Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Should Cam Newton make the Pro Bowl?

The NFL's official website is already taking fan votes on who should make the Pro Bowl this season (here's the link if you want to vote).

And while it seems too early, you have to bear in mind that both the NBA and MLB basically select their all-stars based on a half-season of play as well. In the NFL, the fans' vote counts for one third of the total vote, with coaches' votes and players' votes counting a third apiece as well (the players and coaches won't vote for about a month -- the game is in Hawaii the week before the Super Bowl, meaning anyone who is about to play in the Super Bowl won't go and an alternate will be selected).

So my question to you today is:

Should Cam Newton make the Pro Bowl?

Here are the facts as I see them:

The NFC will have three quarterbacks on its roster for the Pro Bowl (often, the fourth quarterback in voting ends up playing, since one of the three often is hurt or in the Super Bowl).

There is one shoo-in. Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers not only should be selected as the starter but should end up being this season's NFL MVP. He's quarterbacking an undefeated team, he has 20 touchdown passes and only three interceptions -- he's smack in the middle of his prime, playing better than anyone in the league.

For No.2 quarterback I'd pick Drew Brees. He's had some interception problems this season (throwing 10) but he still is a surgical quarterback and one of the best in the league. While it's been somewhat of a down year for Brees, his standards are so high. Having watched him firsthand for a number of years I still think he's all-star worthy, and he leads the NFL in passing yardage.

But you could argue for a number of quarterbacks other than Rodgers for spots 2 and 3. Here are the primary contenders besides Brees:

Eli Manning, NY Giants: 13 passing TDs, 5 interceptions, a QB rating second only to Rodgers in NFC.

Matthew Stafford, Detroit: 19 passing TDs, 4 interceptions, leading Detroit to a breakout season.

Michael Vick, Philadelphia: 11 passing TDs, 8 interceptions, leads all QBs in rushing yardage per game at 60.3 (Newton is slightly under 40 per game).

Alex Smith, San Francisco: 9 passing TDs, 2 interceptions, modest numbers but the 49ers are 6-1.

Tony Romo, Dallas: 11 TDs, 7 interceptions, has made some big plays and big errors so far this season.

Cam Newton, Carolina: 11 passing TDs, 9 interceptions, 7 rushing TDs (tied for third in the NFL among all players), 2393 passing yards (second only to Brees in the NFL), leads NFL in pass plays over 20 yards (40), but Carolina is only 2-6 -- a worse record than any of the other QBs I'd put under consideration.

The Panthers will definitely have some offensive representation at this year's Pro Bowl. Steve Smith is a lock. Jordan Gross and Ryan Kalil are likely -- both linemen played in the game last year.

But what about Newton? Too much, too soon? Too many turnovers? Not enough wins? Or is his dazzling talent worthy of a Pro Bowl slot in his rookie year?

Remember, you can vote here. NOTE: I've had to disable the comments for this blog post -- thanks to the 95 percent of readers who kept it clean, wrote thoughtful posts and remembered that this blog is also read by many young students. Unfortunately, about 5 percent of the commenters were so profane -- and those popped up so frequently -- that I eventually had to shut them down.