INDIANAPOLIS — Back on Jan. 10, we at Colts.com had a bone to pick with the results of the Associated Press 2016 NFL All-Pro teams, which left out a couple notable Indianapolis Colts players.
So while the AP All-Pro teams are voted on by the league's writers, it appears the NFL's coaches at least know what they're talking about.
On Wednesday, Colts punter Pat McAfee was named All-Pro by the Sporting News, which conducts a balloting process each December that includes just the league's 32 head coaches.
The entire Sporting News NFL All-Pro Team can be found by clicking here (it's in handy-dandy slideshow format…), but here's what was written about McAfee:*
"Arguably the NFL's most entertaining punter also is its best, according to coaches. McAfee received 43 percent of All-Pro punter votes for his work in 2016, when he led the league with 49.3 yards per punt."*
Indeed, McAfee — who was also named to Pro Football Focus' 2016 All-Pro Team as a first-team selection, while Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton earned Honorable Mention honors at wide receiver and Second Team recognition at the flex — had quite the season in Indy.
McAfee's 49.3 yards-per-punt average not only led the NFL in 2016, but it established a new team record for a single season, breaking his own mark of 48.2 yards per punt that he set in 2012.
Also, by averaging 50.8 yards per punt Week 17 in a win against the Jacksonville Jaguars, McAfee tied another one of his team records (one he also accomplished in 2011 and 2015) by averaging 40.0 yards per kick in all 16 games of the season.
His five 50.0-yard average games in a single season also tied his own team record that he accomplished back in 2012.
Oh, and if that's not enough, McAfee — ever the elite athlete — completed a 35-yard pass play Week 12 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, earning a 118.7 passer rating for his efforts. I mean, he's the Colts' emergency quarterback for a reason.
Colts special teams coordinator Tom McMahon said he feels very fortunate to have such solid special teamers leading the way for his units, including McAfee (who was voted to his second Pro Bowl in 2016), future Hall of Fame kicker Adam Vinatieri, and a dependable long snapper in Matt Overton.
"Yeah, Pat's done a great job," McMahon said prior to the Colts' Week 16 game against the Oakland Raiders. "What he's done for us is he's taken this big rectangle that's 53 1/2 yards wide and 100 yards long — however you want to look at it — and we try and shrink it. And what we want to do is we'd love to play the red line, all the way down the fade line. And so far this year, No. 1 has done a great job of helping us do that."
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