ISR Colts/Notre Dame Beat Writer
INDIANAPOLIS – Tonight, it was announced that just one Indianapolis Colts player has been named to the NFL Pro Bowl; Robert Mathis. For Mathis he’s been selected before, as this is his sixth Pro Bowl selection.
The NFL’s all-star game is voted on by fans, as well as the league’s players and coaches, each group representing one-third of the vote. This year will be the first year that players make the cut as an entire league rather than there being a certain designated amount from the AFC against a certain designated amount from the NFC. NFL legends Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will be team captains and will select their teams starting on January 22nd, four days before the game. For a thorough explanation of this year’s changes, visit Sports Illustrated’s summary.
COLTS’ PRO BOWL SELECTIONS
- Robert Mathis, Outside Linebacker – Robert Mathis was the only one of the Colts players who could be considered a shoo-in for the Pro Bowl. While leading the league in sacks (17.5 right now) for nearly the entire season up until a couple of weeks ago, he has been a dominant force this year in talks about being named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
COLTS’ PRO BOWL SNUBS
Although Mathis was the only slam dunk from the Colts to make it, the Colts had a laundry list of other potential candidates. It was understood that with the new unconferenced format that it would be tougher for players to get in. However, seeing some of the names that were selected above some Colts players, here is my list of Colts Pro Bowl snubs.
- Andrew Luck, Quarterback – Quarterback is one of the deepest positions in the NFL, but it is hard for me to believe that Luck shouldn’t be considered among the top six. Instead, quarterbacks Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks made it in above guys like Luck, Ben Roethlisberger, Nick Foles and Tony Romo. It is often said that these things are just a popularity contest, and to me that’s why these selections were made.
- Adam Vinatieri, Kicker – Matt Prater of the Denver Broncos and Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens got the nod here. Tucker has been the league’s best kicker this year, so that’s no question. However, Matt Prater? He broke the record for longest field goal kicked this year, but he ranks all the way down at 19th in the league in field goals made with just 23. Vinatieri is having arguably the best season of his 18-year career with 32 field goals made.
- Pat McAfee, Punter – Pat McAfee didn’t get the nod this year over Brandon Fields from the Miami Dolphins and second-year punter Johnny Hekker from the St. Louis Rams. Fields is a great selection, as he is 2nd in the league in average punt with 48.8, but Hekker seems to get the nod because he leads the league in net average, what the punt’s distance is with the average return of the punt taken out of it with 43.8. However, McAfee leads Hekker in punts inside the 20 yard-line with 24 to Hekker’s 19, as well as punts downed in general with 15 to Hekker’s 9.
- Sergio Brown, Special Teamer – Arguably the biggest snub on the list is special teamer Sergio Brown. It’s not often that a player plays like a superstar at special teamer, but Brown does. It is my belief that missing the last game to injury may have taken Brown out of this. Regardless, if anyone was deserving of being named to the Pro Bowl as a special teamer this year, it was Brown. Justin Bethel of the Arizona Cardinals and Matthew Slater of the New England Patriots were voted in.
Things can always change and these players can make it in if players in front of them withdraw their names from the Pro Bowl or if they make it to the Super Bowl and cannot play.
Jake Arthur is a senior writer at the Indy Sports Report covering the Indianapolis Colts and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by the Colts and has full media access. You can follow Jake and ISR on Twitter.