So in a way, cornerback Richard Sherman called it earlier today when he said he would be frustrated if only five Seahawks made it again.
“Sometimes you feel like your teammates are getting punished for being on a good team,” he said.
Ultimately, five is what the Seahawks got — Sherman, safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas, running back Marshawn Lynch and linebacker Bobby Wagner.
Five others were alternates — defensive tackle Michael Bennett, quarterback Russell Wilson, kicker Steven Hauschka, left tackle Russell Okung and center Max Unger. Those players can be named to the game if a selected member cannot participate. Okung and Unger are first alternates, Bennett and Hauschka second alternates and Wilson the third alternate.
To me, Bennett and Wilson are the obvious players you could point to as snubs. In some ways, Bennett might have the bigger argument. He has been one of the heart and soul players of the best defense in the NFL, on the field for 84.2 percent of the snaps (details here) eighth most among defensive linemen. But he doesn’t have a lot of sexy number — seven sacks isn’t near the top of NFL leaders, for instance. He’s a player who I think you have to watch every week to really appreciate his value.
Wilson certainly has an argument, as well. But of the six QBs named — Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, Tony Romo — there’s not really a bad choice in the bunch. Maybe just need to add more quarterbacks. Manning might be the one to argue given his play of late. But then, he’s Peyton Manning. He wasn’t going to not make it.
I think defensive players such as Cliff Avril and K.J. Wright have also played to a Pro Bowl level at times this season. But again, neither has real eye-popping numbers (Avril 4.5 sacks, for instance). And for better or worse, that’s what the selections often come down to.
For what it’s worth, lots of players will be claiming to be snubbed — here’s an NFL.com listing which has Bennett among its honorable mentions.
Judging by their Twitter accounts, Seattle players mostly seemed happy enough:
Thank you to everyone who voted for my teammates and myself. Greatly appreciated
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) December 24, 2014