First of all, fans get 1/3 of the vote.
Really. Fans. So, Joe Throatjob down in Louisiana who is a die-hard New Orleans Saints fan is able to make a perfectly well-educated decision on who the best interior lineman is in the AFC? Really? Most intelligent football people aren’t even qualified to make that call. You know how much tape you would have to watch to really know? Even then….would a typical fan know who was doing well without someone standing next to them to explain what they are watching?
The answer is no. That’s not an insult to fans, but it’s the truth. It’s a complex game and there are many nuances that we as fans just won’t get.
Another 1/3 of the voting is from players. They’d know, right? Nope. Check out a section of this brilliant piece by ESPN‘s Ross Tucker. He explains exactly why the way the player’s vote needs to be changed.
Right now, the voting varies greatly from team to team and often from position group to position group within a team. The hallmarks of the process are disorganization and apathy. That’s because most teams do the voting after practice on a Wednesday, when most of the players are tired from the rigors of a long season and just want get home as soon as humanly possible.
Not only are they eager to leave but they often recognize that they don’t really have any chance of being selected themselves — most players don’t — and thus fail to give the selection process its due.
Some teams just have players fill out an entire ballot, which is asinine. A running back has no idea which punter is most deserving. Others do it by position, and thus the leaders of that group come to a consensus on whom they will select. The offensive line might pick the defensive line and middle linebacker positions while the tight ends pick the safety position and so on. In that instance, all of a team’s 53 ballots will look the same after the various position groups are compiled. That’s a better process, but the elder statesmen in any one position group have too much control and influence.
A lot of times it is just easier to vote for the “guy who goes every year” at a certain position even if that player is no longer deserving. The opposite dynamic also holds true — most up-and-comers in the league having great years typically don’t get in until the next season, after they have received a lot of offseason attention for their play and maybe even a new contract that legitimizes their performance.
That’s a full 2/3 of the voting process that isn’t coming from knowledgeable people who actually care who goes to the Pro Bowl.
Green Bay Packers CB Charles Woodson made the Pro Bowl. Yes, the same guy that had everyone talking about moving to safety earlier in the year. They weren’t talking about moving him to safety because he was kicking ass, I can tell you that.
New York Giants center Shaun O’Hara made it. That’s brilliant! The guy who played in six games this season? That must of been six incredible games.
There are others, but you get the point. Now, throw in the fact that players on Super Bowl teams won’t play in the game. If you get to the Super Bowl, you probably have a lot of good players on your team. Pro Bowl players. Okay, so cut them out of the equation now.
And how about injured players? NFL players usually have no interest in playing the actual Pro Bowl game and avoid it like the plague if they can. So, cut them out too. Now what you get is a bunch of fifth and sixth guys on the list, who don’t deserve to be in the Pro Bowl. Then next year, we hear about how such and such was a Pro Bowler last year, even if he didn’t have a phenomenal year.
It makes no sense at all. Please get rid of the Pro Bowl, it is a complete joke.