By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The 2019 Patriots have only three Pro Bowlers, two of which came from the defense. But you could easily argue that a few others deserved the honor. Inevitably, snubs are going to happen – but that doesn’t mean the snubbed Patriots need to like it.
Among the biggest 2019 Pro Bowl snubs on the Pats – in the AFC, really – are wide receiver Julian Edelman, linebacker Kyle Van Noy, and safety Devin McCourty. Edelman is third among all NFL wide receivers in receptions with 92, second in the AFC only to Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins. His numbers are comparable, if not flat-out better, than those of the Chargers’ Keenan Allen, the Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill, and the Browns’ Jarvis Landry (?!), all of which somehow made the team over him.
Van Noy and McCourty, meanwhile, have been two of the main reasons the Patriots’ defense has still allowed the fewest total yards and points per game. Van Noy has been the team’s most productive pass rusher with a career-best 6.5 sacks and 13 QB hits. McCourty is tied for second in the NFL in interceptions with five.
It’s tough sledding to argue Van Noy clearly deserved recognition at outside linebacker over the Steelers’ T.J. Watt (13 sacks), the Ravens’ Matt Judon (8.5 sacks), or the Broncos’ Von Miller (7.0 sacks). But what Van Noy has that those guys do not is a touchdown – his highlight-reel dive for the pylon against the Giants.
McCourty got snubbed, however, in favor of Ravens safety Earl Thomas. The latter is having a worse statistical season based on secondary play, but has five QB hits and 1.5 sacks so perhaps his safety blitzes are what got him in. It could just be name recognition, or the fact that he plays for the team with the NFL’s best record right now. It could simply be a matter of taking credit away from the Patriots’ players on defense and granting more of it to head coach Bill Belichick.
Whatever the reasons, Edelman, Van Noy, and McCourty did not get the votes they needed in order to make the Pro Bowl. And while the game itself doesn’t matter at all, the distinction of being known as a “Pro-Bowl” receiver/linebacker/safety is obviously important to a lot of guys. So Van Noy, McCourty, and other Patriots voiced their displeasure with the outcome of the Pro Bowl voting on social media.
But in better news, Stephon Gilmore, Dont’a Hightower, and Matthew Slater did make the AFC Pro Bowl roster. Especially if Gilmore didn’t make it? Riots. You can check out the full rosters, if you’re into that sort of thing, at NFL.com.
Hopefully, the Patriots are more interested in just winning another Super Bowl. I’ll take you back to a now-famous Tom Brady quote from 2012, when he spoke up to former teammate Brandon Spikes when he was upset he didn’t get selected to the Pro Bowl.
“Hey B, you think I play this s*** to go to Pro Bowls? Get it together. Get your head up. We’re trying to win rings. That’s what it is here,” Brady said, according to an interview with Spikes from SI.
Surely the likes of Edelman, Van Noy, and McCourty are still in this s*** to win rings. Just would’ve been nice to get the ol’ Pro Bowl distinction on top of another championship. Can’t win ’em all, I suppose. But they’ll have to once the playoffs roll around if they want to lift the Lombardi again.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.