Had the voting been entrusted to the sportswriters who cover the NFL, Fred Taylor would be playing for the AFC in this season's Pro Bowl. I guarantee it.
Taylor is not in the Pro Bowl, again, because the voting was entrusted to everybody but the writers who cover the NFL. I understand the impetus to giving fans voting power. It drives nfl.com's popularity and that makes money for the NFL.
The fallout, however, is a tainted product. The Pro Bowl is supposed to be a showcase of the game's best professional football players and, frankly, it hasn't been since fans were given voting rights.
There's no other way to say it. The fans screwed it up, again. They vote their rooting interests, instead of voting with the integrity of someone who has been entrusted with something lasting and meaningful.
We're talkin' about the Hall of Fame here. This just isn't about the Pro Bowl. This is about salaries and the Hall of Fame. It really is big stuff that, again, has been abused and mishandled by a flawed process.
Joseph Addai led the fan voting at running back. Fred Taylor was seventh in the fan voting. Maurice Jones-Drew was fourth.
Hey, fans, what were you thinking? Have you not a football brain in your heads?
The players and coaches tried to fix the voting, but I've heard stories that they don't do a very good job, either. I've heard stories that the players and coaches vote their interests almost as much as the fans do.
NFL beat writers wouldn't have allowed this injustice to occur. I promise you, we wouldn't have allowed it. We would've selected Taylor to the team based on the strength of his impact this season and the overall accomplishments of his career. We would've decided, I promise you, that Taylor was truly worthy of a place in the Pro Bowl, and it would've also been duly noted that Taylor would've greatly valued and appreciated that selection.
That's what would've put him over the top with the writers. We like Fred. We like the time he gives us. We like his love for the game. We like his regard for everything involved in the game, including the media process and a Pro Bowl game that has evolved into an incentives maker that a lot of players don't respect enough to grace with their participation.
We would've known Taylor wouldn't have done that. We would've known that he would've been the first to arrive in Honolulu and the last to leave, and he would've been the best interview of the week.
Should any of that matter in the selection process? You bet it should, provided the player is worthy of selection, which Taylor was.
Fans, players and coaches don't consider those qualities in a player when they select him, and maybe that's one of the reasons the players of today aren't the regular guys they once were. They don't feel a need to promote the game by accommodating the beat guys because the beat guys are powerless. What can we do for them? Nothing.
I'll tell you what we would've done for Taylor. We would've gotten him into the Pro Bowl. I guarantee it.