The NFL Pro Bowl teams were announced a couple days ago, and as usual there were snubs galore. Because, as it is with every all star team in professional sports, it boils down to a popularity contest. At least the NFL only gives the fan vote a third of the weight, with the players and coaches each having a third say as well. Even with the 3rd/3rd/3rd voting format for the Pro Bowl, you still have good all star worthy young players needing an extra year before they get that league wide recognition. When a young player is essentially battling a “name” player for one final spot, you can safely assume the youngster will be left home.
Two of the quarterbacks voted in for the NFC were no-brainers, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. Both are putting up astronomical numbers, and both rank either 1 or 2 in passing yards, TD passes, QB rating, and completion percentage. It’s the 3rd QB elected into the game that has irked so many, not because he isn’t having a real good year, but because someone is having a better year.
Eli Manning has a few things going for him that Matthew Stafford dosen’t. First and foremost, Eli plays in New York. It’s just sexier than Detroit. It’s not a knock on the Motor City, it’s just that New York gets more mainstream media love than Detroit does. The Giants play in a bigger market and more of their games were on National TV.
Secondly the Giants, and Eli Manning, have a better track record for success. This will be Staffords 1st year, of his 3, that he has played all 16 games. And it’s the 1st time the Lions have been relevant in a long time. Eli has a Super Bowl MVP, a previous Pro Bowl nod, and an 8 year career. He simply has a better name for the voters, and speaking of that name…
Eli is a Manning. That’s a tough one for Stafford to overcome. If it comes down to Stafford vs. Manning for the casual fan, and even with the coaches and players, they are going to go with who they are used to seeing.
But there are a few areas where Stafford holds the edge. The Lions, with Stafford under center, have already locked up a playoff spot. Manning has to win this Sunday to get the Giants in the post season.
Then there are the stats. Manning has only 1 category over Stafford. Yards passing. After 15 games he holds a slim 69 yard edge. Stafford has him bettered in competition percentage (63.7% to 60.1%), passing TDs (36 to 26), and QB rating (96.6 to 90.3). Manning has even thrown more interceptions than Stafford (16 to 14) and he’s fumbled more that Matthew too (8 to 5).
I know Lions fans are in an uproar over Stafford’s snub, but this entire thing will most likely be a moot point as many players back out of the game, either due to an injury or because they have prior commitments, so Stafford could end up in Hawaii after all. Unless of course, he leads his team to the Super Bowl, in which case Detroit fans will quickly forget the snub.