So the 2014 NFL Pro Bowl is coming up and the San Francisco 49ers had a bunch of people nominated. That's great and all. I even think there weren't very many snubs this time around. Running back Frank Gore, tight end Vernon Davis, left tackle Joe Staley, left guard Mike Iupati, defensive lineman Justin Smith, outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks, inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman and inside linebacker Patrick Willis all made the list.
So here's some thoughts on all of that.
The Biggest Snub Award
Look, as mentioned above, the 49ers had eight players selected and a bunch of alternates. I believe there are a couple more people who should probably have made it, but there's only a couple I feel really strongly about. I hope you don't dislike cop-outs or award-sharing, because I can't pick one in particular.
That's because my biggest snub for the 49ers for the 2014 NFL Pro Bowl is ... one of C.J. Spillman, Kassim Osgood and Bubba Ventrone. Spillman is the more obvious pick, and even made it as an alternate, but San Francisco's special teams coverage units have just been ... so good.
Spillman was once released for being unable to play special teams. Osgood was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars because they didn't want to pay him a paltry sum that more pricey players can lose accidentally and not notice it. Ventrone is a tiny little man. Really, it's adorable.
And yet, all three have been amazing. San Francisco not having a representative on special teams is a travesty. Anquan Boldin is an honorable mention at this point, but the NFL's receiver game is just way too competitive at this point.
The Not A Snub Award
I understand that, in only eight games, Aldon Smith has a decent amount of sacks. I also understand that he'd be into the double digits and all of that great stuff. But Smith was inactive for a good amount of time, made a lot of mistakes and absolutely did not do enough to make the Pro Bowl. Ya'll saying he was snubbed are crazy.
The Huh? Award
Mike Iupati is awesome. I think we can all agree that Iupati is one of the best 49ers draft picks in years. He's a solid pass protector and he's an absolute mauler in the run game. He's had his issues here and there, but when he's gone, the running game struggles. That said, I think him making it over Alex Boone is a bit silly. Iupati, at the end of their careers, will probably be looked at as the better player ... but this season, Boone out-played him.
I feel like Boone has been better than Iupati in everything other than blocking out in space. Boone is a big boy and getting out there doesn't come easy for him, that's for certain. But this season, Boone has been a better run blocker and a far, far better pass blocker. I thought he deserved the nod.
The Karma Award
Calling this karma isn't actually meant to imply that karma is at work. But when looking for a one-word summation of things, I guess it sort of applies. Donte Whitner belonged nowhere near the Pro Bowl last year. He had a down year for sure, and was a liability in coverage to the strictest sense.
Now there's a legitimate argument for Whitner being this year's defensive MVP. He plays every play like he fired from the barrel of a gun and has really tightened up his coverage game. I think he is a legitimate snub this year, but at the same time, he didn't really deserve the honors last year.
Not like any of these guys will be able to play in this game anyway.
The Wooh Frank Gore Award
Woooooooooh Frank Gore!!!!