Sorry Ike. No luau's or leis for you.

Pro Bowl = Fantasy Football: How Four Steelers Got Snubbed In 2011 Pro Bowl Voting


We made it to the Pro Bowl even though our team is 6-9!

The last time I checked, the most important ‘stat’ in football is winning.  Granted, the Pro Bowl is meant for the overachievement of individuals in the NFL – and sometimes that means guys (like Darrelle Revis) from an 8-7 team get selected.  But, what is as annoying and inconsistent as the BCS, is the Pro Bowl overlooks players who contribute in huge ways that leads directly to their team winning.  The voting block looks at the big stats and overlooks the intangibles of what makes that player great for a particular season.  Thus why four Steelers got snubbed.

There are also your ‘popular’ players out there that somehow make it year in and year out.  They at one time had fantastic numbers in their early careers, thus gaining them popularity among the masses.  Now they don’t have as much impact as they used to.  Exhibit A: Champ Bailey (8-7 Broncos).  Back in 2006 Bailey had 10 interceptions and over 70 tackles – pretty impressive stats.  Defensive Player of the Year worthy (but not quite).  Thus Bailey’s name was cemented as being a force to reckon with at corner.  The next five seasons has seen a significant drop off in his ‘output.’  He has never breached five interceptions in a single season, less passes defended and less tackles.  Yet somehow, even after missing four games this season, he barely has 30 tackles and two picks.  Pro Bowl numbers?  Not really considering Eric Weddle (Chargers) and Kyle Arrington (Pats) both have seven picks this season and were left off the roster.  So there is certainly an inconsistency when it comes to stats and getting in to the Big Luau.  The Broncos are also 20th in the league in pass yards allowed and 25th in points allowed – so what is it exactly that good ol’ Champ is doing??

The notion of context to stats would also be lovely when considering Pro Bowlers.  Exhibit B: Derrick Johnson (Chiefs).  Johnson has an astounding 126 tackles this season.  Wow!  Really.  That’s a lot of hitting.  But, it’s certainly not the most tackles.  He certainly has a presence on the field and has the good intangibles of an inside LB.  But when you play for a team that is 6-9 and have skill, then you are certainly going to get more tackels and more opportunities to make a play.  When your part of the team is on the field for way than your offense, you have to make more tackles.  If you look at the rest of the leaders of the NFL in tackles, they all come from teams with sub .500 records.  Why, because their defense on average is on the field more because they can’t stop the opposing offense from driving the field.  One of the exceptions to that trend – NaVarro Bowman (49ers).  And, he got snubbed.

Thus, I present to you the four Steelers who got screwed snubbed in this year’s Pro Bowl voting: Ike Taylor, Brett Keisel, James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley.

Let me get Harrison and Woodley out of the way first.  Both have missed significant time this season due to injury/suspension.  Yet, their numbers have them poised for big numbers.  Do you think that all of a sudden their production would just fall off the table?  Doubtful.  But they didn’t get a certain number of sacks or tackles – so their stats are their stats.  That’s going to be the argument from most folks.  But, the Steelers defense is ranked #1 in the league… AGAIN.  Why is that?  It’s because of guys like Harrison and Woodley – with 18 combined sacks, 95 tackles, two forced fumbles and one interception.  They step up and make the plays that help keep this team #2 in points allowed 14.5.  That’s astounding considering the focus on boosting offensive output globally in the league this season.

Brett Keiselhas had a really great season for the Steelers considering he’s only played 13 out of 16 thus far.  45 tackles, three sacks, one forced fumble and five (yes five!) passes defended.  That’s right, Keisel is one of the best defensive ends in the league who can drop back in pass coverage.  Plus he’s really good at timing a QB’s throw and getting his hands and arms in the way.  Should have made the Bowl, except everyone is still on the 2004 16 sack drug.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a good DE.  He’s had ten sacks the last three seasons.  But that’s all he can do.  Does that really make him one of the BEST DE’s in the AFC?  Absolutely not.

Finally, Ike Taylor probably gets screwed the most out of the Steelers.  As part of the #1 passing defense in the league, Taylor has put his money where his mouth is and is living up to his new contract.  Face Me Ike, though doubted during the offseason (by people such as myself) has been practically lights out this season.  I contend that Taylor Island is harder to survive on than Revis Island.  He has taken on some of the top receivers in the AFC under offensive powerhouses such as New England and shut down guys like Wes Welker, et al.  He only has two interceptions this season, but he has defended 13 passes.  Those 42 tackles aren’t really from him tackling his cover guy either  - they are more from him breaking off of his receiver and pursuing the ball carrier.  There’s no way that guys like Champ Bailey have contributed more to their team than someone like Taylor.  So why does he get snubbed?

