Six Tampa Bay Buccaneers, tying the Baltimore Ravens for most players selected league-wide, were voted to the National Football Conference All-Star team that will face the American Football Conference All-Stars in the 2002 Pro Bowl, the NFL announced today.
This is the third consecutive year that the Buccaneers have had the most or have tied for the most NFC All-Star selections. The Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers will send five players each to Hawaii. Thirteen NFC players will participate in their first Pro Bowl.
The Pro Bowl starting lineups will be announced on ABC-TV on Saturday, January 12 at halftime of the AFC and NFC Wild Card games.
The Pro Bowl -- the 52nd in the format that began in Los Angeles in 1951 – will be played for the 23rd consecutive year at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii on Saturday, February 9 at 11:30 AM HT. It will be broadcast live at 4:30 PM ET by ABC-TV and CBS Radio.
The 42-man NFC squad is comprised of 21 offensive and 17 defensive players plus four specialists. A 43rd "need" player will be chosen by the NFC 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 each group counts one-third of the total. Each team submits two ballots -- those of the coach and the players with no one permitted to vote for a player on his own team.
This year, a record number of votes (43,957,135) were cast by fans on NFL.com and at more than 5,200 Blockbuster stores nationwide.
Green Bay, San Francisco, and St. Louis each produced an All-Star quarterback and running back. The NFC quarterbacks are the Packers' BRETT FAVRE, who ranks second in the conference with a 93.1 passer rating and has been selected to his sixth Pro Bowl and his first since the 1997 season; the 49ers' JEFF GARCIA, who makes his second consecutive appearance; and the Rams' KURT WARNER, who leads the NFL with 4,550 passing yards and 33 touchdowns and was selected to his third Pro Bowl in a row.
At running back, St. Louis' MARSHALL FAULK, who leads the league with 20 touchdowns, has been chosen for his sixth game and fourth in a row; Green Bay's AHMAN GREEN, who leads the NFC in rushing with 1,286 yards, makes his first appearance; and San Francisco's GARRISON HEARST returns to the All-Star game for the first time since the 1998 season. For the fifth consecutive year, the NFC's fullback is Tampa Bay's MIKE ALSTOTT.
The wide receivers are first-time All-Star DAVID BOSTON of Arizona, who leads the NFL with 1,540 receiving yards; four-time Pro Bowler ISAAC BRUCE of St. Louis; Tampa Bay's KEYSHAWN JOHNSON, who ties for the NFL lead with 106 receptions and makes his third Pro Bowl appearance; and San Francisco's TERRELL OWENS, who leads the league with 14 receiving TDs and was selected for his second Pro Bowl in a row. First-time All-Star BUBBA FRANKS of Green Bay joins five-time Pro Bowler WESLEY WALLS of Carolina at tight end.
Minnesota's MATT BIRK makes his second consecutive trip to Honolulu at center and is joined at the position by first-time All-Star OLIN KREUTZ of Chicago. The NFC guards are Dallas' LARRY ALLEN, who is a seven-time selection; San Francisco's RAY BROWN, who makes the first appearance of his 16-year career; and New York's RON STONE, who returns to Hawaii for the second straight year. The NFC's tackles are St. Louis' ORLANDO PACE, who is a three-time All-Star; Washington's CHRIS SAMUELS, who makes his first appearance; and first-time selection JAMES WILLIAMS of Chicago.
The defensive ends are Philadelphia's two-time All-Star HUGH DOUGLAS; Detroit's ROBERT PORCHER, who will make
his third trip to Hawaii; and the New York Giants' MICHAEL STRAHAN, who makes his fourth Pro Bowl appearance and leads the league with 21.5 sacks – one half-sack shy of the NFL record of 22.0 set by MARK GASTINEAU in 1984.
New Orleans' LA'ROI GLOVER, Tampa Bay's WARREN SAPP, and San Francisco's BRYANT YOUNG are the NFC's interior linemen. Glover has been selected to his second Pro Bowl, Sapp his fifth, and Young his third.
The NFC's three outside linebackers are five-time All-Star JESSIE ARMSTEAD of New York, first-time selection LA VAR ARRINGTON of Washington, and five-time Pro Bowler DERRICK BROOKS of Tampa Bay. Inside, the NFC returns its two linebackers from 2001, Philadelphia's JEREMIAH TROTTER and Chicago's BRIAN URLACHER, who both make their second Pro Bowl appearance.
The NFC cornerbacks are Tampa Bay's RONDE BARBER, who leads the NFL with 10 interceptions and makes his first appearance; Philadelphia's TROY VINCENT, in his third consecutive trip to Honolulu; and St. Louis' AENEAS WILLIAMS, who was selected six times with the Arizona Cardinals but will play in the Pro Bowl in his first year with the Rams.
At strong safety for the NFC squad are New Orleans' SAMMY KNIGHT, a Pro Bowl rookie; and Tampa Bay's JOHN LYNCH, who is a four-time All-Star. Philadelphia's BRIAN DAWKINS, a two-time Pro Bowler, is the NFC's free safety.
The NFC specialists are Carolina punter TODD SAUERBRUN, who leads the NFL with a 47.5 average; rookie kick return specialist STEVE SMITH of Carolina, who tops the league with a 26.7 kickoff return average; placekicker DAVID AKERS of Philadelphia; and special teamer LARRY WHIGHAM of Chicago. Sauerbrun, Smith, and Akers will all make their first trip to Hawaii. This is Whigham's second selection.
The American Football Conference defeated the National Conference 38-17 in last season's Pro Bowl. The NFC leads the series 16-15. The coaching staff will be from the NFC Championship Game runner-up team.
The selected players with the most votes at each position are the designated starters, who will be announced on January 12. 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.
NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE ALL-STARS
AFC-NFC PRO BOWL, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2002, ALOHA STADIUM, HONOLULU, HAWAII
(* First-time Pro Bowl selection)
(Note: Starters will be announced January 12 at halftime of NFC Wild Card Game on ABC-TV)
- David Boston, Arizona
- Bubba Franks, Green Bay
Isaac Bruce, St. Louis
Wesley Walls, Carolina
Keyshawn Johnson, Tampa Bay
Terrell Owens, San Francisco
Brett Favre, Green Bay
Jeff Garcia, San Francisco
Orlando Pace, St. Louis
Kurt Warner, St. Louis
- Chris Samuels, Washington
- James Williams, Chicago
Marshall Faulk, St. Louis
- Ahman Green, Green Bay
Larry Allen, Dallas
Garrison Hearst, San Francisco
- Ray Brown, San Francisco
Ron Stone, New York Giants
Mike Alstott, Tampa Bay
Matt Birk, Minnesota
- Olin Kreutz, Chicago
Hugh Douglas, Philadelphia
Jeremiah Trotter, Philadelphia
Robert Porcher, Detroit
Brian Urlacher, Chicago
Michael Strahan, New York Giants
- Ronde Barber, Tampa Bay
La'Roi Glover, New Orleans
Troy Vincent, Philadelphia
Warren Sapp, Tampa Bay
Aeneas Williams, St. Louis
Bryant Young, San Francisco
- Sammy Knight, New Orleans
Jessie Armstead, New York Giants
John Lynch, Tampa Bay
- LaVar Arrington, Washington
Derrick Brooks, Tampa Bay
Brian Dawkins, Philadelphia
KICK RETURN SPECIALIST
- Todd Sauerbrun, Carolina
- Steve Smith, Carolina
- David Akers, Philadelphia
Larry Whigham, Chicago