Championships are won by great teams, and those great teams must include dominant players. The Pro Bowl is one measure of a player’s performance, but the selection process is terribly flawed. A better benchmark is All-Pro performers. The All-Pro team has it’s own selection flaws, but it offers the benefit of being conference-independent and limited voters. Where the Pro Bowl is setup to be an All-Star game that includes players the fans want to see play, the All-Pro attempts to be purely about picking the best players at every position. Reputation certainly plays a role, but less so than the Pro Bowl. The Seahawks enjoyed four 1st Team All-Pro selections this season for the first time since 2005.
Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch, and Max Unger all were selected as 1st Team All-Pros. This is Thomas’s first time making the first team. He was a second-team selection last season. The sweetest selection has to be Sherman, who was snubbed for the Pro Bowl after a faulty PED test tarnished his reputation and effected voting. Not only did he make the first team, but he received more votes than any other defensive back. It is well deserved recognition for the most dominant corner in the game.
Thomas received the most votes at safety, essentially naming him the best safety in football. Dominant.
Something about Lynch being named to the first team was especially satisfying. Nobody lets his actions speak for him more than Lynch. He refuses all interviews, and shuns camera time. Every Seahawks fan knows him, but Russell Wilson has become the spotlight player, pushing Lynch into his shadow. Wilson clearly has no control over who fans and media talk about, but it was nice to see Lynch recognized for the fantastic season he had after signing his big new contract when many wondered if he would run as hard after cashing in.
Unger is a guy who was miscast as a guard when he came into the league. He struggled there, faced injury, and then was moved to center. It has been nothing but goodness since then. This is another guy the team just locked up with an extension. He is smart, talented, and level-headed. There is a reason he was named as one of the team captains this year. His selection to first-team is a credit to All-Pro voters who certainly had heard more about either of the Pouncey kids. Unger has been an integral about the NFL’s best rushing attack.
If playoff games are truly decided by elite players, the Seahawks may be headed toward another win as the Redskins had more All-Pro players (two) than the Falcons (one). Their next opponent may be a different story as the 49ers have ten selections.
Next year could see players like Russell Okung, Kam Chancellor, Brandon Browner, and Bobby Wagner join the All-Pro ranks. Depending on how things fall, K.J. Wright, Sidney Rice, and Jon Ryan have a shot as well.
The trend shows Seattle is becoming recognized for their excellence, and becoming the dominant young team we all know they are capable of being. Congratulations to all the guys who were selected.