The Pro Bowl is a popularity contest, and hardly anyone takes the selections seriously.
Perhaps that’s why Titans fans will shrug off this year’s selections, Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown, the only two Titans players to make the NFL’s All Star game.
These two deserve a hearty congratulations, as Henry leads all players in rushing yards (1,679) and is tied for tops in rushing touchdowns with Dalvin Cook (15). Brown, meanwhile, is tied for fifth in the league in receiving touchdowns (10) and ninth in yards-per-catch (Corey Davis is eighth). Both players are more than deserving of their spots.
But what about Ryan Tannehill? What about any offensive lineman responsible for paving Henry’s way to the league lead in rushing? What about Malcolm Butler, who was number two in fan voting just a month ago?
Apparently, none of them are worthy of the great honor that is a Pro Bowl selection (yes, that is sarcasm).
Tannehill was beat out by Patrick Mahomes (obviously), Josh Allen, and Deshaun Watson. Again, it’s a popularity contest, and for whatever reason — maybe Adam Gase is to blame — Tannehill simply isn’t popular among fans and national media critics.
So despite leading the entire NFL in expected points added per play, despite throwing four more touchdowns than Watson on 42 less pass attempts, with one less interception, and 24 less sacks taken, and despite running for one more touchdown than Watson on 49 less carries, Tannehill will not be invited to participate in the week-long series of matchups featuring celebrities, NFL Legends, current players and streamers who will play the official Pro Bowl rosters on Madden NFL 21.
But Henry and Brown will. It’s Henry’s second career Pro Bowl selection and second straight appearance, while Brown has been selected for the first time in what is his second NFL season.
The Titans are a small market team. And even sitting at 10 wins atop their division — with a 98% chance of making the playoffs and fresh off an AFC Championship appearance, with the top offense in the NFL in terms of expected points added per play, total yards, total points, and total touchdowns — isn’t enough to overcome that small market status.
The Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, and nine other teams have more Pro Bowl selections than the Titans, because winning games and being good at football are not actually important to making the Pro Bowl.
Luckily, the Pro Bowl is completely meaningless, but it is unfortunate for guys who could’ve received a nice bonus for making the roster. Last year, Tannehill made an extra $100K. But not this year.
There won’t even be a 2021 Pro Bowl, so the “it doesn’t matter, they won’t be playing in the Pro Bowl anyway *winky face*” joke is irrelevant. You can go on making that joke if you want to, but just know that no one will be playing in a Pro Bowl game at the end of this season.
Don’t hold out hope that Tannehill and others will make it as an alternate, either. Because there is no game to be played, there are no alternates to be named. So this is it. The Titans have two guys.
I guess it’s better than zero!