Friday, November 21, 2008

2009 Pro Bowl - AFC vs. The Washington Redskins?

By JC De La Torre

In a nearly inconceivably laughable circumstance and brilliant campaigning by the Washington Redskins, 20 members of the 6-4 Washington Redskins are leading in fan voting for their respective positions for the Pro Bowl. The Redskins have had an aggressive Obama-styled get out the vote campaign that has led to the Redskins leading the NFC ballots in 16 of 19 positions, eight of the 11 NFC starters on both offense and defense would be Redskins, plus all four special teams players. Shawn Springs who has missed six games with injuries, is the leading vote-getter at cornerback.

None of the 7-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers or 8-2 Carolina Panthers are leading in any position and only Justin Tuck of the 9-1 New York Giants is leading at his position. Basically, the Redskin fans have made a mockery of the Pro Bowl. However, they are not to blame, nor is the Redskin organization. The National Football League invited this kind of sham with the "Vote Again" option. If you had the stamina and the where-with-all to do so - you could vote a million times for the same player and "stuff the ballot box". The NFL invited this type of silliness.

This is not to say that when the Pro Bowl kicks off in February that 20 of the 22 positions will have Redskins as starters. Fan voting is just one third of the complicated equation that the NFL uses to decide who earns a trip to Honolulu. Some players, like Fullback Mike Sellers, has such a substantial lead in voting that even votes from the players and coaches vote for others it will not matter.

Needless to say, its likely because of the chicanery of the Redskin fans that the Buccaneers and perhaps the majority of the second best division in football, the NFC South, will be shut out of the Pro Bowl proving what a farce this game really has become. How not one player from three teams with a combine record of 21-9 .700 (Tampa, Carolina, Atlanta) goes to the Pro Bowl is proof enough that the game needs to be done away with and league all-star honors should be issued by players, coaches, and beat writers. Fans should not be included when deciding player's bonuses and hall of fame credentials.

Ironically, most NFL players have incentives for making the Pro Bowl in their contracts. If all 20 players made the Pro Bowl, not only would Daniel Snyder get drilled in the pocket book, it could have damaging ramifications to the team's salary cap for next year. Redskin fans could be hurting their team's ability to compete in 2009.

No comments: