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A Closer Look at the Pro Bowl Selections Part II: AFC

OVERVIEW: Some very deserving selections, fewer overall surprises, but a few more true head-scratchers on this roster than the NFC. Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Indy, NYJ, and Baltimore defenders ruled the day, making up all but two positions on the defense (CLE DT Shaun Rogers and OAK CB Nmandi Asomugha are the others).  On offense, perennial Pro Bowlers Peyton Manning, Ed Reed, and Tony Gonzalez are starters based on merit.  LT had just an ok year by his standards and will be watching this year's pro bowl only as a spectator.

SURPRISE SELECTIONS:

  • Broadway Brett Favre somehow made the team despite leading the AFC in INTs and throwing for a paltry 6.77 yards per completion.  Now, he's at it again with the retirement talk, stating these last remaining games could be his last.  Blech..... not again.  For reasons stated below, Philip Rivers was the snub of the Pro Bowl. 
  • Looks like the top 4 WRs in receiving yards got the nods.  Uninspiring.  The Pats have a Pro Bowl WR, but it's the wrong one, in my opinion, although it's arguable either way.  Wes Welker got the nod this year over teammate Randy Moss.  Welker does have a substantial 36 more catches and 170 more ReYds this year than Moss, but has a paltry 2 ReTDs to Moss' conference-leading 10.  I'd have figured Moss' flashy play and reputation would've gotten him the selection here (after all, Brett Favre and Brian Dawkins are in), but maybe he's pissed off people for too long.  Who knows.
  • Ronnie Brown rode the Wildcat hoopla to a Pro Bowl reserve roster spot.  10 TDs probably did it for him, but he's only got 827 yds at an ok 4.2 ypc.

SNUBS:

  • Randy Moss.  See above.
  • Phillip Rivers.  See his stats.  Compare to Brett Favre.  Draw same conclusion as me.  Super snub.  I'm sure their respecitve teams' records had a good bit to do with the results.
  • Poor Steve Slaton.  Big snub.  3rd in the AFC in rushing yards.  8 TDs.  4.9 ypc.  Seemingly durable featured back.  So what's the problem?  Oh yeah, he plays in Houston.  If he were a Dallas Cowboy or Green Bay Packer, he'd be doing the Hula in February.  Except for TDs, he's ahead of Ronnie Brown in most statistical categories.   
  • CLE ILB D'Qwell Jackson led the NFL in tackles with 136, but, with the oustanding LB play in Pittsburgh and Baltimore, Jackson's incredible effort went for naught.  You get two claps and a Z snap from me, my friend.  That is truly a great season. 
  • Want to know who else had more tackles than all AFC Pro Bowl linebackers?  Oakland MLB Kirk Morrison.  He made 120 stops with a sack and an INT.  Then again.... with Oakland's offense, he's spent a helluva lot more time on the field than PIT and BAL defenders, so he's certainly had more opportunities to make plays. 
  • Speaking of Oakland.... not necessarily a huge snub here, but Gibril Wilson quietly put together a nice season in Oakland, leading the AFC in tackles amongst safeties with 114 and picking off 2 passes.
  •  Add another chapter to the Pittsburgh-Baltimore rivalry.  BAL OLB Terrell Suggs made the roster as a reserve OLB over PIT OLB LaMarr Woodley.  Suggs had 58 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 2 INTs (both for TDs) and 2 FFs.  Woodley had 55 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 1 INT (for TD), 1 sack.  Pretty close stuff.  Tough break for Woodley.