Over the past half decade, the St. Louis Rams have not had good luck with the Pro Bowl. More than likely it is some combination of being in a small market, the horrendously biased voting system, and the overall lack of talent that have all attributed to this long “absence” from Hawaii.
Just how bad is it?
In 2013, the Rams were one of only three teams without a Pro Bowler… in 2012, they were the only team without a Pro Bowler… in 2011, Steven Jackson was the lone player invited to Hawaii, ranking third in votes among NFC running backs… in 2010 the situation was no different, except that Jackson didn’t play due to injury… in 2009, no St. Louis player was invited… and that trend continues, until you get back to the Torry Holt playing days. The drought is even worse on the defensive side of the football, needed to look all the way back to 2004 to find the last year that a Rams defender made the cut; that year, both DE Leonard Little and S Aeneas Williams, who is now in his second year of Hall-of-Fame eligibility, made the Pro Bowl.
However, in the midst of a season marred by a season-ending injury to the team’s franchise quarterback, the Rams may have finally broken through the Pro Bowl barrier and ended their drought…
— Casey Pearce (@ccpearce) December 12, 2013
In the “new” Pro Bowl balloting system, the players selected to the game are not constrained by their conference of play. In this system the top six defensive ends and the top six offensive tackles will all get the official invite to Hawaii. That is good news for both Robert Quinn and Jake Long, who are both well within that range!
At this point in the process, the fan voting is essentially finished, with little-to-no players likely to shift in or out of their current place. Following the end of voting on Dec. 26th, the ballots of the fans, coaches, and players (each accounting for a third of the final decision) will be calculated, with the final rosters being announced on Dec. 27th. Pro Bowl attendees voted on by the fans are rarely usurped by the coaching or player votes and, overall, have been pretty accurate in predicting the final roster. More good news for Quinn and Long!
However, outside of those two players, the outlook is pretty grim. There are only two players selected from each of the “special teams” positions on the Pro Bowl roster, meaning that WR/KR Tavon Austin and P Johnny Hekker are likely going to be watching the game from home. If any player has an opportunity to benefit from player and coaching votes, it is Johnny Hekker, who has undoubtedly performed at an elite level this season. In fact, it is entirely within the realm of possibility that Hekker could be an AP 1st-Team All Pro selection, despite potentially missing the Pro Bowl.
Either way, it appears as though the “drought” of St. Louis Rams players in Hawaii is finally coming to an end. We at Ramblin’ Fan would like to extend a pre-mature congratulations to both Robert Quinn and Jake Long, and hope that their presence paved the way for more golden horn-wielding players in the future.