The Pro Bowl voting by the fans has concluded.
Too bad it's not forever.
The one thing that bothers me as much as anything about the NFL is that the fans are given one-third of the Pro Bowl vote. The other parts of the voting pie are a third to the players and a third to the coaches.
What the NFL should do is let general managers and advance scouts pick the Pro Bowl teams. That would be a much better and more fair way to do it.
The 2008 Pro Bowl teams will be announced next Tuesday. Look for it once again to be a popularity contest.
The Pro Bowl team that follows is not. It's about production and play. They are my teams, based on my eyes, talks with players, coaches and scouts.
One more thing about these teams: I pick left and right tackles and left and right guards. There's no way I'm picking all left tackles, like the NFL does.
You don't play that way, right?
Quarterback: Philip Rivers, Chargers. Backups: Jay Cutler, Broncos; Peyton Manning, Colts.
Just missed: Chad Pennington, Dolphins.
Comment: It was tough picking a starter, but Rivers gets it by having a higher passer rating and more touchdown passes.
Running back: Thomas Jones, Jets. Backups: Chris Johnson. Titans; Steve Slaton, Texans.
Just missed: Nobody.
Comment: It's a lean year for running backs in the AFC with Larry Johnson, LaDainian Tomlinson and Fred Taylor having down seasons. That's why there are two rookies among the three picks.
Fullback: Ahmard Hall, Titans.
Just missed: Le'Ron McClain, Ravens.
Comment: Hall is a bulldozer of a lead blocker. He mauls linebackers. It was a tough choice between Hall and McClain.
|Andre Johnson: Any arguments? (Getty Images)|
Just missed: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Bengals.
Comment: Johnson and Marshall were easy picks. After that, there was a big drop. Welker leads the league with 96 catches, but he has just one touchdown catch.
Tackle: Michael Roos (LT), Titans; Ryan Harris (RT), Broncos. Backups: Ryan Clady, LT (Broncos).
Just missed: Joe Thomas (LT), Browns; Jake Long (LT), Dolphins; Marcus McNeill (LT), Chargers; Eric Winston (RT), Texans; David Stewart (RT), Titans.
Comment: Roos finally gets the attention he deserved the past few seasons. Harris gets the right tackle spot, a weak position in the AFC. Clady, a rookie, edges out Thomas.
Guard: Logan Mankins (LG), Patriots; Chris Kuper (RG), Broncos. Backup: Alan Faneca (LG), Jets.
Just missed: Robert Gallery (LG), Raiders; Jake Scott (RG), Titans,
Comment: Mankins is again playing at a high level. The right guard spot is a bad one in the AFC, so we'll go with Kuper from the Broncos' outstanding line.
Center: Nick Mangold, Jets. Backup: Samson Satele, Dolphins
Just missed: Kevin Mawae, Titans; Casey Wiegmann, Broncos.
Comment: The Jets have a center they can lean on for a long time. Satele is a power player in the middle of the Miami line, although he did struggle with Vince Wilfork in a game I saw live.
Tight end: Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs. Backup: Owen Daniels, Texans.
Just missed: Dallas Clark, Colts.
Comment: Gonzalez leads all tight ends with 78 catches in a bad offense and Daniels has 56 for the Texans.
Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots.
Just missed: Kris Brown, Texans; Dan Carpenter, Dolphins.
Comment: Gostkowski missed three field goals all season and he's 10-for-12 from 40 and beyond.
Defensive end: Mario Williams (RE), Texans; Aaron Smith (LE), Steelers. Backup: Shaun Ellis (LE), Jets.
Just missed: Dwight Freeney (RE), Colts; Robert Mathis (LE), Colts.
Comment: This isn't a good position in the AFC. Williams is the best and Smith is a force against the run for the Steelers.
Defensive tackle: Albert Haynesworth, Titans. Kris Jenkins, Jets. Backup: Vince Wilfork, Patriots.
