Game Time: Matt Schaub Gets The Coolest Participation Ribbon Ever

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Let me preface the next several hundred words with this -- I am a Matt Schaub fan. I think the guy had a phenomenal 2009 season and deserved to be at the Pro Bowl this weekend long before Tom Brady and Phillip Rivers pulled out of the game with injuries to their respective bodily parts (and, likely, their bruised egos after both of their teams laid a a big, fat turd in their only playoff games).

I also think the cracks on Schaub's durability heading into this season were a bit overblown, if not unwarranted. On his most severe injuries, his body parts contorted in a way they were not meant to contort; simply, put, anyone would go down with an injury if Jared Allen bent their knee into a "greater than" symbol. Those of us espousing this view on Schaub's toughness and durability were vindicated in the Jacksonville game when the Texans' medical staff popped his dislocated shoulder back into place after he went down on the first play from scrimmage, a procedure that hurts worse than it sounds.

Schaub is the unquestioned leader of the Texans offense and a big reason why they will go into next season with a clear "playoffs or bust" mantra. There...we're clear on where I stand on Schaub. I like the guy.

All of that said, I am giving everyone a 24-hour post-game period to celebrate Schaub's Most Valuable Player award for the 2010 Pro Bowl. Report it on your stations, blog about it, celebrate it...today. And that's it. After today, I implore all media members -- radio, television, print, web -- to tuck Schaub's glorified participation ribbon (albeit, the nicest one of the bunch) away and never mention it again.

I bring this up not because I want to rain on Schaub's parade, but because inevitably someone much less intelligent than you or me will harken back to last night's game when the topic of "all things Schaub" begins to polarize. They will either use it to defend Schaub if he gets out to a slow start in 2010, something along the lines of "You have to give him time, this is a
guy who threw for 4,700 yards last season and was MVP OF THE PRO BOWL!"

Or more likely, they will use it as some sort of accolade to measure him against other elite or near-elite quarterbacks in the league -- "Yeah Peyton and Brees are awesome, but Matt Schaub was MVP OF THE PRO BOWL!  He's right there!!"

Yeah, ultimately he may be, but last night has NOTHING to do with it. Winning a playoff game...hell, PLAYING in a playoff game would probably help. Just promise me, people, that when it comes time to compare Matt Schaub or defend Matt Schaub (and it seems like we all spend the better part of the fall doing one of these two things) that you don't bring up his MVP
award in that sham of a flag football game played last night in Miami.

Never mind that it's virtually impossible for anyone except a quarterback, running back, or wide receiver to win the award because the defense is so ridiculously lackluster and porous that guys feel compelled to help a guy up and give him a "hey, my bad" tap on the helmet if they actually hit someone. Never mind that if you had the "OVER" on total points scored in
this game, you were laughing three minutes into the second half. (And for those rolling their eyes about Pro Bowl wagering, if the mark is as easy as "OVER 58" in a game with no blitzing and no effort on the defensive side of the ball, you take down that mark.  Simple as that. No apologies.)

Just look at the highlights....

Seriously, how deplorable is that "defense"? The defensive backs and linebackers cover and tackle the skill guys on the other team like they're gonna catch a case of herpes from them.

In fact, I would contend that it's more prestigious to be named MVP of the cheesy, backyard game in Brett Favre's Wrangler jeans commercial. Hell, in that game at least everyone appears to be trying, not to mention the fact that you would actually have to climb over media darling Brett Favre to win the thing. As far as the game last night goes, neither of those things is true.

In some ways, Schaub winning MVP of a meaningless, devoid-of-focus game is a pretty solid metaphor for something. I mean the last two seasons the Texans have achieved the most minor level of redemption by running the table and playing their best football after they've been virtually eliminated from the playoffs. That Schaub was the best player on the field in a game with zero playoff implications, and yet some will point to this performance as a reason to believe is completely appropriate....and all the more reason, it needs to get swept under the rug.

Compare Matt Schaub to the best of the best if you like. Right now, he'll fall short but he's closed the gap significantly. Name eight quarterbacks you'd take ahead of Schaub right now; you can't. He's in the upper quartile of signal callers in the league. Forty-seven-hundred yards and a full season under center have done that.

MVP of the most extravagant pick up football game in the free world? Not so much.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the Sean & John Show, and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.

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