Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cam got robbed and other Pro Bowl notes

Cam Newton will almost certainly end up in Hawaii, playing in the Pro Bowl for the NFC, but the rookie quarterback wasn't selected outright to the team.

That, my friends, was a bad decision. Cam got robbed. I have no argument whatsoever with Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees going in ahead of Cam -- Rodgers should be the NFL MVP this year and Brees just broke Dan Marino's single-season yardage record.

But Newton should have been the third choice over the New York Giants' Eli Manning, winning his spot cleanly rather than having to wait for either Rodgers or Brees to make the Super Bowl (no Super Bowl players play in the Pro Bowl now, since the game is the week before the Super Bowl) or someone to pull out with an injury. (Newton is the first alternate at QB, and first alternates nearly always end up playing at that position).

Let's look at the numbers. Manning has more passing yards (4587 to 3893) and his team has more wins (8 to 6). His quarterback rating is slightly higher (90.3 to 85.0). Interceptions are equal (16 each).

But Newton was responsible for far more TDs, and that's the category that truly separates these two. Manning had 26 passing TDs to Cam's 20, but Cam had 14 rushing TDs to Manning's one. That makes the overall TD total 34 for Cam and 27 for Eli. Manning also had the benefit of playing in a weaker division (I'm not sure anyone in the NFC East really deserves a playoff berth).

In fact, the way I would have ordered the NFC quarterbacks would be like this:

1: Rodgers
2: Brees
3: Newton
4: Matthew Stafford (36 passing TDs and a playoff berth)
5. Manning

As for Panther center Ryan Kalil making it again, I don't judge offensive linemen very well but those who do for a living say he's great at what he does and I believe them. Steve Smith was an absolute shoo-in and should have been voted in as a starter in front of Larry Fitzgerald (I have no quarrel with Calvin Johnson as the other starter).

OT Jordan Gross and RB DeAngelo Williams may both end up in Hawaii, too -- they were selected as alternates. One player who should have been picked at least as an alternate but wasn't -- Carolina cornerback Chris Gamble, who has had an underrated, really good season.