don’t play hard. You still see guys out there playing hard and giving maximum effort.”

Tony Barnfart

January 2nd, 2010
12:40 pm

Every time and SEC team “trots out onto the field”, I just cream my jeans.
Don’t you?

JJ

January 2nd, 2010
1:21 pm

Lil’Dave, I’ll be there by 12:30 and grab a table. It fills up fast. I’ll have a white falcons hat on and some print outs (birdcage schedule summary for some laughs and smack). I think BT and Sarah B. are coming, would love others to joing us, except choke!

BT

January 2nd, 2010
2:07 pm

I will be wearing my (very distinctive) woodland camouflage, Falcons cap.

Lil'Dave

January 2nd, 2010
2:57 pm

K I’ll be there about 12 or 12:30 so I can eat before the game. I’ll be wearing a number 2 Matt Ryan T-Shirt with a Falcons sideline hat. Looking forward to meeting you guys and gals.

Hypocrisy??

January 2nd, 2010
3:44 pm

Funny, last season Matt Ryan was credited with helping Roddy White make the Pro Bowl….who do we credit for helping Tony Gonzales NOT making the Pro Bowl for the first time in a decade? Gonzales won the fan vote…but the coaches and players votes…not so much…so cant blame it on the old “popularity” excuse.

JJ

January 2nd, 2010
4:44 pm

Looking forward to it guys! FYI- it is NOT a smoke free bar and I do smoke when I drink, sorry. D3, if you can make it, you never pay buddy! BT and I will(within reason), your welcome BT, bring some deer jerky if you have any. Bartender is Billy (gt alum) and pours heavy, so I recommend beer if you’re driving. ps-dont mention this to billy. A good bartender who pours good are hard to find!

chuck

January 2nd, 2010
5:15 pm

OK guys, let’s talk offseason priorities. In order, what are the positions that need to be upgraded? I have
1. DE that can pass rush
2. Safety
3. OT

Unca' Bob

January 2nd, 2010
5:34 pm

Ya’ll enjoy your meet-up. I wish I could be there. Please, be safe.

JJ

January 2nd, 2010
5:38 pm

1. CB
2. NT
3. DE
4. OL
5. RB2
6. TE or OLB

CBrass

January 2nd, 2010
5:43 pm

D3,

As always great post. I like the idea of more but shorter post. You have nothing to apologize for. You’re entitled to a break and be with your family. I’m sure the others here will agree.

I can’t wait until tomorrow. I’m so nervous. I just wanted this back to back curse over with. As for the probowl subbs the real argument that I have is Gonzo. The guy is more than deserving of being there.

JJ,

I wish I could join you guys but due to transportation issues I will not be able to make it. You guys have fun and get home safely. I hope to meet up with you guys during the off season.

BT

January 2nd, 2010
5:46 pm

JJ

January 2nd, 2010
5:48 pm

my bad, #5 is WR2, Jenkins is a 3 unfortunately. Keep norwood if hes cheap ,if not, draft a speedster RB to compliment THE man. Hope for the best with DT jerry but hes injury prone and 2 DT with surgicaly fixed knees (jerry/lewis) is a big concern. Of course CB is a huge weakness, was hopeing for FA addition but the current climate doesnt favor ANY FA unless you over pay for them. TD does not over pay FA period, hes a draft guy.

BT

January 2nd, 2010
5:49 pm

Unca Bob and CBrass,
I wish you guys could join us, y`all will missed.

Jed Clampant

January 2nd, 2010
5:51 pm

JJ—Choke will be glad to take place.

JJ

January 2nd, 2010
5:54 pm

Unca’Bob / Cbrass: wish you guys could make it, looking forward to meeting ya’ll when we can. Maybe a april draft party?

JJ

January 2nd, 2010
5:54 pm

my bad, y’all

JJ

January 2nd, 2010
5:58 pm

Jed, can u bring your daughter?

CBrass

January 2nd, 2010
5:59 pm

JJ,

That sounds good to me.

BT,

You in charge of keeping them in line. LOL

BT

January 2nd, 2010
6:02 pm

The word is. the Falcons will approach tomorrows game with playoff intensity.

CBrass

January 2nd, 2010
6:05 pm

BT,

After watching the interviews there is not doubt that’s the way the players are approaching this game.

Jed Clampant

January 2nd, 2010
6:08 pm

JJ—No-You’ll have to settle for Sara B.

JJ

January 2nd, 2010
6:14 pm

Jed, thats not settling, my friend Sarah B is a hottie! But she’s my buddy. FB’s ruin good friendships. But you wouldnt know that Jed, with all the in-breeding going on huh?

JJ

January 2nd, 2010
6:16 pm

sorry, no better.

BT

January 2nd, 2010
6:22 pm

Y`all do understand the Bucs team and fans want tomorrows game real bad too.
One, to hopefully save thier head coach`s job.
Two, make no mistake, they would find glee in keeping the Falcons streak alive.

I hate the Bucs and everything they stand for, in a good sportsmanship type of way, of course.

Unca' Bob

January 2nd, 2010
6:31 pm

BT,

“I hate the Bucs and everything they stand for, in a good sportsmanship type of way, of course”.

Yeah, right. LOL. I saw your post on the bleacher report.

Unca' Bob

January 2nd, 2010
7:01 pm

Get ‘em East Carolina!!

Sarah B

January 2nd, 2010
7:28 pm

Pullin hard for E Carolina UB!!!

Big Ray

January 2nd, 2010
8:30 pm

We gotta break the curse. We just gotta. And to do it against the Tampa Bay Bucs, a team that has haunted and harried us for years? So much the better.

Sarah B

January 2nd, 2010
8:34 pm

JJ, BT I may see you there. Haven’t really decided yet. I had to take a friend of mine to the Airport so she could go to Mexico (without me, biotch) at 5 am and am still pretty whipped, but will crash early and try to make it, didn’t get to bed until 6 today. BTW JJ the Hot BBQ are better than the Teri Hot… No offense, well at least at the Hammond location. Popped in there this afternoon for a bit.

Sarah B

January 2nd, 2010
9:06 pm

JJ – IM?????

happy holidays

January 2nd, 2010
9:29 pm

Gonzales and his wife had not been promoting PETA he would have been shoe-in. Players hate those Fascist pigs.

chuck

January 2nd, 2010
11:53 pm

I agree with Happy Holidays on Gonzales association with PETA. The Pro Bowl is large part PR and Gonzales pulled a major blunder supporting that terrorist group PETA. His manager or agent group should be fired for not educating him to the hypocrisy of PETA.

Sarah B

January 3rd, 2010
12:27 am

Nothing wrong with protecting pets, just not to that extreme…

Sarah B

January 3rd, 2010
12:28 am

I love my dogs & cats.