Four of the Baltimore Ravens have been selected for the Pro Bowl, the least number since 2009. A total of six were selected in 2012, while eight Ravens were a part of it in 2011.
Clearly the most deserving is second-year kicker Justin Tucker. His accomplishments this season will be difficult for him to match again in any other year – including 33 consecutive field goals, along with being the only kicker in NFL history to hit from 20,30,40,50, and 60 yards in the same game (at Detroit).
Tucker has been a fun story and highlight of this very odd season. His personality is a real delight for teammates and fans. He commented upon the honor by saying,
“What an incredible honor it is to be recognized like this by the players, coaches and fans of the NFL. I am truly blessed to represent such a world-class organization, the Baltimore Ravens, and all of our fans who make up Ravens Nation. I will forever be thankful to the Ravens for giving me a chance to come in and compete for a job after going undrafted last year.”
While Ngata has particularly had a good season among these three selections, it would appear that their career records and standing in the NFL helped their cause more than the particulars of the 2013 campaign. Given the difficulties of the running game for the Ravens and the sacks endured by Joe Flacco, the selection of Yanda is particularly curious.
There is much that is odd about the format and selection. Not helped by the dropping of a kick return specialist would be Jacoby Jones, who has excelled in that role this season. Jimmy Smith and Daryl Smith might also be able to make a case for being neglected.
Players are selected by a combined vote from fans, players, and coaches in order to determine 43 positions per team, with two additional long-snappers to be selected by Pro Bowl coaches. Former NFL stars Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice will draft two teams, meaning that players from the same regular season teams will be playing against one another in many cases.
These all-star contests in all sports are becoming more and more novelty events and exhibitions. I suppose many people find these games to have a high level of interest, though I would not honestly be one of them.
In any event, I am most pleased for Justin Tucker to have gained this well-deserved recognition.