Voting for the NFL Pro Bowl ends on Tuesday at noon. So, I wanted to go online and vote, not so much to get my voice heard, but because I wanted to get a glimpse of the process. What did I find? The voting is completely fraudulent.
Why? Let’s take a look:
-First and foremost, the fact that fans get to vote is an unmitigated joke. Football is #1 for me, that’s what I follow the closest. And I follow the NFL as close or closer than 99% of America. That said, am I really qualified to vote on what AFC guard is having the best season? And if I’m not fit to judge, is Joe Average Fan? Of course not. So what happens then? I’ll tell you what happens, people vote for the names they know and not who is having the best season. So making the Pro Bowl has more to do with what player had their stomach circled by John Madden while he talks about how much turkey they can eat at Thanksgiving, and less to do with who is doing the best job.
It’s one thing for a fan to be able to look and see that Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White is leading the NFC in receiving yards, but it’s another to guess what right tackle has been the most dominant. You are either guessing or regurgitating what an NFL writer or talking head has stated.
And another note on fans: how many are going to just vote for the players on their favorite teams? Lots, that’s how many. I guarantee that Detroit Lions G Gosder Cherilus gets some votes from the hometown fans despite the fact that he’s been benched this year (then again, I doubt any Lions fans are paying attention at this point).
-They don’t put any stats next to the names. There aren’t any stats for offensive lineman as it is (unless they want to include sacks given up, but that doesn’t tell the whole story) so that part of the voting is even more of a farce. I had juuuust enough brain power to know that I should check NFL.com as a refresher to see who is doing what on the stat sheet (there are always some eye openers). Will the average fan? Probably not. There is no reason not to have some information next to someone’s name besides position and team. If you don’t think to check some stats and don’t live in the Bay Area, you don’t know how good Raiders LB Kirk Morrison is.
-Even if they did have stats, stats are misleading. When voting for a punter, it’s easy to go for who has the highest net. Does that take into account the fact that a team stinks and the punter always has his feet on his own 20-yard line and just goes bombs away? Nope. How about a punter like Jeff Feagles, who is on a phenomenal team? He’s regularly asked to pooch the ball in the “coffin corner,” which is going to hurt his net. Does the NFL care about this? Apparently not.
-The players you can vote for on kick returns is not accurate. I wanted to vote for Bills rookie Leodis McKelvin as the AFC’s kick returner. I said kick returner, not punt returner. NFL.com makes no distinction between the two. My only option was to vote for Roscoe Parrish, who I love, but is the Bills punt returner. McKelvin was not even an option to vote for. Guess who won’t be making the Pro Bowl this year despite being towards the top in number of returns and second in yards-per-return (Jericho Cotchery is first, but has only one return, which disqualifies him as far as I – and anyone else that has half a brain – am concerned)?
And it’s a good thing I didn’t want to vote for Eagles safety Quinton Demps as a Pro Bowl kick returner. I couldn’t have if I wanted to because they only list DeSean Jackson as a kick returner. Jackson doesn’t return kicks for the Eagles, he returns punts.
-Here is my conclusion: Take voting away from the fans and give it to people who are educated on the subject. You could have scouts, general managers or other NFL executives cast their votes. They know the deal. They are paid to know the deal (unless you work in Cincinnati). These people study film as part of their jobs.
Like I said, I follow the NFL intensely, but I still have not watched full game footage and breakdowns of Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas. I haven’t done in-depth research on the game situations for San Diego Chargers P Mike Scifres. I, therefore, should not get a vote and help to decide who goes to the Pro Bowl and gets a nice bump in negotiations for their next contract.
Hopefully, the NFL will remove their heads from their rear ends and put the voting in the hands of those who are qualified to do so. Oh, and if you want to vote before Tuesday’s noon deadline, log on to NFL.com.