DeAndre Levy named Lions MVP on defense, but why no Pro Bowl love?

Posted Jan 10, 2014

Levy finished tied for second in the NFL with six interceptions but isn’t even an alternate for the Pro Bowl

DeAndre Levy had a breakout 2013 season.

DeAndre LevyLB DeAndre Levy (Photo: G. Smith/Detroit Lions)

The fifth-year outside linebacker out of Wisconsin finished tied for second in the NFL with six interceptions. His 119 tackles were a career high and ranked in the top 19 in the league.

Levy returned one of those interceptions for a touchdown against Arizona in Week 2 and had another called back because of a penalty Week 1 against Minnesota.

It all added up to Levy's teammates voting him the Lem Barney Defensive Most Valuable Player this season.

This award is given in honor of Lem Barney, one of the premier defensive backs in the history of football. As a rookie, Barney intercepted 10 passes -- returning three for touchdowns -- and was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

He played in seven Pro Bowls, earning All-Pro honors three times. Barney played in 140 games, missing just 14, and totaled 56 interceptions. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992.

Levy’s numbers, however, weren’t good enough to earn him a trip to Hawaii and the Pro Bowl later this month.

Levy and all the other 4-3 outside linebackers are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to the Pro Bowl voting because they are lumped into the same category as 3-4 rush linebackers. And when it comes to defensive statistics let’s face it, sacks are sexy.

The outside linebackers on this year’s Pro Bowl team are John Abraham (11.5 sacks), Ahmad Brooks (8.5), Tamba Hali (11), Justin Houston (11), Robert Mathis (19.5) and Terrell Suggs (10). All six play in 3-4 schemes that allow them to rack up sack totals.

The fact that Levy is a relatively new name to the Pro Bowl process didn’t help him, either.

Levy didn't get much love from fellow players and NFL coaches, despite finishing 10th in the fans voting.

There's always next year's Pro Bowl for Levy, who'd probably say being voted MVP by his teammates means more to him anyway.