Look at London Fletcher and Brian Orakpo in that picture. See how happy they look in those hideous blue Pro Bowl jerseys? If you want them to be that happy this year — and to wear whatever this year’s incarnation of that jersey will be — you’re now officially rooting for the Chicago Bears to get to the Super Bowl, and it’s all Patrick Willis’ fault.
Now that the Pro Bowl is before the Super Bowl (meaning that players from the two Super Bowl teams don’t participate), that’s how I’ve been choosing my non-Redskins rooting interest. And up until San Francisco linebacker Patrick Willis ruled himself out of the Pro Bowl with a hand injury, you had a few choices. You could’ve rooted for Green Bay OR Chicago to get to the Super Bowl, either of which would’ve moved Orakpo up from first alternate.
Or you could’ve rooted for Atlanta to get in, which would’ve moved Mike Sellers from alternate onto the roster in place of Ovie Mughelli. (Atlanta getting in would also have inched Lorenzo Alexander closer to the roster as a special teams ace in place of Eric Weems, but there’d still be an unknown alternate in the way.) Atlanta in the Super Bowl would also have moved Chris Cooley one spot closer, but you’d still be waiting for Jason Witten or Vernon Davis to burst into flames (or otherwise back out), and that seems like a waste of hoping energy.
But with Willis’ injury, Fletcher is now next in line for an inside linebacker position in Hawaii. And he actually has a pretty good shot of going — if EITHER New Orleans OR Chicago goes to the Super Bowl, Fletcher’s a Pro Bowler again. But if Chicago goes, that also moves Lance Briggs out of the running and sends Orakpo to Hawaii with Fletcher.
And say what you will about the Pro Bowl voting process being flawed (it probably is) or the honor being somewhat diminished by the new format (definitely): both of these guys transitioned to a complicated new defense this year, and being recognized like this for it would be a rare positive in a season where Redskins defenders didn’t hear a lot of compliments.
Plus it would make the Bears responsible for all three Redskins in the Pro Bowl, since DeAngelo Hall probably doesn’t make it without Jay Cutler throwing him four interceptions in one game.
So, um, hail to the Bears, or whatever it is they say in Chicago.
Tags: 2011 pro bowl, Brian Orakpo, london fletcher
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