Who Deserves To Be A Pro Bowler? Part VI: Before We Begin

I will do my best in the upcoming week to write a post each day about which players actually deserved to go to the Pro Bowl. Now that the official Pro Bowl selections have been released, every website seems to talk about who deserved to go and who didn't. This site is no exception. I feel strongly about Pro Bowl selections and any All-Star selections need to be correct. I feel this way because it's these selections that determine who goes into the Hall of Fame. For certain positions, like running back and quarterback, one can just look at their career numbers to see if they are Hall of Fame worthy. But for many positions in football, like offensive lineman and safeties, all we really have to go on is reputation and Pro Bowl selections.

So based upon my five previous posts where I just listed the different statistical numbers of every position, I will now tell you loyal readers who deserves to be a Pro Bowler and who does not.

You can read Part I, NFC Offense here
You can read Part II, AFC Offense here
You can read Part III about Larry Fitzgerald here
You can read Part IV, NFC defense here
You can read Part V, AFC defense here

Now for most positions, there is no one statistic that says if they are good or not. I posted a handful of important statistics and I will use my best, objective judgment to synthesize those statistics to give me the best players at each particular position. On the other hand, there are some positions, like offensive lineman and safeties, where I only have one statistic to go off of. It's also these positions that normally I would defer to coaches and NFL players on who they think is the best.

Unfortunately, these players and people know as much about these positions as the average fan does. Many people in the NFL vote solely on reputation and not on the talent and how well they performed in the previous year. I call it the Derek Jeter effect. Last year Derek Jeter won the Gold Glove for SS despite being one of the worst defenders at his position. This is because he gets voted on because everyone at their mother knows who Derek Jeter is.

The best suggestion I've heard to remedy this problem is to have certain positions vote solely on other certain positions. For example, only offensive lineman should be allowed to vote for defensive lineman, only linebackers should be allowed to vote for tight ends, only wide receivers should be allowed to vote for cornerbacks, and if you've never be on the field for kicks, you should not be allowed to vote for special teamers.

But going back to certain positions, like safety, I don't think there will ever be a good statistic to measure that position. Part of being a great safety is solely being in position on the field. Many times, as a safety, you just need to be over the top to deter a quarterback not to throw on your side of the field. And how can you objectively measure a quarterback's decision making by him choosing not to throw a ball?

For offensive lineman, I use Football Outsiders DVOA and DYAR stats for how they measure lineman. However, FO does not rate by specific player, they rank by how well the team blocks. So all I know is say the Jets center is the best blocking center as opposed to FO telling me how good Nick Mangold is. This causes great havoc. Often times players change position (say like crappy Chris Williams moving from tackle to guard) so while Bills LG (hypothetically) is the #1 blocker, that might consist of say two or three players. Injuries could also be a cause of this. This is the biggest criticisms I got on my Michael Oher post. My research indicated that he played in one positions but as Baltimore Ravens fan *politely* told me, he actually ended up playing most of his time in a different position.

Now there are certain players like Aaron Rodgers and LeSean McCoy that their absence from the Pro Bowl has been a glaring and overt travesty. Then there are certain players where I think the actual Pro Bowl selection and my Pro Bowl selection are close. I think a great argument can be made for both players but I personally choose the non-actual selection. I will do my best to try and distinguish between the travesty selections and the "It-Could-Go-Either-Way" selections.

And now that I have all these disclaimers, soon we will begin with the actual selections!