Tom Brady has earned a Pro Bowl nod in each of the last nine seasons. He’s been selected to the NFL’s All-Star showcase 13 times in 16 seasons as the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback, if you take out the 2008 campaign in which he was limited to only one game thanks to a torn ACL suffered in Week 1.
Yet if the 2018 season ended after 14 weeks, Pro Football Focus would not include the five-time Super Bowl champion in its Pro Bowl selections.
PFF released its early Pro Bowl picks earlier this week, determining who should make the game from each conference. Brady is noticeably absent from the selections, as PFF instead tabbed Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, Philip Rivers of the Los Angeles Chargers and Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts as its AFC quarterbacks.
It’s hard to argue against those picks; it’s just strange to see Brady not included based on what we’ve come to expect from him over the years. Brady, a three-time MVP, is widely considered the best quarterback in NFL history, but he has shown some signs of regression at age 41.
PFF did include three Patriots players in its early Pro Bowl picks, though: cornerback Stephon Gilmore, guard Shaq Mason and special-teamer Albert McClellan.
Gilmore should be a lock based on his performance as New England’s No. 1 corner this season. The selections of Mason (missed two games) and McClellan (joined the Patriots in November after being cut by the Baltimore Ravens) are a bit more surprising.
As far as Patriots snubs, it’s difficult to make a strong Pro Bowl case for anyone not included in PFF’s early picks. Rob Gronkowski really hasn’t been himself this season despite last week’s resurgence against the Miami Dolphins, and Julian Edelman, while solid, served a four-game suspension to open the season. Trey Flowers is a noticeable omission given his importance to New England’s defense, but his sack total (6.5) leaves a little to be desired in terms of pinpointing standout edge rushers.
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