Pro Bowl Snubs Reflect Slump
TE Antonio Gates (A. Messerschmidt/Getty)
TE Antonio Gates (A. Messerschmidt/Getty)

Posted Dec 16, 2008

The NFL announced its Pro Bowl rosters on Tuesday and only two Chargers heard their names called. The players who earned invites, TE Antonio Gates and OG Kris Dielman, are heading to Hawaii on reputation as much as anything else. The Chargers who really deserved to go -- Philip Rivers, Mike Scifres and Kassim Osgood -- must wait for 2010.

What are your thoughts on the Pro Bowl announcements? Which Chargers players do you think were snubbed? Click here to talk about it in the message boards.

San Diego’s decline in Pro Bowl representatives mirrors its declining record. In 2006, the Chargers finished 14-2 and earned a franchise-record 11 Pro Bowl invites. Last season, the team went 11-5 and reeled in nine invites. This year, while guaranteed of their first non-winning season since 2003, the Chargers snagged just two.

The good news for Antonio Gates and Kris Dielman could not have come at a better time. Gates is mired in his longest scoring slump since his rookie season, having gone five games with a TD. Dielman is coming off a game in which he was ejected for allegedly punching Chiefs DE Tamba Hali.

However, the good news does not offset the tough blows suffered by those not heading to Hawaii. Here’s a look at the notables:
--QB Philip Rivers was left off the roster despite pacing the NFL in touchdowns (28) and passer rating (101.4). Only adding to the sting is Rivers was jilted for division rival Jay Cutler, who will make his first Pro Bowl appearance. Rivers was named a first alternate.

--RB LaDainian Tomlinson saw his string of five consecutive Pro Bowl appearances snapped. This comes as no surprise, as Tomlinson is averaging career-low numbers across the board. Tomlinson is a third alternate, as are O-linemen Marcus McNeill and Nick Hardwick.

--Special Teams Coach Steve Crosby must be pulling out his hair after Mike Scifres, Darren Sproles and Kassim Osgood were all denied. Scifres, who leads the NFL in net average (41.8) is a first alternate. Osgood, a two-time Pro Bowler, and Sproles, who is closing in on 2,000 all-purpose yards (1,832), are both second alternates.

--Defenders Jamal Williams and Antonio Cromartie were both left off the roster after making the team last season. Williams has played well this season but was beaten out by three superior DTs: Kris Jenkins, Albert Haynesworth and Shaun Rogers. Cromartie played his way out of the all-star circuit, although his high popularity with fans helped him earn second-alternate status.
What are your thoughts on the Pro Bowl announcements? Which Chargers players do you think were snubbed? Click here to talk about it in the message boards.

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