Dec 22, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater (5) kicks an extra point against the Houston Texans during the second half at Reliant Stadium. The Broncos won 37-13. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

PFT: Matt Prater "Wasn't Deserving" of Pro Bowl Selection

Add Pro Football Talk to the list of turds in the media who are trying to discredit the Broncos’ phenomenal season.

As if he were the first person to point out that players who kick footballs in Denver are kicking at altitude, Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk has decided to completely discredit Matt Prater’s fantastic year by saying he “wasn’t deserving” of a Pro Bowl selection simply because of the fact that he plays in Denver.

“Broncos kicker Matt Prater set a new NFL record with a 64-yard field goal this season, and so it wasn’t surprising that Prater was one of the two kickers chosen to this season’s Pro Bowl, along with Baltimore’s Justin Tucker. But while it wasn’t surprising, it also wasn’t deserving.”

This guy is reaching Wade Phillips-level “tool” status for me. Every line of this article made me more mad than the last. Of course Prater benefits from kicking at altitude, what are you, new? Every kicker does!

The article’s main points of contention are that Prater’s touchback percentage suffered when the Broncos went on the road, as he kicked 54 touchbacks in Denver and only 22 on the road. The stat was backed up by the fact that just over 45 percent of Prater’s kickoffs on the road were touchbacks, but his season total is over 71 percent (2nd in the NFL to Graham Gano).

Let’s debunk this awful article, shall we? First and foremost, when the Broncos have gone on the road this season, they’ve played some good return men.

1. David Wilson, Giants
2. Dwayne Harris, Cowboys
3. Cassius Vaughn, Colts
4. Knile Davis, Chiefs
5. Quintin Demps, Chiefs

Not mentioned here are Devin McCourty, the Chargers KR (0 returns in SD), and Dennis Johnson (HOU, 1 KR)

As far as I’m concerned, all of those four guys that are mentioned above are good return men, all having taken a kick or two or three back in their careers. In fact, both Dwayne Harris and Quintin Demps are in the top 10 of the league this season in KR yard average. Three of the five players on that list are among the seven in the NFL this season that have return touchdowns on kickoffs.

Broncos fans know how explosive Cassius Vaughn can be on kickoffs, and David Wilson had 1,533 yards and a touchdown on kick returns just a year ago. He’s been injured most of the year.

The point here is that good return men are more willing to take the ball out of the end zone, even if it’s a deep kick. Here’s some more from Michael Smith:

“Prater’s 64-yard field goal was impressive, but lots of NFL kickers could make a field goal that long in Denver if given the opportunity. Away from Denver, Prater didn’t show off a particularly strong leg: His longest field goal on the road this season was good from just 50 yards, at Dallas.”

First of all, you don’t come with a “but” after saying Prater’s 64-yard field goal was impressive. It was just straight up impressive. No one in the history of the league, not even the big legs that come through Denver, have hit one from that far away.

He says that away from Denver, Prater didn’t show a strong leg, even though the longest field goal he attempted among the 11 on the road was from 50 yards. PRATER MADE ALL 11 OF HIS FIELD GOALS ON THE ROAD. This is such an ignorant comment to me.

“Overall, Prater had a good season on field goals, but not as good as Denver’s altitude made him look.”

Okay. Sounds good. Prater had the best field goal percentage in the league, right? Actually, his only missed field goal came IN DENVER. What a crock. Slow-cooked garbage if you ask me.

The writer is trying to diminish Prater’s accomplishments because he plays half his games in Denver, but he fails to mention that Prater leads the league in touchbacks, kickoff yardage, and field goal percentage.

Nope, not deserving of one of two Pro Bowl slots.

Here are a list of Prater’s accomplishments this season:

  • #2 in the NFL with 140 points
  • #1 in the NFL with 95.8% FG percentage
  • NFL record 64-yard field goal
  • #1 in the NFL with 107 kickoffs
  • #1 in the NFL with 6,915 yards in kickoffs
  • #1 in the NFL 76 touchbacks

Sure, he kicked half his games in Denver. That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be in the Pro Bowl, which is what the article contends. It’s a load of trash.

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Tags: Denver Broncos Matt Prater Pro Bowl

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