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Saints Nation: If Thomas Morstead Doesn’t Make the Pro Bowl, It’s the Final Indictment on a Popularity Contest Widely Known as a Farce

Very few players in my lifetime as a Saint fan have I felt more deserving of a Pro Bowl berth than Marques Colston at some point in his career. Seriously, how has he never been? What an utter crime that is. But there's one guy this season that deserves it more than he ever has, and that's punter Thomas Morstead. Morstead, despite being the punter for a small market team and going up against other punters that have mass support in markets like New York, Chicago, Dallas or Washington, DC, has more fan votes than anyone at his position. Part of that is how dedicated Saints fans are despite being relatively small by comparison in sheer volume, so kudos to all of you for that, and part of that is the fact that Morstead's numbers speak for themselves.

Fan voting, traditionally, is what holds a lot of Saints players back from making the Pro Bowl, because of the aforementioned small market component combined with the fact that fan voting comprises one third of voting. The other two thirds, coaches and players, are widely considered more legitimate votes. If a Saint player has a truly special season and is deserving of a Pro Bowl trip, we usually have to bank on the players and coaches hooking them up unless it's Drew Brees. But with Morstead locking up the fan vote this season against all odds, not making the Pro Bowl would show the "insider" votes are just as biased and corrupt. 

If you're a Saints fan you're used to records being broken the last few years with Drew Brees and Darren Sproles. Morstead, to his credit, broke a record himself last year for most touchbacks in a season in NFL history on kickoffs with an assist from the best offense in NFL history. This year, though, the record Morstead is two average games away from obliterating is infinitely more significant on a personal performance level than touchbacks, which while impressive necessitate an offense putting him in a position to kick off more frequently. Morstead is actually second in the NFL currently with gross punting average at 50.3, but his net average is an astronomical 44.7. The gross average is actually a throw away stat when you think about it, because a punter could destroy a punt 70 yards, but if it's run back for a touchdown he hasn't helped out his coverage. The net average factors in both returns and touchbacks against the punt distance, so doing well in that department is infinitely more important. Andy Lee of the 49ers owns the NFL record, setting it last year, with a net average of 43.99. Morstead was second in the NFL last year with a 43.1 net average. Andy Lee is still performing very well again this year with a net average of 43.2 which is on pace to be the 4th best of all time (assuming Morstead ends 1st). But Morstead has stepped up his game, and if he ends the year anywhere near the 44.7 net average he currently has (with 2 games left) it would be akin to Michael Johnson shattering the world record in the 200 meter olympics. We're talking about 0.7 yards per average better on EVERY SINGLE PUNT OVER THE COURSE OF AN ENTIRE SEASON. That's impressive any way you slice it.

And that's just how good of a season Morstead has had. He doesn't just deserve to make the Pro Bowl, then, he deserves to be enshrined for having the best season by an NFL punter in the entire history of the NFL. Based on that, if he doesn't make the Pro Bowl, the Pro Bowl is an even bigger joke than we already knew it was. If it has any shred of decency left it will include Thomas Morstead, the most deserving punter to ever deserve a trip to the Pro Bowl.