Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs’ Washington Redskins. Get details and order at http://GutCheckBook.com
This evening, I filled out my ballot for the Pro Bowl online at http://nfl.com.probowl . I did so with considerably less of a feeling of awe and responsibility than I had when I punched out my ballot at the neighborhood elementary school in last week’s national election.
Still, I don’t want to goof around with such things. My big problem with filling out the ballot was that I’m so focused on the Redskins from week to week that I really don’t have the means to evaluate how other players around the NFL are performing. There were several positions where I either didn’t cast a vote or voted for fewer players than the designated maximum.
I also didn’t want to be a moronic homer and vote for all the Redskins that appeared next to the selection buttons, so I chose my Redskins carefully.
- Clinton Portis—I’ve gone over his accomplishments extensively over the past few days, no need to elaborate.
- Tom Tupa—As much attention as James Thrash got for downing punts near the goal line on Sunday, someone had to put them there to be downed. Tupa booms them when he needs to and often managed to come up with the well-placed pitching wedge when needed.
- Fred Smoot—He’s elevated his game to a new level, one that’s worthy of a trip to Hawaii.
- Shawn Springs—Springs’ long arms help him bat down passes and wrap up opposing quarterbacks. Not many corners have intercepted Favre twice in a game.
- Cornelius Griffin—This may be a bit of a stretch, but after watching promising free-agent tackles such as Big Daddy and Stubblefield come in with high expectations and fail, it ‘s great to see one finally come through.
One thing that was interesting to note about the voting process was that after voting for the offensive skill position players, the kicker and the punter, I got the following message: “You have the completed the EXPRESS ballot, click here to submit your ballot.” There was also an option to continue voting for the grunts, the offensive linemen and the defensive players. Of course, I took the continue on option after being somewhat insulted that I was given the option to opt out of the process after voting for the big-money guys.
It was as though after punching out the chads for the President, Congress and the Senate last week, a message had appeared on my butterfly ballot saying: “You’ve voted on the important stuff. If you really want to go on and vote for those obscure county commissioners and those boring bond issues, keep on. Otherwise, turn in your punch card now.”
Anyway, let me know what you think of my choices. If you can make a compelling case that anyone I left off should be included, let me know. Conversely, if you think that I voted for an undeserving Redskin, your comments are also welcome.