Last year’s Pro Bowl campaign was a blanket job, designed to get the vote out for the Redskins across the board. That made some kind of sense at the time; the team had started 6-2 and it seemed perfectly reasonable (sort of) to try to send them all to Hawaii. Given the way this year started, that approach seems … not so good.
But there are at least three players that are more than deserving of Pro Bowl consideration, and since I’ve decided to start nagging everyone to vote for them, I figure I should make each of their arguments here.
1) London Fletcher
I think this has been well-covered by now. Peter King named him to the All-Decade team, but he’s never been to a Pro Bowl. Dan Steinberg transcribed a statistic from NFL Network comparing the careers of Fletcher and much-admired Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis:
Fletcher: 172 games, 1,446 total tackles, 30 sacks, 12 forced fumbles, 0 Pro Bowls
Lewis: 159 games, 1,434 total tackles, 29 sacks, 13 forced fumbles, 9 Pro Bowls
Steinberg calls that “absurd”; I’d probably have gone with “ridiculous”. Either way, the point remains: historically, Fletcher should’ve been in several Pro Bowls by now.
And this year? Yeah, he’s definitely in the conversation.
Patrick Willis of the 49ers is having a statistically better season at the MLB position, but Fletcher and Jon Beason of the Panthers are right behind. Fletcher is tied with Beason for second in the NFC in total tackles, with 118. They both have two sacks. Beason has three takeaways (all interceptions), while Fletcher has one interception and one forced fumble.
It’s a tight race, statistically. But Fletcher has a few intangibles going for him as well. He’s the unquestioned leader of the defense, emotionally and tactically. His pregame speeches make ME want to run through a brick wall, and I’m not much of a brick wall runner. And he’s managed to concuss two of the Eagles major skill players, DeSean Jackson and Brian Westbrook.
(NOTE: Concussions are extremely serious things, and you should go to the CDC’s special concussion web page to learn more about preventing them and recognizing their symptoms, and then you should read Malcolm Gladwell’s terrifying article about football-related concussions … but still, concussing Westbrook and Jackson has to be noted in the list of Fletcher’s accomplishments.)
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