As most things All-Star like, the voting system is geared towards the fans.  Who wants to watch a bunch of unfamiliar overachieving football players who deserved to be their?  Certainly not the general public and advertisers who pay for the broadcast of that game.  That’s why there’s fan voting to begin with.  If your favorite ‘superstar’ gets in then you’ll more likely be enticed to watch.  Lame.  This epidemic is worse in the NFL because the game truly means nothing.  At least for baseball, the winning team gets home field advantage in the World Series.  Kinda cool.

What can the NFL do?  Nothing really since it banks, literally bank$, on picking a neutral site for its Super Bowl.  Fine, I can live with that.  But then the next step that must happen is that all the pundits and all the HOF stats need to throw Pro Bowl appearances out the window.  This guy is more elite than another guy because he has more Pro Bowl selections?  What?  How does that even make sense when put into the context of knowing how players are selected?  He’s more elite because he’s more popular? (Ahem ahem, Philip Rivers vs Ben Roethlisberger)  I know fans take up only a third of the votes, but really…. Champ Bailey??????

Might as well get rid of the Pro Bowl altogether then.  It’s an afterthought through and through.

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  • BrooklynBoyKP

    You seem to be committing the error you claim the pro bowl to be making. Fantasy Football=Stats, they don’t always tell the whole story. Your comment about Champ Bailey seems a little ignorant, just look at how that defense has played since he came back from injury compared to before. Tebow gets credit for the record improvement but in reality Champ had more to do with it than Tebow. He shuts down WR’s, he’s gonna have less picks just because people aren’t throwing at him. You also argue that the voting system is geared towards the fans, but then say that no one wants to see these players which contradicts itself. Ike Taylor has probably been Pro-Bowl worthy but the other players you mentioned definitely not. One of your arguments was Taylor is part of the #1 pass defense, but teams like the Ravens have allowed less passing TD’s have more interceptions, and a lower % of passes completed. The stat is also skewed because the Steelers have only played one good passing team and that was the Patriots. You say Ike has been better than Revis which is hilarious, Fitzgerald torched Ike, Boldin torched him twice, AJ Green torched him in the game he didn’t get injured, Dwayne Bowe did well against him. I’ll give him credit for Welker and Reggie Wayne but Reggie had an awful QB. Ike has simply not been that good at “shutting down #1 guys.” Not to mention Champ’s stats are on pace for the same statline if he’d played the whole season. Champ shut down Vincent Jackson twice, did well against Brandon Marshall, shut down Denarius Moore, shut down Dwayne Bowe twice while Ike did badly against him with Palko throwing to him, shut down Santonio Holmes, shut down the Bears, and shut down Welker. The only receiver who torched him was Calvin Johnson who is simply one of the best and to a small extent Stevie Johnson though he seems to torch everyone as long as he doesn’t drop the ball. The LB’s combined stats are pretty average and you even say Brett Keisel isn’t good enough for the Pro-Bowl his pass deflections would place him 10th in the league for defensive linemen which isn’t even good. Also you contradict yourself when you say that winning is more important than stats but then you say Eric Weddle and Kyle Arrington got snubbed. Both of them play for a losing team and Kyle Arrington is the second corner on the 32nd ranked pass defense. You’re simply off base with the tackles = more time on defense observation. Guys like London Fletcher, who has done it on playoff teams, have been tackling machines their whole career, same with D’Qwell Jackson, and Chad Greenway who has done it on playoff teams. Yes, Navorro Bowman may have been snubbed but playing next to Patrick Willis surely improves his stats. Terrible Article by an awful site.

