George Kittle would like a word with the NFL about his Green Bay Packers buddy getting snubbed from the 2021 Pro Bowl roster.
The San Francisco 49ers tight end called out the league on Twitter on Tuesday night following the unveiling of this year’s Pro Bowl rosters, specifically for the notable absence of Robert Tonyan from the NFC’s roster. The Packers’ fourth-year starter has caught a touchdown pass in each of his last five games and is currently tied with Travis Kelce — an AFC selection for the sixth time — for the most touchdowns (10) among all tight ends this year.
Instead, the NFC’s tight end spots instead went to T.J. Hockenson (Detroit Lions) and Evan Engram (New York Giants), the latter of which has caught just a single touchdown pass all season despite playing in every game so far.
— George Kittle (@gkittle46) December 22, 2020
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Was Engram over Tonyan a True Snub?
There’s no doubt that Kittle, who trains with Tonyan in the offseason, holds certain biases for someone who has been a close friend since they went through the 2017 pre-draft process together, but the statistical comparison between Engram and Tonyan does raise some legitimate questions about the selection process.
I’m alleging Pro Bowl voting fraud. Robert Tonyan should’ve been the starter for NFC at the T.E position, but to not make it at all , is “UTTERLY RIDICULOUS”🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️
— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) December 22, 2020
While Engram has more receptions (54 to 49) and receiving yards (572 to 551), the two are simply on different levels when it comes to being scoring threats this season. Tonyan is just three touchdown passes away from having more in a season than Engram has produced in his entire four-year career (13), assuming the Giants starter doesn’t add a few more.
He is also significantly more efficient with a remarkable 89.1% catch percentage on 55 targets this year — a mere six he couldn’t secure — while Engram is sitting at 56.8% on 95 targets. That’s a difference of nearly four yards per target in favor of the Packers’ breakout star.
Now, there are some other factors to consider beyond what the stats say. For one, Tonyan has doesn’t have a second-year quarterback throwing him the football every week like Engram. He has Aaron Rodgers, who is having an MVP-caliber season. Engram is also regularly filling the No. 1 receiving role for the Giants whereas Davante Adams and other versatile Packers threats take some of that pressure away from Tonyan.
Which Other Packers Made the Pro Bowl?
Tonyan might have been left off the NFC’s roster, but the Packers still had seven other players dubbed Pro Bowlers this year to tie three other teams for the most in the league.
Rodgers earned his ninth career selection and third straight, which is a surprise to no one who has watched him rack up 40 touchdown passes and 3,828 passing yards through the Packers’ first 14 games of the season. The Packers also had consecutive honorees in Adams (fourth straight), left tackle David Bakhtiari (second) and outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith (second) along with two first-time selections in offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins and cornerback Jaire Alexander.