Patriots cornerback JC Jackson was somehow left off the Pro Bowl ballot despite leading the NFL in interceptions.
Before we dive in, allow us to start by saying that the Pro Bowl is a joke and we really couldn’t care less about the game itself. However, the voting process is something we take incredibly seriously, as there are always a handful of players who are given nods that simply didn’t deserve it, which actually affects future contract talks. Silly, but we know. Look no further than the chicanery going on with Yannick Ngakoue, whose Pro Bowl status will affect the Vikings’ compensation to the Jaguars for his services.
On the other side of the spectrum, there is usually guaranteed to be a few shocking snubs that leave fans ready to storm NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell’s office for allowing such lunacy to transpire under his watch.
Well, the conference ballots for 2020 were just released and New England Patriots fans have every right to be enraged because cornerback JC Jackson was somehow not listed despite leading the league with six interceptions through nine games.
What makes Jackson’s absence all the more maddening? The fact that Ryan Izzo made the cut despite having just 134 yards receiving this season, which is 41st (!) among qualified players at the tight end position.
Jackson has had some rough moments in coverage this season — specifically against the Jets two weeks ago — but he’s largely been excellent and arguably the Patriots’ best defensive player. Yes, that includes fellow CB Stephon Gilmore, who hasn’t been close to his usual dominant self on the perimeter. He’s also missed the last two games with a knee injury.
Despite that, both Gilmore and Jason McCourty, who’s admittedly been solid, were named on the AFC ballot over Jackson. As criminal as that sounds, there’s actually a logical explanation for it.
Per a Patriots spokesperson, the team is responsible for who makes the ballot and their decision apparently came down to the fact that Jackson isn’t a regular starter.
But don’t worry, Patriots fans, if New England could have listed a third cornerback, Jackson would’ve made the cut! Want another reason to gouge your eyes out? 73 other cornerbacks around the league were named to the ballot.
In every sense of the word, Jackson has enjoyed a breakout season. The third-year pro currently has 19 tackles, six interceptions, 11 passes defended and three fumble recoveries, which has seen him earn a 75.9 grade from Pro Football Focus. For those wondering, that’s the 12th-best marking of any cornerback in the league, but because he doesn’t start games — he’s still played 82% (!) of the defensive snaps — he doesn’t get the nod.
You’re not going to believe this, but after all this grousing, Jackson was, in fact, added to the ballot. Just makes you wonder if the Patriots were up to something, attempting to lower his leverage in future contract talks, then got called out for it. We are triggered.