Tennessee ties for NFL high with eight plauers on AFC all-star squad; Miami & Baltimore send five, Buffalo & Denver four each; 14 first time choices
The Tennessee Titans placed eight players on the American Football Conference All-Star squad that will meet the National Football Conference All-Stars in the 2001 AFC-NFC Pro Bowl, the NFL announced today. The Titans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers each placed an NFL-high eight players on the All-Star squads.
The Pro Bowl -- the 51st in the format that began in Los Angeles in 1951 - will be played for the 22nd consecutive year at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii on Sunday, February 4 at 12:30 PM HT. It will be broadcast live at 5:30 PM ET by ABC-TV and CBS Radio.
The Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins will each send five players to the game, with the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos sending four apiece. Fourteen AFC players were selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time.
The 42-man AFC squad is comprised of 21 offensive and 17 defensive players plus four specialists. A 43rd "need" player will be chosen by the AFC head coach and must be a linebacker or defensive end.
The NFL is the only professional sports league that combines voting by fans, coaches and players in determining its all-star teams. The consensus vote of fans counted as one-third of the total. Each team had two equal votes -- those of the coach and the players with no one permitted to vote for a player on his own team.
Three quarterbacks are named to each Pro Bowl squad. This year's starting AFC quarterback is Oakland's RICH GANNON, who has led the Raiders to their first playoff berth since 1993. Gannon was an AFC Pro Bowl reserve last season. PEYTON MANNING of the Indianapolis Colts, who leads the NFL with 3,924 passing yards and has an AFC-high 28 touchdown passes, also earned his second Pro Bowl trip in a row. Manning will be the third quarterback to play in two Pro Bowls (24 years, 10 months, 11 days old on Pro Bowl game day) before his 25th birthday (DREW BLEDSOE and BRETT FAVRE). The other quarterback reserve is first-time AFC All-Star BRIAN GRIESE of the Denver Broncos, who leads the NFL with a 102.8 passer rating.
Quarterbacks Griese and Manning join their NFL quarterback fathers (BOB GRIESE and ARCHIE MANNING) as Pro Bowlers and are part of two of five father-son combinations in NFL history to earn trips to the Pro Bowl. The others are BERT and DUB JONES, ERIK and ERNIE MC MILLAN, and ERIC and TERRY METCALF.
Starting along with Gannon in the AFC backfield will be NFL rushing leader EDGERRIN JAMES of the Indianapolis Colts, who makes his second Pro Bowl start in his first two seasons. New York Jets fullback RICHIE ANDERSON, who leads all running backs with 72 receptions, is the other backfield starter. EDDIE GEORGE of the Tennessee Titans and COREY DILLON of the Cincinnati Bengals are the reserve running backs. George is the second player in NFL history to rush for 1,200 yards in each of his first five seasons (ERIC DICKERSON). Dillon has two 200-yard rushing games this season and set the all-time single-game rushing record with 278 yards on October 22.
Joining George among the Titans' AFC-best eight Pro Bowlers are starters BLAINE BISHOP at strong safety, BRUCE MATTHEWS at guard and first-time All-Star SAMARI ROLLE at cornerback. Tennessee's reserves are a pair of first-time AFC All-Stars - tackle BRAD HOPKINS and kick return specialist DERRICK MASON - along with defensive end JEVON KEARSE and tight end FRANK WYCHECK.
Matthews was selected to his 13th consecutive Pro Bowl. His 13 AFC-NFC Pro Bowl selections tie REGGIE WHITE for the most times selected since 1970.
Starting at wide receiver are MARVIN HARRISON of the Indianapolis Colts, who leads the AFC with 11 touchdown receptions, and ERIC MOULDS of the Buffalo Bills, who is tied for the NFL high with 88 receptions. Reserves are JIMMY SMITH of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who makes his fourth consecutive trip to Hawaii, and first-time AFC All-Star ROD SMITH of the Denver Broncos, who leads the league in receiving yards (1,421).
The Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins tie the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the most defensive starters (three). Starting from Baltimore's defense are interior lineman SAM ADAMS, inside linebacker RAY LEWIS, and free safety ROD WOODSON, selected to his ninth all-star squad. Miami's defensive starters in the Pro Bowl will be defensive ends TRACE ARMSTRONG and JASON TAYLOR - both making their first trips to Hawaii - and cornerback SAM MADISON.
Other Ravens on the AFC All-Star squad are starting tackle JONATHAN OGDEN and placekicker MATT STOVER. The Dolphins also send free safety BROCK MARION as a reserve and special teamer LARRY IZZO.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end TONY GONZALEZ, Harrison, Matthews, Mason, Seau and Rod Woodson are the AFC players selected as a unanimous choices by coaches, fans and players.
Other Bills on the squad are starting guard RUBEN BROWN, who makes his fifth consecutive trip, first-time AFC All Star SAM COWART at inside linebacker, and interior lineman TED WASHINGTON.
Joining Griese and Smith from Denver are reserve center TOM NALEN and starting interior lineman TREVOR PRYCE.
Rounding out the AFC offensive starters are Jacksonville Jaguars tackle TONY BOSELLI and New York Jets center KEVIN MAWAE. The other AFC reserve is guard STEVE WISNIEWSKI of the Oakland Raiders, an eight-time selection.
Other AFC defensive starters include outside linebackers MO LEWIS of the New York Jets and JUNIOR SEAU of the San Diego Chargers. Seau will be the fourth player since 1970 to make 10 consecutive Pro Bowl trips (RANDALL MC DANIEL, 12; MIKE SINGLETARY, 10; and LAWRENCE TAYLOR, 10).
Completing the AFC defensive reserves are first-time AFC All-Star JASON GILDON of the Pittsburgh Steelers at outside linebacker and CHARLES WOODSON of the Oakland Raiders at cornerback.
The AFC special teams features three first-time Pro Bowlers - Izzo, Mason and Stover. San Diego Chargers punter DARREN BENNETT, who leads the league with a 46.6 average, makes his second trip to the Pro Bowl.
The National Football Conference defeated the American Conference 51-31 in last season's Pro Bowl. The NFC leads the series 16-14. The coaching staff will be from the AFC Championship Game runner-up team.
The selected players with the most votes at each position are the designated starters. Under terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each player on the winning team receives $30,000, while each player on the losing squad earns $15,000.
AFC-NFC PRO BOWL, SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2001, ALOHA STADIUM, HONOLULU, HAWAII
(Starting players underlined and bolded)
(* First-time Pro Bowl selection)
Wide receivers - Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis; Eric Moulds, Buffalo; *Rod Smith, Denver; Jimmy Smith, Jacksonville
Tackles - Jonathan Ogden, Baltimore; Tony Boselli, Jacksonville; *Brad Hopkins, Tennessee
Guards - Bruce Matthews, Tennessee; Ruben Brown, Buffalo; Steve Wisniewski, Oakland
Centers - Kevin Mawae, New York Jets; Tom Nalen, Denver
Tight Ends - Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City; Frank Wycheck, Tennessee
Quarterbacks - Rich Gannon, Oakland; Peyton Manning, Indianapolis; *Brian Griese, Denver;
Running backs - Edgerrin James, Indianapolis; Eddie George, Tennessee; Corey Dillon, Cincinnati
Fullback - *Richie Anderson, New York Jets
Ends - *Jason Taylor, Miami; *Trace Armstrong, Miami; Jevon Kearse, Tennessee
Interior linemen - Trevor Pryce, Denver; *Sam Adams, Baltimore; Ted Washington, Buffalo
Outside linebackers - Junior Seau, San Diego; Mo Lewis, New York Jets; *Jason Gildon, Pittsburgh
Inside linebackers - Ray Lewis, Baltimore; *Sam Cowart, Buffalo
Cornerbacks - Sam Madison, Miami; *Samari Rolle, Tennessee; Charles Woodson, Oakland
Strong safety - Blaine Bishop, Tennessee
Free safeties - Rod Woodson, Baltimore; *Brock Marion, Miami
Punter - Darren Bennett, San Diego
Placekicker - *Matt Stover, Baltimore
Kick return specialist - *Derrick Mason, Tennessee
Special teamer - *Larry Izzo, Miami