Russell Wilson has blossomed into one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks in the second half of the season. But his first half will likely keep him out of the Pro Bowl.
Pro Bowl teams will be announced Wednesday on the NFL Network (4 p.m. PT), and three quarterbacks will be selected to represent the NFC. Despite topping the NFL in passer rating since Week 8 (114.26), leading the Seahawks to the playoffs, and becoming one of the favorites for Offensive Rookie of the Year, Russell Wilson is likely to get snubbed and, unfortunately for him, deservedly so.
In the last round of fan balloting, which counts one-third toward determining 43-man Pro Bowl rosters, Wilson trailed Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (777,827), Washington’s Robert Griffin III (683,943) and New Orleans’ Drew Brees (578,753).
Players (one-third) and coaches (one-third) also have a say, and the suspicion here is that they will agree with a panel of six NFL Network analysts, none of whom penciled Wilson in on their ballots.
Four of the six analysts selected Griffiin III as the starter and five of the six tabbed Rodgers as his backup. Brees was the majority choice as the third NFC’s Pro Bowl quarterback. Chicago’s Jay Cutler and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan received consideration.
Only two NFC quarterbacks – Ryan (13) and Rodgers (11) — have quarterbacked more victories than Wilson (10). Just two – Ryan (6) and Dallas’ Tony Romo (5) – have led more game-winning drives than Wilson’s three. Only one – Rodgers (6.8) – has a higher touchdown percentage than Wilson’s 6.7.
But five NFC quarterbacks — Brees (39), Rodgers (35), Ryan (31), Romo (26) and Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman (26) — have thrown more TDs passes than Wilson’s 25, which is one behind Peyton Manning (1998) for most in a single season by a rookie.
Three NFC quarterbacks — Rodgers (106.2), Griffin (104.1) and Ryan (100.2) – have a higher passer rating than Wilson’s 98.0, which ranks third among all rookie quarterbacks since the 1970 merger.
And four NFC quarterbacks – Ryan (69.0), Rodgers (67.0), Griffin (66.4) and Romo (66.3) – have completed a higher percentage of their passes than Wilson’s 63.4, also third all-time among rookie quarterbacks since the merger.
But making Wilson a Pro Bowler requires ignoring most of the first half of the season, when the Seahawks effectively hid him in their offense as he developed.
In the past two months, the Seahawks unleashed Wilson with great success. Had he performed in early road games the way he has at home all season (league-leading 121.5 passer rating), he would be a convincing Pro Bowl candidate.
But his emergence as one of the NFC’s (and NFL’s) top quarterbacks (15 TDs, 2 INTs in the last seven weeks) has probably come a little too late to nudge aside Rodgers, Griffin, Ryan, or even Brees.