There was a time when the pro-bowl selections meant something. The voting was done at the end of the season. It was done by players and coaches -- the people in the league who knew who was really good, and who wasn't.
Then, to get fans more involved, there was a fan voting aspect. Now, it has devolved into all popularity and glitz --- and no substance. Being to the pro-bowl is like being elected homecoming king in high school: It means nothing of note, other than lots of people knew your name. (Unless you are Albert Haynesworth, and are now an unrestricted FA thanks to all of your publicity, and the the awesome performance of the rest of your team getting you to a great record this year helped get you "buzz".)
Jason Hanson is a hall of fame kicker. He is the top distance kicker EVER in the league. He only missed one FG this year -- and it was blocked. He has made twice as many FG from over 50 yards than 23 other kickers in the league have even attempted. But because the Lions are 0-14 right now, he is overlooked.
In the earlier years of the league, you often had a pro-bowler on a losing team. Just because the majority of the team is untalented and/or poorly coached doesn't mean every player is a piece of crap. Sure, there aren't going to be a lot of them -- the Lions really only had two candidates -- CJ and Hanson. Both were snubbed. Why? Because other than Thanksgiving's blowout, who has seen the Lions (casual fan wise) or even heard of any of the players beyond stupid jokes by the national media and the occasional late-nite jab from Leno and Conan??
There was a mention on Sports illustrated that the voting process varies by team, which I didn't know. Don Banks, I think, has it right on when he says that they should skip the game and just give it as an "honor" and just let it rest.
SI.com in their snubs list has Ryan Longwell on there - because he booted 5 FG from beyond 50 when Carney (who got voted in) attempted none. How about Jason Hanson with a record 8-8 from beyond 50? That is a double-snub, and an insult. Just take a look at the season stats for the three:
1-29 30_39 40_49 50+ FG-Att FG Pct Avg Att Avg Miss Long XP-Att Points
Hanson, Jason 3-3 4-5 6-6 8-8 21-22 1.0 42.4 33.0 56 21-22 84
Carney, John 14-14 11-12 4-5 0-0 29-31 0.9 32.5 41.0 48 35-35 122
Longwell, Ryan 9-9 7-9 5-8 5-5 26-31 0.8 37.5 43.0 54 36-36 114
Over half of Carney's kicks were from inside the 30 -- essentially extra point tries. Look -- he missed 10% more FG than Hanson, and he also had a long of 48 (Hanson has made 8 beyond 50). the biggest thing that stood out to me? Carney was kicking an average of 10 yards closer to the goalposts than Hanson!! Longwell, who has missed about 20% more FG than Hanson was kicking only a paltry 5 yards further away than Carney, but still 5 yards closer, on average, than Hanson. Hanson had the longest average attempt, and yet still made the highest percentage of kicks.
Who should be the pro-bowl kicker?
Don't throw 0-14 at me -- this is the Pro-Bowl, not the Superbowl. It is not about the team, but the player. Has the player been playing his position at a level beyond that of his peers. Taking a look at Hanson, he has done that in spades.
Take the stats above, along with the paragraph directly below it. Copy them, and email them to Don Banks and Peter King. Lets see if we can't get a Hanson Snubbed for Pro-Bowl piece out of them (at least a mention).
Operation publicity for Hanson gentlemen. Don't let me down -- I've emailed at least 5 times already!