Pro Bowl Problem

As usual, the announcement of the AFC and NFC Pro Bowl teams came with some surprises, some obvious choices and some that made no sense at all. When it came to the Dolphins, the first thing that jumped out wasn't so much Chad Pennington not making the team, but the AFC quarterbacks including Brett Favre. Is that a joke?

Favre was one of three quarterbacks chosen along with Peyton Manning and Jay Cutler. Now, we didn't think Pennington was a cinch to make the team, but we figured the guy who might beat him out would be San Diego's Philip Rivers, and not Favre.

The truth is Favre has no business being on this team. The biggest reason is his total of 17 interceptions, which leads the entire NFL.

Pennington, meanwhile, is at the other end of that spectrum with a league-low six picks.

But there's more statistical evidence to support Pennington's case over that of Favre. When it comes to the six major passing categories, Pennington ranked higher than Favre in four of them: rating, yards, average yards per attempt and interceptions. Favre had the advantage in completion percentage and touchdowns.

It's funny that Pennington has this perception of a dink-and-dunker who does nothing but complete short passes, yet his average was higher than Favre.

In terms of team success, both the Jets and Dolphins are 9-5 and we would argue all day that Pennington has been a lot more instrumental in that record than Favre. In fact, we might argue that the Jets are 9-5 despite and not because of him.

Don't believe it: Just look at last Sunday's game when the Jets won only because Buffalo decided it would be a good idea to throw on second down right before the two-minute warning while holding a three-point despite the fact Marshawn Lynch already had almost 130 yards rushing.

And how about the Jets' victory over Kansas City when a Favre interception returned for a touchdown gave the Chiefs a late lead.

Pennington, on the other hand, has done nothing but make clutch throws in the fourth quarter for the Dolphins.

Now, Favre is an icon who will go into the Hall of Fame after his career is over and maybe this was some sort of a career recognition thing. But in terms of merit, Favre did not belong in the Pro Bowl over Pennington.

Favre was one of six Jets players to selected to the Pro Bowl, which was four more than the Dolphins or Patriots. Yet the three teams are tied at 6-2, so what gives here?

When it comes to the Dolphins, the truth is they really didn't have guys who were slam dunks beyond Joey Porter. Ronnie Brown also made the team, mostly on the strength of his 11 touchdowns, but certainly wasn't a sure thing.

Porter was one of three Dolphins players who led the fan voting, the other two being tackle Jake Long and kicker Dan Carpenter.

Long would have been a worthy candidate, but he faced tough competition from different sources, including fellow rookie Ryan Clady of the Broncos. The choices at tackle were Michael Roos of Tennessee, Joe Thomas of Cleveland and Jason Peters of Buffalo

No arguments with the selections of Roos or Thomas, but Peters held out until after the regular season had begun and struggled for most of the season trying to make up for lost time. There probably wouldn't be many folks in Buffalo telling you he played at a Pro Bowl level many times this season.

As for Carpenter, his leading the fan voting was a major surprise given he's a rookie and he's also not exactly a household name, having played at Montana.

He's had a good year, but clearly not as good as the one turned in so far by New England's Stephen Gostkowski, who ended up getting the nod.

The bottom line is the Dolphins have won because of contributions from several different places. The two guys who clearly had made the biggest difference have been Porter and Pennington.

Porter got his just due, and that was good to see. Pennington didn't, but it wouldn't have been so frustrating had he been beaten out by someone who actually has outperformed him.

That clearly wasn't the case with Favre. So just like Favre and his mystique led to his being released by the Jets, that same Favre mystique cost Pennington a spot in the Pro Bowl.

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