  • BrooklynBoyKP

    You seem to be committing the error you claim the pro bowl to be making. Fantasy Football=Stats, they don’t always tell the whole story. Your comment about Champ Bailey seems a little ignorant, just look at how that defense has played since he came back from injury compared to before. Tebow gets credit for the record improvement but in reality Champ had more to do with it than Tebow. He shuts down WR’s, he’s gonna have less picks just because people aren’t throwing at him. You also argue that the voting system is geared towards the fans, but then say that no one wants to see these players which contradicts itself. Ike Taylor has probably been Pro-Bowl worthy but the other players you mentioned definitely not. One of your arguments was Taylor is part of the #1 pass defense, but teams like the Ravens have allowed less passing TD’s have more interceptions, and a lower % of passes completed. The stat is also skewed because the Steelers have only played one good passing team and that was the Patriots. You say Ike has been better than Revis which is hilarious, Fitzgerald torched Ike, Boldin torched him twice, AJ Green torched him in the game he didn’t get injured, Dwayne Bowe did well against him. I’ll give him credit for Welker and Reggie Wayne but Reggie had an awful QB. Ike has simply not been that good at “shutting down #1 guys.” Not to mention Champ’s stats are on pace for the same statline if he’d played the whole season. Champ shut down Vincent Jackson twice, did well against Brandon Marshall, shut down Denarius Moore, shut down Dwayne Bowe twice while Ike did badly against him with Palko throwing to him, shut down Santonio Holmes, shut down the Bears, and shut down Welker. The only receiver who torched him was Calvin Johnson who is simply one of the best and to a small extent Stevie Johnson though he seems to torch everyone as long as he doesn’t drop the ball. The LB’s combined stats are pretty average and you even say Brett Keisel isn’t good enough for the Pro-Bowl his pass deflections would place him 10th in the league for defensive linemen which isn’t even good. Also you contradict yourself when you say that winning is more important than stats but then you say Eric Weddle and Kyle Arrington got snubbed. Both of them play for a losing team and Kyle Arrington is the second corner on the 32nd ranked pass defense. You’re simply off base with the tackles = more time on defense observation. Guys like London Fletcher, who has done it on playoff teams, have been tackling machines their whole career, same with D’Qwell Jackson, and Chad Greenway who has done it on playoff teams. Yes, Navorro Bowman may have been snubbed but playing next to Patrick Willis surely improves his stats. Terrible Article by an awful site.

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  • DomDiTolla

    @BrooklynBoyKP Like it or not, but the Pro Bowl is an always has been a popularity contest. Also, Von Miller is a heck of a lot more responsible for the Broncos resurgence on Defense than Champ Bailey. Miller will be The Defensive Rookie of the Year.

    Moreover, part of that stat about the Ravens allowing less % of passes completed has a lot to do with their ferocious pass rush rather than the quality of their Corners. The Steelers’ pass rush has been sub-par this season due to injuries and some ineffective play by all of the LB’s. If the Steeler DB’s had a better pass-rush they would be even better this season. And If it wasn’t for his hands of stone he would be collecting at least 5 INTS per season (that’s a valid knock and he deserves to be criticized).

    As for you saying Bailey shut down the Bears? Who do they have to throw to? And who was playing QB? Oh that’s right Caleb Hanie who only attempted 19 passes all afternoon and relied heavily on Barber who toted the rock 27 times that game. Oh those juggernaut Bears without Jay Cutler. Denarius Moore? Carson Palmer was slinging it around and still got the ball to Moore 4 times for 61 yards. Granted Bailey had 2 INT’s but it’s Carson freakin Palmer. And let’s wait a bit before we start giving Denarius Moore kudos for being a great player. Dude is a Rookie and has only accumulated 30 grabs for 517 yards this season.

  • DomDiTolla

    @BrooklynBoyKP

    Also Champ has shut down Bowe only once this season. If you did your homework the Chiefs play the Broncos this Sunday with Orton not Cassel. Let’s wait and see before saying Bailey has shut down Bowe twice. Shut down Santonio Holmes? Well I would hope that he would with Mark Sanchez doing his patented checking down whenever he faces a good Defense. And Brandon Marshall? The irreplaceable Matt Moore still completed 6 passes for 61 yards against him, Bowe had 7 grabs for 69 yards against Taylor with Palko throwing passes. That’s about the same, and Bowe is a better WR than Marshall. Finally, as for shutting down Welker? 4 grabs for 41 yards isn’t a bad day. Plus, why would Brady bother to throw to Welker when he was targeting Hernandez and Gronkowski all day. If he wanted to he could have gone to him 10 times, but Hernandez and Gronkowski were eating Denver’s D alive that day.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that instead of wasting all of your time criticizing Craig’s article, maybe you should do some fact checking and in-depth analysis of your own before criticizing others.

    Stay classy, and troll somewhere else.

  • craig.nicepickcowher

    @BrooklynBoyKP London Fletcher has only played for one playoff team – Redskins in 2007. That’s it since 2001. Do your homework. D’Qwell Jackson has played for Browns whole career since 2006. Brownies last playoff appearance, 2002. Chad Greenway was on the Vikes in playoff years in ’08 and ’09 – one year less than 100 tackles. You act as if these guys have been on high caliber teams their whole careers. Do your homework.

    You don’t get the gist of the article. Thanks anyways.