Just missed: Haloti Ngata, Ravens; Shaun Rogers, Browns; Domata Peko, Bengals.
Comment: This is a deep, deep position. The two just-missed players could easily have been picked. Haynesworth, Jenkins and Wilfork have all been forces this season.
|James Harrison: A Steel wrecking ball. (Getty Images)|
Just missed: LaMarr Woodley, Steelers.
Comment: Harrison will get consideration for Defensive Player of the Year, and Porter has rejuvenated his career. Bulluck gets overlooked way too often because he's not a sack machine like some others.
Inside linebacker: Ray Lewis, Ravens; D'Qwell Jackson, Browns. Backup: Kirk Morrison, Raiders.
Just missed: DeMeco Ryans, Texans; James Farrior, Steelers.
Comment: Anybody still convinced Lewis has lost a step? Jackson has been a tackling machine and gets lost playing in Cleveland.
Cornerback: Cortland Finnegan, Titans; Nnamdi Asomugha, Raiders. Backup: Darrelle Revis, Jets.
Just missed: Will Allen, Dolphins; Eric Wright, Browns.
Comment: The top three were easy picks. Asomugha doesn't get a lot of action, but that's because he's a great cover player. The injury to Denver's Champ Bailey will keep him off this list, even though he's the best corner when healthy.
Safety: Ed Reed (FS), Ravens; Troy Polamalu (SS), Steelers. Backup: Michael Griffin (SS), Titans.
Just missed: Chris Hope (FS), Titans; Yeremiah Bell (SS), Dolphins; Eric Weddle (FS), Chargers.
Comment: Reed and Polamalu are among the game's best playmakers. Polamalu bounced back from a so-so 2007 season to play at a high level again.
Punter: Shane Lechler, Raiders.
Just missed: Mike Scifres, Chargers; Sam Koch, Ravens.
Comment: Lechler leads the AFC in average (49.2) and his net average of 41.7 is in second in the conference.
Kick returner: Leon Washington, Jets.
Just missed: Leodis McKelvin, Bills.
Comment: Washington has five kick returns of 40 yards or more, including one for a touchdown.
Special teams: Montell Owens, Jaguars.
Just missed: Darrell Reid, Colts.
Comment: Owens scored two touchdowns on special teams and he's a quality cover player.
Quarterback: Drew Brees, Saints. Backups: Kurt Warner, Cardinals; Aaron Rodgers, Packers.
Just missed: Donovan McNabb, Eagles; Eli Manning, Giants
Comment: Brees and Warner are easy picks. The tough one was the third quarterback. Rodgers takes it -- barely.
Running back: Adrian Peterson, Vikings. Backups: Michael Turner, Falcons; Clinton Portis, Redskins.
Just missed: Matt Forte, Bears; Brandon Jacobs, Giants; DeAngelo Williams, Panthers.
Comment: Peterson was an easy pick. The tough choice for me was picking between Portis and Williams. I went with Portis because although he's been hurt, his numbers are still comparable.
|Madison Hedgecock: 'Backers beware. (Getty Images)|
Just missed: Mike Sellers, Redskins.
Comment: Hedgecock is a linebacker-crusher. He is a big reason the Giants lead the league in rushing.
Wide receiver: Roddy White, Falcons; Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals. Backups: Anquan Boldin, Cardinals; Greg Jennings, Packers.
Just missed: Steve Smith, Panthers.
Comment: White leads the NFL in yards receiving. Fitzgerald has 83 catches and nine touchdowns to edge Boldin and Jennings.
Tackle: Walter Jones (LT), Seahawks; Levi Brown (RT), Cardinals. Backup: Jordan Gross (LT), Panthers.
Just missed: Flozell Adams (LT), Cowboys; John Tait (RT) Bears; Mark Tauscher (RT), Packers.
Comment: Jones gave up two sacks on Thanksgiving to DeMarcus Ware, but he has played well again. Brown gets the nod at a weak right tackle spot over Tait and Tauscher.
