As reported earlier tonight Darrelle Revis will be heading to his fifth Pro Bowl, and will be joined in Hawaii by Gerald McCoy, the first Buccaneer to make back-to-back Pro Bowls since Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber both made the 2006 and the 2007 Pro Bowls.
It's fantastic to see Revis making such an impact in his first year back from his torn ACL - and his first with the Bucs. Likewise, after two injury-shortened seasons to start his career led some to prematurely label him a 'bust', McCoy has more than justified his third-overall pick status with two consecutive Pro Bowl berths. Going into week 17, the 2013's best 3-tech leads the team with 9 sacks, while also adding 48 combined tackles, a fumble recovery, and three pass breakups.
Still, there's an obvious name missing here - Lavonte David. David is having a true all-time season for a 4-3 outside linebacker, who joins Rodney Harrison as the only two players in NFL history to have 100 tackles, 6 sacks and 5 interceptions in a single year. In fact, he's the only linebacker ever to have 6 sacks and 5 picks in the same season.
That's the problem right there - 4-3 outside linebacker. The Pro Bowl's flawed format means that there is no distinction made between 4-3 and 3-4 outside linebackers, despite the fact that the latter would absolutely be more fairly compared to 4-3 DEs than OLBs. Every single one of the six outside 'backers to be selected to the Pro Bowl play in a 3-4 scheme. Because 3-4 OLBs are primarily edge rushers, it is certainly fair to speculate that these selections were made on sack numbers alone, as each of the six had more sacks than David (Brooks, with 8 sacks, being the only to put up single-digit figures of the six Pro Bowlers).
Despite many in the media putting David in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation, it appears that the fans, coaches and other NFL players didn't agree strongly enough to send David to Hawaii, which is, frankly, ridiculous. When a second-year player having one of the best seasons that anyone has ever had at his position doesn't make the league's All-Star game, then there is something very, very rotten in the state of gridiron. I'd love to believe that the resultant cry of outrage that should, all things being fair, be raised on David's behalf would be enough to see the Pro Bowl changed to the far more sensible format of lumping edge rushers together. It seems, though, that the league would rather have a gimmicky draft process - combined with two of the most boring-yet-ugly uniforms I've ever seen - than making any meaningful changes to the game that might give the annual farce a lick of respectability.
Hopefully the media will pay a little more attention to game film, and use a little more common sense, when it comes to voting for the All-Pro team, as it would be utterly criminal if David's season went unrewarded by official recognition. In the mean time, though, we can at least take comfort that in the eyes of the wider league and in the sport's fanbase, Gerald McCoy has arrived, and that Darrelle Revis, even if he is still not back at 100%, remains one of the best corners in the game today.
As it currently stands, the Bucs have not yet announced whether any other players are Pro Bowl alternates, though if there's any justice in this world #54 better be one.