Tennessee Titans fans were furious when rookie punter Ryan Stonehouse wasn’t selected to the 2023 Pro Bowl Games. They’re going to be even more irate because the NFL announced that Las Vegas Raiders punter A.J. Cole will replace Tommy Townsend, who is going to Super Bowl LVII with the Kansas City Chiefs. Stonehouse wasn’t even the league’s second choice.
.@AJCole90 has been named to the 2023 Pro Bowl Games!— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) January 30, 2023
» https://t.co/SFa5uTLreQ pic.twitter.com/GKmsyEI3Jn
The slight arrives despite the fact that Stonehouse broke the NFL’s oldest single-season record with a historic rookie campaign in 2022. Stonehouse averaged 53.1 yards per punt during the regular season, marking a new single-season record. The previous record of 51.4 yards per punt was set by Sammy Baugh in 1940. Stonehouse’s jersey was added to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a result.
Stonehouse’s legendary campaign didn’t go completely unnoticed. Stonehouse was named to the PFA All-Rookie Team (alongside Chigoziem Okonkwo). The Pro Bowl news certainly caught Stonehouse’s attention, who commented on his snub via social media in not-so-subtle fashion.
Why do y’all give me more fuel— Ryan Stonehouse (@_RyanStonehouse) January 30, 2023
It’s worth noting that Cole’s net punting average of 43.8 was slightly higher than Stonehouse’s (43.4). Perhaps that factored into the league’s decision. Or perhaps Stonehouse is a victim of playing for the small-market Titans, or being a rookie. Stonehouse will be aiming for a Pro Bowl appearance in 2024.
Titans center Ben Jones was named to the Pro Bowl on Monday.