Before we go any further, let's just get one thing out of the way, right off the bat. The NFL Pro Bowl is arguably the worst All-Star Game in sports, thanks to the almost complete lack of caring on the part of 90% of the participating players and the hilariously awful results of fan-voting. Okay, now that we understand that, let's talk about which former Penn Staters have proven to be popular enough to be voted in, and which ones were snubbed.
Who Got In?
Two of Linebacker U's best will be representing their teams in the Hawaii on January 31st, as Tamba Hali of the Kansas City Chiefs and NaVorro Bowman of the San Francisco 49ers will head down to the country's most tropical state to play alongside some of the league's best.
Bowman has been his usual beastly self, already accounting for 136 tackles and 2.0 sacks in 2015, with two games still remaining. He has more than picked up the slack in the absence of his long-time partner, Patrick Willis, even if the rest of the 49ers roster has struggled.
Hali is also having his typical strong season, with 48 tackles, 6.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles thus far. He's also one of the leaders for a Kansas City defense that has proven themselves to be one of the league's best.
It will be Bowman's third Pro Bowl, and Hali's fifth.
Who Was Left Out?
One of media's most popular "snubs" for this year's Pro Bowl is second-year wide receiver, Allen Robinson. Robinson has been one of the league's most consistent and brightest stars at the wide receiver position in 2015, but still managed to only be named a first-alternate for the team.
Here's where Robinson currently ranks among all NFL receivers in various statistical categories.
Receiving Yards: 1,141 (7th)
Yards per Catch: 16.5 (2nd among receivers with 60+ catches)
Touchdowns: 13 (T-1st with Doug Baldwin and Odell Beckham Jr.)
20+ yard catches: 26 (1st, leads by 5 catches)
Catches: 69 (nice)
It's not quite a sure-fire snub, as the voted in receivers are all having very nice seasons, as well. The voted in receivers were as follows: Odell Beckham (Giants), Antonio Brown (Steelers), Larry Fitzgerald (Cardinals), A.J. Green (Bengals), DeAndre Hopkins (Texans), Calvin Johnson (Lions), Julio Jones (Falcons), Brandon Marshall (Jets).
While none of those players are undeserving, there is one that sticks out who was inferior to Robinson in nearly every category in 2015: Calvin Johnson.
Johnson, while having a solid season, has not been himself in 2015. So far, he trails Robinson in nearly every notable category aside from receptions (Johnson has 72). However, when a second-year player on a bad team is up against a perennial Pro-Bowler and former number two overall pick, the choice is clear for voters.
The other big former Penn Stater to be snubbed was Cowboys middle linebacker, Sean Lee. Finally healthy, Lee has been on a tear in 2015, accounting for 113 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 1 interception and 5 passes defended. He has been a dominant force in the middle, as he always has been for Dallas when he's been on the field.
Lee plays outside linebacker in the Cowboys 4-3 scheme, which means he is up against prolific pass-rushers who play in more "sack-friendly" 3-4 schemes. This leads to Lee going up in the voting against names such as DeMarcus Ware, Von Miller, Justin Houston, and Hali. So while Lee is probably a more complete player than all those he was up against, he doesn't have the sexy sack numbers to back up his play.
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What do you think? Do you think Bowman and Hali are worthy of their Pro-Bowl recognition? Were A-Rob and Lee snubbed? Was anyone else snubbed? Do you even care? Also, check out the full voting results, here.