INDIANAPOLIS — First off, Pro Bowl snub conversations can be fickle at times, because it's pretty hard to argue one player's value against another player's value to their respective teams.
Unless it's just blatantly obvious that one player should've made it over another, the argument must shift to the numbers.
And the numbers indicate that Andrew Luck, and not Ben Roethlisberger, probably should've been one of the three quarterbacks included on the 2017 AFC Pro Bowl roster, which was announced by the league earlier this week.
First, it's important to note that Roethlisberger is having another fine season, and his reputation — a two-time Super Bowl-champion quarterback and five-time Pro Bowler — speaks for itself.
But when you have more passing yards, passing touchdowns and fewer picks, as Luck does over Roethlisberger, it's hard to argue against these key quarterback stats — especially when the two players have the exact same number of passing attempts heading into Week 16 action.
Here's a look of the numbers, courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com:
But beyond the obvious numbers, Pro Football Focus' Michael Renner pointed out this week that Luck has also been tasked with simply doing more for his team than Roethlisberger this season, making No. 12's omission from the Pro Bowl roster even more puzzling.
Here's what Renner wrote:*
"The Colts' offensive line is 31st in pass-blocking efficiency this season, while the Steelers' is third. 61.3 percent of Luck's yards have come through the air, compared to 56.9 for Roethlisberger (meaning Pittsburgh receivers are doing more after the catch). Grade wise, it's no comparison, as Luck is second overall in PFF's system, while Roethlisberger is currently 18th for the 2016 season."*
I suppose one argument against Luck, and for Roethlisberger, would be the performance of the two quarterbacks' teams: the Steelers are on a roll, and enter this week's game at 9-5 and on a five-game winning streak, and find themselves atop the AFC North standings. The Colts, meanwhile, are 7-7 and are on the outside looking in when it comes to the AFC South Division title.
But this isn't the Most Valuable Player award we're talking about here. Pro Bowl selections should be based on individual performances, and if you ask this completely unbiased Colts.com writer, then Luck should've been included with Tom Brady and Derek Carr as one of the three AFC quarterbacks on the initial Pro Bowl rosters.
Will Luck end up playing in the game anyway? There's probably a good chance of that — it's no secret that many players drop out, giving opportunities to so-called "snubs" to earn their rightful spot on one of the two teams.
All things considered, however, Luck should've been a pretty sure thing.
The good news for Colts fans is that the two other players that definitely should've made the Pro Bowl this season — wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and punter Pat McAfee — were included on the initial AFC roster this week.
Will Luck, outside linebacker Erik Walden and kicker Adam Vinatieri — each of whom also put in Pro Bowl-worthy performances this season — end up playing in the game on Jan. 29 in Orlando, as well? Stay tuned to Colts.com for all the latest.