You'll see players such as Nick Mangold, Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Nick Folk when the Jets take on the Dolphins Sunday in our 2013 season finale, but it doesn't have to be the last football game these men play this year.
Today is the final day of fan voting for the Pro Bowl rosters, and these four deserving players are all fighting to represent the Green & White with a trip to Hawaii.
The fan vote represents one-third of the final vote that will be added to the ballots from the players and coaches in determining this year's two all-star teams.
The parenthetical numbers next to the names represent the players' standings in the fan vote at their position as of Friday, Dec. 13. Also, remember that this year's game is unconferenced, meaning the AFC and NFC players are mixed into one common pool.
Offense — C Nick Mangold (4th)
It's difficult to make a quantitative case for an offensive lineman since statistics are few and far between, but Mangold's been an impermeable wall in the middle of our O-line this season.
Our 6'4", 307-pound center was voted into the Pro Bowl in four consecutive years from 2008-11. If he's chosen for trip No. 5, he will move into a three-way tie for second place in franchise history for most Pro Bowl selections as a Jet with T Marvin Powell and DE Mark Gastineau, behind C Kevin Mawae's six. (Winston Hill, though, had four Pro Bowls and four AFL All-Star Game berths to his credit.)
Mangold's played in every game this season — in fact, he's missed only two of the offense's 902 snaps this season — despite having a cast on his right wrist in the middle of the year.
Defense — DE Muhammad Wilkerson (6th), DT Sheldon Richardson (7th)
Among defensive ends, Wilkerson is tied for fourth with 62 tackles, seventh with 10.5 sacks and sixth with two forced fumbles. Rookie Sheldon Richardson leads all DTs with 76 tackles, according to the statistics on the Pro Bowl ballot.
But Wilkerson's fighting to hang on at spot No. 6, while Richardson needs a push up from No. 7. The top six vote-getters among fans, coaches and players at each position will be named to the initial Pro Bowl squads.
"They shouldn't be on the cusp," fellow D-lineman Leger Douzable said today. "They should be in the Pro Bowl, and it shouldn't even be close. Those guys make it a lot easier for me, 'Q' [Quinton Coples] and Calvin [Pace]. The level they've played at this year, they get a lot of attention, which in turn gives us a lot of 1-on-1's, so it's made my life a lot easier."
Special Teams — K Nick Folk (4th)
It's almost too easy to come up with Nick's nicknames.
Folk Hero. Saint Nick. Kick Folk.
No matter which one you prefer, though, everyone can agree on calling him clutch.
"Individual accolades don't mean much," Folk said. "It's all about winning as a team. That's all that matters. It'd be nice to make the Pro Bowl, but I'd rather be playing here the week after," for the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium.
Still, that's no excuse for the fans to keep him out of the next-best thing after his nearly perfect year.
He's missed just two kicks this season, and one was when the winds were whipping at Buffalo in Week 11. No kicker in our franchise's history has missed fewer than three kicks over the course of a full season. Upon hitting his first field goal attempt Sunday against Cleveland, he set our franchise record with 20 consecutive kicks made at home. Not to mention one 54-yarder, two AFC Special Teams Player of the Week awards, and three gamewinners.
Folk made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season with Dallas in 2007.