As always when Pro Bowl rosters are released, a flurry of writers and fans saying players x, y, and z were snubbed from the event come as well.
One of the main players drawing attention as a “snub” this year is Chicago Bears sophomore quarterback Justin Fields, who, despite playing for a 3-11 club, is turning heads with his dazzling play this season.
Making the NFC squad this year over Fields, as well as a few other “snubs”, are Kirk Cousins (MIN), Jalen Hurts (PHI), and Geno Smith (SEA).
So how does Fields stack up to those three he was supposedly snubbed in favor of? Let’s take a look at and compare the numbers of all four QBs, both passing and rushing wise.
NFC Pro Bowlers Passing Comparison
First, let’s see how Fields’s passing stats compares to those of Smith, Cousins, and Hurts.
Fields sticks out like a sore thumb in three main categories: Record, yards, and TD-INT.
The record you can hardly blame on the young QB. Football is a team game after all, and you would have to stretch some arguments to find a game this season where the loss was largely due to Fields. Still, as much as the Pro Bowl should award players for their individual play rather than team success, being the leader of a 3-11 squad does not look great on the resume.
The yards category is another one where Fields’s play is not the main culprit for the low numbers. Fields has shown to be capable of hurling the ball downfield; it’s more on the play calling for limiting that ability and putting more emphasis on his legs. Just for funsies, I looked at total passing attempts and yards per attempt and what do you know, Fields has about 150 attempts behind the next passer (Hurts), but is right up there with the others in terms of Y/A, even outperforming Cousins in that category.
- Att.: 544
- Y/A: 7.0
- Att.: 425
- Y/A: 8.2
- Att.: 472
- Y/A: 7.8
- Att.: 274
- Y/A: 7.5
The TD-INT is a bit of a knock, especially that interception number. While the lack of touchdowns can once again be accounted for by the rush-heavy play calling, having the second most interceptions of the group with the least amount of attempts does not bode well. Yes, Fields is the most inexperienced of the four with the least amount of reliable weapons, so it’s expected to see the occasional interception from Fields that looks like a young QB mistake.
The good news looking at these numbers is that while Fields ranks last in the other two categories (completion percentage and rating) as well, it is not like he is miles behind the others. The fact that Fields is even in the same ballpark as these three despite his experience level and quality of surrounding talent is a testament to his abilities.
NFC Pro Bowlers Rushing Comparison
Of course, on the ground is where Fields has really shone this season. Despite not even having the most rushes amongst this group, Fields has over 250 more rushing yards over his closest competitor (Hurts).
Fields not having the most rushing TDs between the four is perhaps a little surprising, but Hurts having more might speak more to the Eagles offensive machine rather than actual skill in finding the endzone. Plus, touchdowns are such a situational stat, it’s hard to suggest they are a good indicator of talent.
So was Fields really snubbed from this years Pro Bowl? Yes and no.
As a pure quarterback (a.k.a. the throwing aspect), probably not. While his numbers have been solid this year despite a lackluster receiving corps, and he is certainly passing the eye test that stats cannot convey, he still trails Cousins, Hurts, and Smith in the major stats through the air.
As an overall player though, a case could definitely be made Fields deserved a spot. While he has the least team success of the bunch, Fields’s overall play has been Pro Bowl worthy, especially considering the talent he is working with. His creativity and ability to conjure plays out of seemingly nowhere is unmatched by a lot of QBs.
Snub or not, it’s clear Fields is something special and has plenty of Pro Bowls in his future.
Plus, if one of the three who made it go far enough in the playoffs, we may see Fields make this Pro Bowl yet.