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Inside the Numbers: Matthew Stafford Shows Why Pro Bowl Selection Process is Flawed

December 27th, 2012 at 11:23 AM
By Max DeMara

Last year, when the NFL Pro Bowl rosters were announced, all everyone could argue was how badly Matthew Stafford had been stiffed.

He had joined the select club of 5,000 yard passers while tossing 41 touchdowns to only 17 interceptions. His completion percentage was over 60 percent, and he was a main reason the Lions were winning and lighting up scoreboards. Despite all of this, Stafford didn't so much as get a nod as a Pro Bowl alternate. It was an unfair.

Now, this season, just the exact opposite has happened. Stafford, despite a season with only 17 touchdowns to 16 interceptions and lower numbers across the board, has been named a Pro Bowl alternate for the NFC. Were the powers that be simply making up for last season's mistake this year? That's the only logical assumption.

Last season, in addition to Stafford, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees were doing the exact same things at quarterback, if not slightly better. This season, outside of Eli Manning and Drew Brees, the NFC didn't boast nearly the same impressive depth at the position. But going with Stafford as first alternate instead of Brees? That decision seems particularly fishy.

Why? When compared, Stafford and Brees' numbers simply don't add up. Consider that Brees has tossed 39 touchdowns, has a more realistic shot at eclipsing the 5,000 yard mark than Stafford and has a better completion percentage. Also, take into account what was supposed to happen to the Detroit Lions' and New Orleans Saints' teams. In the wake of the "bountygate" scandal and losing Sean Payton, the Saints were supposed to disappear and become crippled. The Lions, buoyed by last season's success, were supposed to take aim at a deep playoff run. The last three weeks, New Orleans has hung around the playoff picture longer than Detroit has, thanks in part to the leadership of Brees. Like what Stafford did last year, that should count for something.

None of this is to discount the early career accomplishments of Stafford, who certainly deserved to be included last season. Merely, each of these decisions showcases why the Pro Bowl as a whole has become a laughingstock. The players barely want to attend the event, and it's become perhaps the most boring exhibition affair in professional sports, considering nothing's on the line. Recently, Rodgers even wondered if the event should survive. Coming from a player regularly selected to attend, that's a scathing indictment.

This time, going inside Stafford's numbers only serves to prove what everyone already knows again: the Pro Bowl selection process is shaky at best, and it only serves to weaken an already dissipating football tradition.

Max DeMara is the managing editor of Lions 101. You can find him on his personal Twitter account @SportsGuyTheMax or on this site's Twitter @detroitlions101

Tags: Detroit, Detroit Lions, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Football, Matthew Stafford, NFL, Pro Bowl

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