Still stinging three weeks later from the epic playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs fans got a little more ironic good news when quarterback Alex Smith and linebacker Derrick Johnson were chosen to play in the 2014 Pro Bowl this weekend.
The selection of Smith and Johnson brings the total of Chiefs Pro Bowl players to 10, the most in the NFL and the most in franchise history. Smith joins RB Jamaal Charles and kick returner/WR Dexter McCluster on the offensive side of the ball, while Johnson joins Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, Brandon Flowers, Eric Berry, and Dontari Poe to represent the Chiefs defense.
The bitter irony, of course, is that a team with six Pro Bowlers on defense couldn’t hold a 28-point lead in the playoffs as the Chiefs eventually fell to Indy 45-44, but getting that many players on the Pro Bowl roster (no matter how much stock you put into its significance) is something for Chiefs fans to keep close to heart when looking forward to the 2014 NFL season.
Johnson’s selection is no surprise to anyone who bothered to watch this team in 2013 as the veteran linebacker had one of his better al-around seasons. Despite the second-half collapse during the regular season, Johnson’s play rarely suffered as the 9-year veteran out of Texas totaled 110 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 2 interceptions and 2 fumble recoveries.
Smith’s selection was a bit of a surprise, because in a league obsessed with QB statistics, Smith’s stat line of 3,313 passing yards, 23 touchdowns with only 7 interceptions is good, but not eye-popping. Even adding in his 431 yards rushing and 1 TD does not push his stats into the awe-inspiring range.
However, Smith led the Chiefs 2013 turnaround from the previous year, taking the team from a 2-14 record in 2012 to 11-5 and a playoff spot. Moreover, over the last few weeks of the regular season, Smith was arguably one of the best QBs in the league. And when the team needed him most, when Jamaal Charles went down to injury on the fifth play of the Indianapolis playoff game, Smith had one of the best days ever for a Chiefs quarterback, throwing for 378 yards and 4 touchdowns, both franchise records in the playoffs.
Johnson will take injured 49ers linebacker Navorro Bowman’s spot on the Pro Bowl roster. Fans that watched Sunday’s playoff game between the Seahawks and 49ers probably witnessed Bowman’s gruesome knee injury when his leg was bent in ways the human body isn’t supposed to bend. Bowman tore both his ACL and MCL and is permanently burned into the minds of NF fans who won’t forget watching the play.
Smith takes over for Tom Brady who apparently is not injured, unless you count the bruised ego he got from losing the AFC Championship game to his rival, Peyton Manning. But don’t feel bad for Tom Terrific, who will go home to his supermodel wife, Gisele Bundchen, and count her money as her estimated worth is somewhere north of $290 million.
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