Urlacher and the Pro Bowl Popularity Contest

Bears linebacker says he votes for friends, not the best players

By Eamonn Brennan
|  Sunday, Dec 21, 2008  |  Updated 6:46 AM CDT
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Urlacher and the Pro Bowl Popularity Contest

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Brian Urlacher thinks the Pro Bowl is just a popularity contest. He's right -- and he would know.

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Brian Urlacher has, for a long time, been sort of overrated. To be clear, he's still a very good football player. But he's not the Brian Urlacher of his first few years in the league, when he covered the entire field almost effortlessly, when his speed and instincts were second only to the Baltimore Ravens' Ray Lewis. Urlacher isn't that player anymore. And the Pro Bowl voting has reflected that.

After a career spent at the Pro Bowl level, last year, Urlacher didn't make the cut, nor did he this year, which is becoming something of a pattern for him. He's regressing, or the league-wide perception of him is. Does he care? No. Even he doesn't believe in the veracity of Pro Bowl voting, as he said this week on WMVP-1000:

On Urlacher's play this season and not making the Pro Bowl: "The Pro Bowl to me is a popularity contest. If people like you they're going to vote for you. That's all there is to it. I've said that ever since I've been in the league. As a player I vote for guys I like, not necessarily guys who have good years. If there's a center who's going to keep Olin Kreutz out of the Pro Bowl, I won't vote for him. I don't know if all teams do that, but that's the way I do it. That's just the way it is.

OK, so that's sort of hilarious. We have only one question: What about guys who have Pro Bowl clauses written into their contracts? Maybe that extra few thousand bucks isn't much to Urlacher, but to a fringe player who's never been to the big game in Hawaii, this sort of voter fraud would be at least mildly irritating, right?

Anyway, people just don't trust the voting process anymore. Whatever happened to Pro Bowl efficacy? Where's the faith in the democratic process? Sad.

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