Dez Bryant will be filling in for Julio Jones today as he plays in his third Pro Bowl. With 50 receptions for 796 yards and 8 touchdowns, Saints fans were perturbed Bryant was chosen over Michael Thomas and Brandin Cooks.
Thomas finished the season with 92 receptions for 1,137 yards and 9 touchdowns, while Cooks wasn’t far behind with 78 receptions for 1,173 yards and 8 touchdowns. As both Saints players clearly out-performed Bryant, it has become clear that Pro Bowl voting reflects popularity over performance.
Though incredibly annoying, this snub may be a blessing in disguise. Playing in the Pro Bowl is an incredible honor, but let’s be honest, it’s also just another meaningless game that offers another opportunity for injury to the player.
No one knows this more than 10-time Pro Bowler Drew Brees. In 2007, following his stellar first season with the Saints, Brees dislocated his non-throwing elbow during the first quarter of his second trip to the Pro Bowl. Though the injury was not serious enough to affect his career, the threat of injury in meaningless games is still a very serious possibility.
The Pro Bowl isn’t a terrible, injury-riddled waste of time. In fact, serious injuries are rare. One of the most noted benefits from participating in the special event is meeting other players and getting to see their rituals of preparation.
Dak Prescott has been raving all weekend about Brees’ preparation and focus. Prescott has been studying Brees so closely, he even paid close attention to how Brees ties his shoes. Lucky for Cooks, however, he gets to watch Brees prepare for games all year long. they even live close to one another and train together in the offseason in San Diego, CA.
Thomas, has another important mentor in his corner in the form of his uncle Keyshawn Johnson. A three-time Pro Bowler himself, Johnson has helped his nephew every step of the way. Out of Johnson’s 11-year career, he played in all 16 games eight times, and never less than 10. He, along with close friend Cris Carter, have bestowed their secrets of consistency and health to their protege including the benefits of hand yoga, which Thomas claims has increased his hand size since beginning the exercises.
So, Cooks and Thomas don’t need the Pro Bowl to learn the secrets of longevity and success in this league. They will remain safe of the field on a Sunday where winning means little to nothing, and the slap in the face they both received by not being named in the first place will only strengthen their resolve to perform even better next season.
I can’t wait to see their worthy revenge…