  • DomDiTolla

    @BrooklynBoyKP Like it or not, but the Pro Bowl is an always has been a popularity contest. Also, Von Miller is a heck of a lot more responsible for the Broncos resurgence on Defense than Champ Bailey. Miller will be The Defensive Rookie of the Year.

    Moreover, part of that stat about the Ravens allowing less % of passes completed has a lot to do with their ferocious pass rush rather than the quality of their Corners. The Steelers’ pass rush has been sub-par this season due to injuries and some ineffective play by all of the LB’s. If the Steeler DB’s had a better pass-rush they would be even better this season. And If it wasn’t for his hands of stone he would be collecting at least 5 INTS per season (that’s a valid knock and he deserves to be criticized).

    As for you saying Bailey shut down the Bears? Who do they have to throw to? And who was playing QB? Oh that’s right Caleb Hanie who only attempted 19 passes all afternoon and relied heavily on Barber who toted the rock 27 times that game. Oh those juggernaut Bears without Jay Cutler. Denarius Moore? Carson Palmer was slinging it around and still got the ball to Moore 4 times for 61 yards. Granted Bailey had 2 INT’s but it’s Carson freakin Palmer. And let’s wait a bit before we start giving Denarius Moore kudos for being a great player. Dude is a Rookie and has only accumulated 30 grabs for 517 yards this season.

  • DomDiTolla

    @BrooklynBoyKP

    Also Champ has shut down Bowe only once this season. If you did your homework the Chiefs play the Broncos this Sunday with Orton not Cassel. Let’s wait and see before saying Bailey has shut down Bowe twice. Shut down Santonio Holmes? Well I would hope that he would with Mark Sanchez doing his patented checking down whenever he faces a good Defense. And Brandon Marshall? The irreplaceable Matt Moore still completed 6 passes for 61 yards against him, Bowe had 7 grabs for 69 yards against Taylor with Palko throwing passes. That’s about the same, and Bowe is a better WR than Marshall. Finally, as for shutting down Welker? 4 grabs for 41 yards isn’t a bad day. Plus, why would Brady bother to throw to Welker when he was targeting Hernandez and Gronkowski all day. If he wanted to he could have gone to him 10 times, but Hernandez and Gronkowski were eating Denver’s D alive that day.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that instead of wasting all of your time criticizing Craig’s article, maybe you should do some fact checking and in-depth analysis of your own before criticizing others.

    Stay classy, and troll somewhere else.

  • craig.nicepickcowher

    @BrooklynBoyKP London Fletcher has only played for one playoff team – Redskins in 2007. That’s it since 2001. Do your homework. D’Qwell Jackson has played for Browns whole career since 2006. Brownies last playoff appearance, 2002. Chad Greenway was on the Vikes in playoff years in ’08 and ’09 – one year less than 100 tackles. You act as if these guys have been on high caliber teams their whole careers. Do your homework.

    You don’t get the gist of the article. Thanks anyways.

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  • craig.nicepickcowher

    @BrooklynBoyKP From Football Outsiders: Ike Taylor has a 70% success rate in defending passes. He’s been thrown at 72 times this season and has only allowed 20 passes caught. That’s better than all CB’s except for Revis and Greer. Plus his average yards per pass allowed is 4.9 yards. That’s better than Bailey and Joseph. Sounds to me like Ike Taylor has had the better season in being a consistent and better defending corner.

  • craig.nicepickcowher

    @DomDiTolla@BrooklynBoyKP From Football Outsiders: Ike Taylor has a 70% success rate in defending passes. He’s been thrown at 72 times this season and has only allowed 20 passes caught. That’s better than all CB’s except for Revis and Greer. Plus his average yards per pass allowed is 4.9 yards. That’s better than Bailey and Joseph. Sounds to me like Ike Taylor has had the better season in being a consistent and better defending corner.

  • craig.nicepickcowher

    @BrooklynBoyKP From Football Outsiders: Ike Taylor has a 70% success rate in defending passes. He’s been thrown at 72 times this season and has only allowed 20 passes caught. That’s better than all CB’s except for Revis and Greer. Plus his average yards per pass allowed is 4.9 yards. That’s better than Bailey and Joseph. Sounds to me like Ike Taylor has had the better season in being a consistent and better defending corner.

  • craig.nicepickcowher

    @DomDiTolla@BrooklynBoyKP From Football Outsiders: Ike Taylor has a 70% success rate in defending passes. He’s been thrown at 72 times this season and has only allowed 20 passes caught. That’s better than all CB’s except for Revis and Greer. Plus his average yards per pass allowed is 4.9 yards. That’s better than Bailey and Joseph. Sounds to me like Ike Taylor has had the better season in being a consistent and better defending corner.