On Friday, the NFL’s time-honored tradition of recognizing its best players for a trip to Hawaii came to be. While this is just a glorified two-hand touch facsimile of the game we love, it’s still an honor for the players to be honored by the fans, peers, and pundits. Thirteen of our beloved Denver Broncos have been recognized among the best the sport has to offer. Five of them are starters and the other 8 selected as alternates.
A surprise to no one, Peyton Manning was selected to his 13th Pro Bowl; tying him for the second most selections all-time with Hall-of-Famers, Jerry Rice and Reggie White, future HOF’er, Tony Gonzalez, and one selection shy of HOF’er, Bruce Matthews. Now that, ladies and gentlemen is some elite company! Heading into the final week of the season, PFM has completed 425 of 631 (67.4 completion %) passed for 5211 yards, an NFL record 51 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. All of that translates to a passer rating of 113.0. AND…he still has one more game to pad those gaudy statistics.
Kicker, Matt Prater was selected as one of the two kickers. Going into week 17, Prater has 140 points scored, only 4 points behind Stephen Gostkowski of the New England Patriots. In addition, Matt blasted a new NFL record, 64 yard field goal at the end of the first half on December 8th against the Tennessee Titans.
Wide receiver, Demaryius Thomas became only the third Broncos’ receiver in history to be honored multiple times with a trip to Hawaii. This is Thomas’ second selection, tying him with Brandon Marshall. Only Rod Smith‘s three selections, between 2000-2005 exceed Thomas and Marshall. D.T. Has hauled in 86 passes for 1317 yards and 12 touchdowns. Demaryius is also tied for the league lead with 16 receptions of 25+ yards. I would make an argument that Eric Decker should have also been selected as a starter. However, if you add him, you have to omit one of the current selections. And frankly, the WR position has probably the deepest dearth of talent in the game.
Julius Thomas becomes only the third tight end in franchise history to have a Pro-Bowl distinction bestowed upon him. It does appear that all of the extra work and attention from Manning in training camp has paid off. “Orange” Julius set a Broncos historical mark of 12 touchdowns with one game left to play. The weird irony is that he heads a top 5 list that contains 5 wide receivers with the same name; Shannon Sharpe. I guess that was popular name 40+ years ago. The only other Broncos’ TE who was given a free trip to Hawaii was “House”, Dwayne Carswell. I’m still left scratching my head that Riley Odoms was never a Pro-Bowler.
Lastly, but not leastly, new comer to the Denver Broncos’ offensive line, Louis Vasquez was considered one of the best guards in the game. Impressively, Vasquez played the most snaps on either side of the ball for the Broncos with 1131. That is exactly the continuity the Broncos needed on the offensive line in the absence of all-world left tackle, Ryan Clady.
The Broncos alternates are Zane Beadles, David Bruton (special teams), Decker, Knowshon Moreno, Von Miller, Manny Ramirez, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Wes Welker. Miller may have been selected on past performances as he only played 8 full games this year and did not put up consistently productive numbers.
All of these players are most deserving and Predominantly Orange congratulates them all. That said, I am sure that I can speak for all of Broncos’ Planet when I express my hopes that these guys are unable to make the trip to Honolulu due to a previous, more important engagement a week later in the swamps of Jersey.