Houston Texans players and fans alike feel as if they have been slighted with the results of this year’s Pro Bowl voting. After all of the votes were tallied the Texans managed to have only two players make it onto the roster. When compared to the other top teams in the AFC (Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, and Baltimore Ravens) the Texans representation is underwhelming to say the least. For the AFC team New England is sending eight players, Baltimore seven, and Pittsburgh five. In fact, there are three teams with a worse record than the Texans who are sending more players (San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos, and Oakland Raiders).
So what is wrong with this picture!?
It gets even worse when you consider that RB Arian Foster is not the starting running back despite having a better season than Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice. Jacksonville Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew lead the AFC in rushing yards followed by Foster while Rice came in third. However, Foster had more rushing TDs and managed to do all of this with two less games started than both Rice and Jones-Drew.
Likewise, Texans CB Johnathan Joseph was denied a starting position behind New York Jets player Darrelle Revis and Denver Broncos player Champ Bailey. Revis accumulated a total of 51 tackles, four INTs, and no forced fumbles. Bailey had 36 tackles, two INTs, and one forced fumble. Joseph had 44 tackles, four INTs, and one forced fumble. Notwithstanding is the fact that Joseph was an integral part of a defense that is ranked second in the NFL, not just the AFC.
Wait…it gets even better!
The Texans offensive line has opened up some of the largest running lanes in the league. Hell, a 747 could have landed in some of the gaps that the O-line created! They allowed Foster and Ben Tate to rush for more than 2,000 yards, they have allowed the sixth fewest QB sacks, and the seventh fewest QB hits. Additionally, they have helped protect the ball and minimized the take-aways helping lend to the sixth best turnover rate at +7. Yet, not a single offensive lineman from the Texans team was given a nod for this year’s Pro Bowl.
Defensively the Texans also came up short with standout players like ILB Brian Cushing and DE J.J. Watt not even being mentioned in the same breath as the words Pro Bowl.
How do these players stack up against other AFC players in their position? Good question!
Cushing, who plays ILB, is ranked sixth among players at his position according to NFL.com. Ray Lewis, of the Ravens, who got the starting position, is ranked 15th. Derrick Johnson, of the Kansas City Chiefs, will be his backup and is ranked third among linebackers in the AFC. As of this week the players (Cushing, Lewis, and Johnson) have the following stats, respectively: tackles – 110, 88, 126; sacks – 4.0, 2.0, 2.0; INTs – 2, 1, 2; and forced fumbles – 2, 2, 1. So the starting ILB has 22 less tackles, two less sacks, and one less INT than Brian Cushing!
Watt, much like Cushing, outshines a player who is starting for the AFC in the Pro Bowl. Dwight Freeney, who is the DE for the Indianapolis Colts, currently has 18 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles while Watt has 55 tackles and 5.5 sacks. However, Watt has also deflected four passes this season while Freeney has deflected none.
So, with all of the statistical data front and center it is hard to imagine how the Texans players could have overlooked so easily right!?
You see, the problem is not with the team but with the fans. For years Houston Texans fans have been use to mediocrity and half-hearted playing. They have tried to get behind their team each year but have been sadly disappointed when the season ended. Because of this the national media and football fans in general have never paid the team much attention. Finally, when a winning season comes along, the fans have a chance to make a difference by sending the favorite players to the Pro Bowl and this time it is the fans who come up short.
So, Texans fans, we really have no reason to sit back and whine and complain about our players not making it to the 2012 Pro Bowl. They gave us the best defense we have ever had, a playoff berth, and a sense of pride and accomplishment and what did we give them in return? Nothing!
This time its the Texans fans who get the F- grade. Fans should have been voting restlessly to get their players recognized for their outstanding play. It is the fans who should have raised their voice and said, “Here we are, we are the Texans!”. It is a sad day, Texans fans, because we, as fans, let our team down when they have overcome.