by Scott Benson
As you know by now, the Patriots yesterday placed eight players on the squad that will represent the AFC at the 2008 Pro Bowl.
One thing struck me about the honors; six of the eight players chosen were home grown Patriots.
QB Tom Brady – 2000 Draft, 6th round, 199th selection overall.
T Matt Light – 2001 Draft, 2nd round, 48th selection overall.
CB Asante Samuel – 2003 Draft, 4th round, 120th overall.
C Dan Koppen – 2003 Draft, 5th round, 164th overall.
NT Vince Wilfork – 2004 Draft, 1st round, 21st overall.
G Logan Mankins – 2005 Draft, 1st round, 32nd overall.
Of course, LB Mike Vrabel (1997 Draft, 3rd round, 91st overall by Pittsburgh) was a free agent acquisition in 2001, and WR Randy Moss (1998, 1st round, 21st overall, Minnesota) was obtained in a 2007 trade for…da da DAAAAAAA….a fourth round pick in last April’s draft.
Please, no letters….without looking, I’m almost certain that the same draft success holds true for nearly all the teams that placed players on the Pro Bowl squad yesterday.
Still, this struck me because diminishing returns over the last two drafts have raised a few eyebrows in some corners locally, among those concerned that the Patriots may have lost their touch when it comes to the NFL’s annual selection meeting. From those two draft classes, only Laurence Maroney, Chad Jackson, Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan O’Callaghan, LeKevin Smith (2006) and Brandon Meriweather (2007) are members of this year’s squad, and only Maroney (Dum-dum-dum-dumdy-doo-wah) and Gostkowski have made any sort of notable contribution to the team’s nearly unprecedented success.
Those drafts may ultimately prove to be relative whiffs when compared to, say, 2003 (which also netted Ty Warren), but with Samuel, Koppen, Wilfork and Mankins all receiving first time honors yesterday, hope remains for the younger set.
One more thing – apparently, the website ‘Kissing Suzy Kolber’ (you’ll get no link from me) has decided that Pats fans’ disappointment regarding the omission of Wes Welker from the Pro Bowl proves once and for all that Boston is a racist city. According to these wags, it was Welker’s pigmentation, and not all those first downs, that won the fans’ affection and raised their ire when he was passed over for Pro Bowl honors.
Pathetic. The abject hatred of all things Patriots has reached a new low. Forgive us for thinking that the guy with 96 catches and 1000 yards deserved further consideration. Kiss this, KSK.
Our own Dan Snapp, a product of PD’s personnel department, will be back later with more reaction to yesterday’s Pro Bowl selections.
EDITORS NOTE: A loyal friend o’ PD reminds me this morning that I probably ought to have a better sense of humor when it comes to KSK, considering that it’s tongue is firmly in cheek on all of its posts. Point conceded. Pays to have a few friends to keep you on the straight and narrow. Come on, Cash, we’re withdrawing that middle digit on this one. Or maybe just directing it towards those who commented on that particular post. Some of those guys weren’t kidding, I suspect.
Wes is white? 😉
I don’t consider it a snub. The receivers that got in are having great years in their own right.
I don’t disagree with that, but after the year Welker’s had, I sort of expected him to get in. I understand why he didn’t, and I agree there’s nothing really to howl about. That Kolber blog sucks anyway.
This is KSK here. They were joking.
KSK is written with the tongue firmly planted in the writer’s cheek. It is one of the funniest sites around and no subject is taboo. Just read a couple of Jerry Jones and Wade Phillips rants. It is off the charts funny.
Thanks guys, I get it. Note the editor’s note above. I still don’t think the comments added after the piece were jokes. Hence, Cash is still throwing the finger in their general direction.
Wait, we’re all pretending like Wes Welker wasn’t a shoo-in for fan-favoratism because he was white?
Come on now. I’m probably going to get jumped all over for suggesting this, but, IMO, the WEEI call-in set clearly hopped aboard the Welker-welcome-wagon with about ten times the enthusiasm as they would for a black player with the same career trajectory… and they would have stuck with him a hell of a lot longer if he struggled.
Now, I’m not trying to single out Boston here — NFL players all around the league routinely get extra love from fan and media alike because they’re white… and really, there’s nothing wrong with this. People like rooting for athletes they can identify with, and this often falls across racial + cultural lines.
How many black kids from inner-city Baltimore do you think choose Todd Heap shirts over Ray Lewis or Ed Reed?
This summer, there was some discussion of the diminishing number of African Americans playing baseball, and speculation on the effect that was having on the baseball fandom of black kids. I don’t remember anybody getting upset with the notion that black kids might want to root for black athletes.
Now, obviously, the subject can get very delicate, very fast, but it just seems silly to me to pretend like everybody’s color/culture blind.