The Jets will be represented in the Pro Bowl in South Florida with three players come late January. Cornerback Darrelle Revis, guard Alan Faneca and center Nick Mangold, all of whom were former first-round draft picks, were announced on NFL Network's Pro Bowl telecast tonight that they have been named as starters on the AFC's all-star team.
Revis is making his second Pro Bowl appearance and first start after displaying one of the most dominating seasons of any cornerback through the season's first 16 weeks. The NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate and Curtis Martin Team MVP has six interceptions, one of which he returned for a 67-yard TD against Carolina in Week 12, and unofficially leads the NFL with 31 passes defended.
"It was one of my personal goals, trying to get back, to be one of those caliber players, a Pro Bowl player," Revis said on a conference call with reporters tonight. "I worked hard this off-season and it's carrying over on the field. This time I'm a starter and it is the next step, it's another step for me."
No. 24 has shut down some of the league's elite receivers without flinching, making it easier for the rest of the defense to function as a unit. The third-year pro is key to a group that ranks No. 1 in the NFL in total defense, pass defense and points allowed.
Fourth-year veteran Mangold is also appearing in his second consecutive Pro Bowl and will be starting for the second time as well. The 6'4", 305-pounder has kept his game consistent while the Jets switched quarterbacks, from then-18-year QB Brett Favre to rookie Mark Sanchez.
"I'm just amazed that the fans, coaches and players put me in there over some amazing centers in the AFC," Mangold said. "It's quite the humbling experience and to see the people on the roster that I'm there with is a crazy thing. I don't think it's sunk in yet that I have the opportunity to be the starter for that team."
No. 74 has made 63 straight starts and anchors a run game that's tops in the league in rushing yards (166.6 per game) and carries (550) through Week 16. The Jets' 2,499 rushing yards are their second-highest total through 15 games in franchise history (behind the 2,550 yards in 1979).
Faneca also will represent the Jets for the second straight season as a conference O-line starter since general manager Mike Tannenbaum acquired the 12th-year veteran, his ninth consecutive Pro Bowl overall. A force on the line, No. 66 can be seen often pulling and running down the field to lead the way, for example in front of Thomas Jones on the running back's 29-yard run to the Colts 1-yard line on Sunday.
"It's a great honor and it never gets old," Faneca said. "It's something special to be asked to go to, especially when you get there and look at the room and look at the guys around you."
The 6'5", 305-pounder has played in 184 career regular-season games, including the last 127 consecutively, which is the longest current streak among NFL guards. And he's one of the members of an offensive line that's started 31 straight games together.
"I think as a unit, we've had a good year," Faneca said. "Especially rushing the ball, we're doing a great job."
The Jets have also learned tonight that they have five players as alternates in the Pro Bowl voting. First alternates are RB Thomas Jones (a Pro Bowl player for the first time last season), T D'Brickashaw Ferguson and LB Bart Scott. Second alternates are LB David Harris and DE Shaun Ellis.
"To not see Thomas' number get called is disappointing," Mangold said. "I know he doesn't care about the recognition, but I'd like to see him get that recognition."
Players are selected through a three-tiered system that includes fan online voting at nfl.com, which concluded last week, as well as separate voting by NFL players and coaches.
The Jets had a league-leading seven Pro Bowl players last season and sent six of them — Jones, Mangold, Faneca, Revis, Leon Washington and Kris Jenkins — on to play in last year's game at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, as usual one week after the Super Bowl. This year's game will be played for the first time in the Miami area and will be played Jan. 31, the week before Super Bowl XLIV.