Cowboys: DeMarcus Ware Has No Business Making Pro Bowl over Anthony Spencer

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistDecember 26, 2012

Nov 22, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware (94) talks with Anthony Spencer (93) during the game against the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving at Cowboys Stadium. The Redskins beat the Cowboys 38-31. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dez Bryant isn't the only Dallas Cowboy who was robbed of a Pro Bowl spot on Wednesday. But it's hard for Cowboys fans to complain about Anthony Spencer getting snubbed because it might have resulted in another Cowboy making the NFC roster at the very same position. 

DeMarcus Ware has the bigger name and the slight advantage in the sack department, which is why Ware is headed back to the Pro Bowl for the seventh consecutive year, while the underrated and more versatile and consistent Spencer will once again be on the outside looking in.

None of this matters because the Pro Bowl is about as relevant as a VHS tape featuring information on the Mayan 2012 apocalypse forecast, but recognition is recognition and it's worth pointing out that Spencer had a much better season than his much more popular cohort at outside linebacker. 

While Ware is still somewhat of a one-tricky pony, Spencer has arguably been the best run-defending linebacker in the NFL this season. He's the primary reason why the Cowboys have survived on defense despite losing starting inside linebackers Sean Lee and Bruce Carter, and he leads the team with 87 tackles—32 more than Ware has. 

He's taken significantly fewer penalties, has missed significantly fewer tackles and has clearly helped this team to more of a degree than Ware. 

Now, that's not to say that Ware hasn't had another superb season. The future Hall of Famer ranks fourth among NFL outside linebackers with 56 total pressures, according to Pro Football Focus. Aldon Smith was a lock for the NFC team, but few outside of Green Bay would have complained if Spencer and Ware made the team together, replacing Clay Matthews.

Yet Matthews has more sacks than either of those guys, despite missing four games. And in this league, that sack rate is of utmost importance to 3-4 outside linebackers. That's the primary reason why Ware is the only defensive player representing Dallas in Hawaii.