Guard: Chris Snee, Giants (RG). Steve Hutchinson, Vikings (LG). Backup: Leonard Davis, Cowboys (LG).
Just missed: Davin Joseph (RG) Bucs; Jahri Evans (RG), Saints.
Comment: Snee finally will get the Pro Bowl nod he deserved the past couple of seasons. Hutchinson remains a force at left guard. Davis had another mauling season and edges out Joseph (missed games) and Evans.
Center: Shaun O'Hara, Giants. Backup: Eric Heitmann, 49ers.
Just missed: Casey Rabach, Redskins.
Comment: O'Hara isn't big, but he gets by with smarts and toughness. He's another big reason the Giants lead the league in rushing.
Tight end: Jason Witten, Cowboys. Backup: Chris Cooley, Redskins.
Just missed: John Carlson, Seahawks.
Comment: Witten barely edges out Cooley, who actually has more catches (67 to 64). But Witten has a better average (12.0 to 10.6) and more touchdowns (3-1).
Kicker: Ryan Longwell, Vikings.
Just missed: Matt Bryant, Bucs; Olindo Mare, Seahawks
Comment: Longwell is 26 for 30, but he's 5-for-5 from 50 or beyond.
Defensive end: Jared Allen, Vikings; Justin Tuck, Giants. Backup: John Abraham, Falcons.
Just missed: Julius Peppers, Panthers.
Comment: Allen and Abraham are tied for the lead among defensive ends with 12½ sacks each. Tuck has been a major disruptor for the Giants defense.
Defensive tackle: Kevin Williams, Vikings; Jay Ratliff, Cowboys. Backup: Fred Robbins, Giants.
Just missed: Darnell Dockett, Cardinals, Pat Williams, Vikings.
Comment: Kevin Williams remains an elite player, but Ratliff has to be one of the bigger surprises of this season. He has played the run well, and he also has seven sacks.
Outside linebacker: DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys. Chad Greenway, Vikings. Backup: Karlos Dansby, Cardinals.
Just missed: Lance Briggs, Bears; Derrick Brooks, Bucs; Michael Boley Falcons.
Comment: Ware is a sack machine, and Greenway has had his best season. Dansby is a rising star, just edging Briggs.
Inside linebacker: Barrett Ruud, Bucs; Jon Beason, Panthers. backup: Bradie James, Cowboys.
Just missed: Patrick Willis, 49ers; London Fletcher, Redskins.
Comment: Ruud is a perfect player for the Tampa-2 defense. Beason developed into a star in his second season, and James has been huge for the Dallas defense, overshadowing the bigger name of Zach Thomas.
|It's not easy getting past Carlos Rogers. (Getty Images)|
Just missed: Sheldon Brown, Eagles; Corey Webster, Giants.
Comment: Rogers bounced back from a 2007 knee injury to show off his cover skills. Woodson is one of the few on the Green Bay defense to play at a high level.
Safety: Nick Collins (FS), Packers; Adrian Wilson (SS), Cardinals. Backup: LaRon Landry, Redskins
Just missed: O.J. Atogwe (SS), Rams; Quintin Mikell (SS), Eagles; Tanard Jackson, (FS) Bucs.
Comment: Collins had his breakout season and Wilson remains a game-changer for the Arizona defense. Landry has made big strides in his second season, edging Atogwe for the third spot.
Punter: Donnie Jones, Rams
Just missed: Chris Kluwe, Vikings.
Comment: Jones leads the NFL with a 49.9 average and leads the NFC with a 40.5 net average.
Kick returner: Clifton Smith, Bucs.
Just missed: Allen Rossum, 49ers.
Comment: Smith is a big reason the Bucs are one game out of first place in the NFC South. He's been impressive on both kickoff and punt returns, taking one of each back for a touchdown.
Special teams: Garrett Wolfe, Bears.
Just missed: Khary Campbell, Redskins.
Comment: Wolfe, a smallish running back, has excelled covering kicks and punts for the Bears.