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Jordy Nelson Is The NFL’s Biggest Pro Bowl Snub

Nelson Pro-Bowl - NFL Elvis Kennedy via


Nelson Still Being Overlooked Outside of Green Bay

With all due respect to Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari, his teammate Jordy Nelson is this year’s biggest omission from the NFC’s Pro-Bowl roster.

After suffering a torn ACL in last year’s preseason at the age of 30, Nelson fought his way through a long and difficult rehab process to attempt an unlikely return in 2016 to his All-Pro form of 2014, a year in which he caught 98 passes for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Most athletes that tear their ACL above the age of 30 never get back to the level of play they achieved prior, albeit with advances in technology it has become easier, in the physically demanding sport of football it’s no walk in the park.

Even the remarkable bounce back of Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson after his torn ACL in 2011 took place at the age of 26. Had his injury happened last year at the age of 30 like Nelson’s, it’s far less probable he has a season like he did in 2012 when he won the league MVP.

Despite the odds against him, Nelson’s hard-working nature has allowed him to experience a resurgence this year, nearly equal to Peterson or any other Comeback Player of the Year Award winner over the past 10 years.

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In fact, he is on pace to nearly top the numbers he put up in his breakout year of 2014. According to ESPNNelson is projected for 94 catches, 1, 185 yards and 14 touchdowns by seasons end. This would put him near or at the top of each category.

However, since the Pro-Bowl picks were made prior to the end of the season those projections are essentially pointless. The good news is Nelson already has plenty of numbers on his side.

He currently ranks in the top 5 of almost all receiving categories among eligible players in the NFC, coming into this week 5th in yards (1,037), 4th in receptions (82), 5th in first downs (51), 4th in plays of 20 yards or more (15), and 1st in touchdowns (12).

Some may be asking the question though, “Well if Nelson is in, which receiver should be left out?” There’s a pretty simple answer.

The Case For Nelson Over Fitzgerald

StatJordy NelsonLarry Fitzgerald
Team W-L Record8-65-8-1
Rec. Yards1,037949
Rec TD125
20+ Yard Plays157

As their stats show, Nelson ranks ahead of Arizona Cardinal Larry Fitzgerald in every major category except catches, and even that is negated by the fact that Nelson averages almost three more yards per catch and seven yards per game than Fitz.

This indicates that his catches garner much more impact and influence on outcomes.

If Fitzgerald and the Cardinals were tearing up the league like they did last season, it would be more plausible to overlook the statistical differences, but with Arizona sitting at just 5 wins it’s even more frustrating.

Especially when you consider that Nelson has been crucial to Green Bay winning countless games this year, and often times he has been directly responsible during their late season push for a playoff spot.

An easy example would be his 60-yard reception against the Bears this past weekend, a catch that set-up a game winning field goal for the Packers as time expired. Or his three late-game 3rd down receptions against the Texans in week 13, one going for a 32-yard touchdown just when it seemed the offense had lost it’s rhythm, and the other two coming late in the 4th to clinch the victory.

There’s not a receiver in football, perhaps minus Odell Beckham Jr., that has made more clutch plays for a single team than Nelson this year. In 4th quarters this season, he has caught 19 passes for 368 yards, an outstanding 19.4 yards per catch clip, and one touchdown.

Despite this, his skill and importance are overlooked and underappreciated around the league by fans and players alike.

Ultimately, Nelson will probably end up with a spot in the Pro Bowl if he wants it after players opt out, but that doesn’t mask the fact that his greatness is undervalued time and time again.

Those that watch him week after week know better than to dismiss him as just another guy, but the legend of “White Lightning” will continue to grow regardless of those who doubt him.