The Pro Bowl game has long been a horrible idea for a lot of reasons.
It’s just another chance for players to get hurt, which is why they don’t try very hard, which is why the quality has gotten worse and worse.
It is played at the end of the season because it has to be, and fans don’t really care about it.
The honor is watered down by attrition as one player after another begs out of the game, bestowing the title of “Pro Bowl player” on guys who might be the fifth- or sixth-best players at their positions.
The idea of killing the game is not new — we’ve said for 20 years it should be not be played. But the ever clever powers that be in the league are now actually considering it. Good. Kill it, please.
It’s OK to honor players without having them play a nonsensical, inconsequential game. That’s what the All-Pro list by The Associated Press does.
As some have suggested, the league should have a gala honoring its stars during Super Bowl week. Just the ones voted all-stars by fans, coaches and players. No freebie honors because guys cannot play in the game.
Of course, that would have knocked out four of the five Seahawks who went to the Pro Bowl last season, but that is fine.
For now, the game will go on, and the players will get a “Pro Bowl player” title and trip to Hawaii out of it.
This year, the Hawks again have a number of players worthy of consideration.
Marshawn Lynch, the league’s No. 2 rusher, is a lock to make it. Cornerback Richard Sherman would be a lock if he weren’t going to be suspended; he leads the league with 23 passes defended and is tied for second with seven interceptions.
As many as eight other Seahawks figure to finish fairly high in the voting.
Max Unger could be the NFC center. Jeff Saturday was voted in by fans based only on name recognition — he has been benched by the Packers, and coaches and players surely know who the best centers are. His top competition would seem to be Jonathan Goodwin of the 49ers and John Sullivan of the Vikings, who have the league’s leading rusher in Adrian Peterson.
Left tackle Russell Okung also could make it. Matt Kalil, Joe Staley and Trent Williams are his top competition. Okung has nine penalties (six false starts) and one sack allowed, but most of his penalties came early in the season. He held Aldon Smith, the league’s co-leader in sacks, without a sack Sunday.
Kalil has just four penalties but has allowed 4.5 sacks. Staley has five penalties and seven sacks allowed. Williams has five penalties and 5.5 sacks allowed.
Earl Thomas was the lone Seahawk voted in as a starter last season, when he had 98 tackles, two interceptions and seven passes defended. He has just 63 tackles this season, with three picks (one for an amazing touchdown) and nine passes defended. Tampa Bay’s ageless Ronde Barber (87 tackles, four picks, 13 PD) could beat him out this season.
Michael Robinson, Chris Clemons, Brandon Mebane, Leon Washington and Heath Farwell all deserve some consideration as well.
Robinson was an injury replacement last season and will gain notice again as the lead blocker for the No. 2 rusher in the league.
Clemons is tied with Julius Peppers for the NFC sack lead among ends, with 11.5. But he might get aced out by better-known players such as John Abraham (10), Jared Allen (10) and Charles Johnson (10.5).
Mebane has cooled off since a stellar first half, but he has 53 tackles and three sacks and certainly is one of the top handful of defensive tackles in the league.
Washington leads the NFC with a 30.1-yard average on kick returns, with one touchdown. His punt numbers aren’t as good (8.6, ranking 21st), but he has been a big weapon for Seattle at times.
Farwell has 16 special-teams tackles, which is third in the NFC.