Rice: Pro Bowl is nice, but Super Bowl is the ultimate goal
There’s something to be said for building a reputation in the NFL. Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata certainly has done that. His rare combination of size and athleticism, power along with nimble feet, has made him respected by football fans. Over his career, we’ve heard Ngata praised by commentators — and rightly so.
So everyone has gotten the message about Ngata. And that’s why he’s in the Pro Bowl again this season.
But did he really have a Pro Bowl season?
Hampered by injury, Ngata hasn’t been the same player this year who built that reputation. He’ll make big plays, but he’ll also too often be pushed out of the way. In fact, again because of injury, he was subpar last season, too.
That’s not to say Ngata couldn’t — feeling healthier just in time — dominate the inside during the playoffs.
There’s less argument with the rest of the Ravens’ Pro Bowl selections, though some might say safety Ed Reed, too, made it more on reputation. That was the argument ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley made. But maybe Reed’s season has been colored by his becoming something of an example for the league to make on helmet-to-helmet hits, regardless of how accurate the cases may be.
One thing is for sure: You won’t be seeing any helmet-to-helmet hits at the Pro Bowl.