For the sixth time in his brilliant career, Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis has been selected to the NFL's Pro Bowl. His 17.5 sacks this season are a career single-season high for the 11-year veteran, and they rank second to fellow Pro Bowler Robert Quinn of the Rams, who has 18 sacks.
It's easy to bash the Pro Bowl as little more than a popularity contest, but, somewhat surprisingly, the selections this year are pretty reflective of who the best players in the NFL actually are.
For example, even though Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is the No. 1 reason Indianapolis has 10 wins in 16 weeks, his somewhat pedestrian completion percentage (59%) and low touchdown numbers (22 passing) don't really compare with the QBs who did make the Pro Bowl: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and Philip Rivers.
Pro Bowl selections this year were made regardless of what conference players resided in.
However, don't fret Luck lovers. Brady is likely to ditch the Pro Bowl, as he often does every year. When he does, Luck will likely be considered as an alternate.
Unlike last year, where "name" players like Jeff Saturday got Pro Bowl nods based on recognition and not what they'd done on the field that season, it's nice to see players like Trent Williams, John Abraham, and Brent Grimes get noticed for the fine seasons they've had.
The first-ever Pro Bowl Draft will be nationally televised during a live three-hour prime-time broadcast on NFL Network at 8:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, January 22nd. Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will select the players who received Pro Bowl invites to play on their respective squads.
The 2014 Pro Bowl will happen on January 26 on NBC at 7:00 p.m. ET from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, HI.