The NFL released the 2012 Pro Bowl rosters on Tuesday and, like every other year, there were plenty of players that were snubbed. Players like the Lions' Matthew Stafford or the Patriots' Aaron Hernandez should have made it onto the roster but didn't. Brian Cushing and the 49ers linebackers were also snubbed and it's about that time of year when we wonder why Redskins LB London Fletcher isn't in the Pro Bowl.
The Pro Bowl is voted on by the fans, coaches and players with each group counted equally. That means some players who are deserving may not make it in because they're not a fan favorite. Others will make it based largely on name recognition alone.
Here's a look at a few of the top snubs in the 2012 Pro Bowl and what SB Nation bloggers had to say about them.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford: I guess my biggest problem with Stafford missing the Pro Bowl is that he's such a key component of the Lions offensive machine. When healthy, he is a game changer for Detroit as this year's playoff berth has shown. Eli Manning made it in over Stafford despite Stafford throwing 10 more touchdown passes, two less interceptions (despite more pass attempts), having a higher QB rating and one more win as a starting QB.
SB Nation's Pride of Detroit makes the same argument:
For starters, Stafford was left off the NFC roster because Eli Manning was selected as the third quarterback. Stafford's numbers (4,518 yards, 63.7 completion percentage, 36 TD, 14 INT) are better than Manning's (4,587 yards, 60.3 completion percentage, 26 TD, 16 INT), so I really don't understand the thinking behind Manning's selection.
Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez: He has 72 receptions for 772 yards and six touchdowns this year, which is about 100 yards more than Chargers TE Antonio Gates, who got the Pro Bowl nod. The problem for me? Gates only played in 12 games, which means he wasn't even available for a quarter of his team's season. Gates is a longtime Pro Bowler so, while he had his yards this year, his selection is partially driven by his name. Hernandez or some of the other young AFC tight ends likely make it in next year.
On Hernandez, SB Nation's Pats Pulpit says:
Aaron Hernandez got snubbed. While Antonio Gates is having a decent year, Hernandez' numbers are significantly better. I guess that's the harm in playing withRob Gronkowski, who is having an All-Pro, record breaking year and received his first Pro Bowl selection tonight.
Texans LB Brian Cushing: The 2009 defensive rookie of the year was in the Pro Bowl two years ago but his 2010 season was marred by a four-game suspension for PEDs. He probably should have been selected over Ravens LB Ray Lewis this year. Lewis is still good, but Cushing's absence is hard to justify. You could also consider Texans LT Duane Brown in this mix of snubs.
On Cushing and Brown's absence, SB Nation's Battle Red Blog says:
The recognition (and perhaps the contractual bonus that a Pro Bowl appearance may have foisted upon the recipients) would have been nice for those guys, but anyone who has watched the Texans play this year knows exactly how awesome they've been even if the Pro Bowl voting results don't echo that reality.
49ers LB NaVorro Bowman and LB Aldon Smith: I put these 49ers linebackers in the same group because you can make the argument that both were snubbed. Bowman, who is an alternate, made plenty of all-everything lists at the midway point of the season yet not the Pro Bowl. Meanwhile, Smith is fifth in the NFL in sacks and has become a very important piece of the No. 1 defense in the NFL.
SB Nation's Niners Nation explains their absence:
Smith is not surprising because he was not on the fan ballot and thus lost out on 33% of the voting total. Bowman finished fifth in fan voting at inside linebacker and did not get quite enough love from the players and coaches.
Redskins LB London Fletcher: It's that time of year again when we talk about Fletcher getting snubbed. He ultimately made it into the Pro Bowl as an alternate the last two years, but this season he did not despite leading the NFL in tackles.
SB Nation DC states the case for Fletcher:
The Washington Redskins' London Fletcher leads the National Football League in tackles this season with 163. That's 18 more than the Cleveland Browns' D'Qwell Jackson who is No. 2 in the league, and 19 than the Minnesota Vikings' Chad Greenway, No. 3 across the league in tackles and No. 2 in the NFC. Fletcher also has two sacks, two interceptions and three forced fumbles.