On Sunday the New York Jets locked up a playoff berth, and tonight the 10-5 Green & White have learned that three of their mainstays — cornerback Darrelle Revis, center Nick Mangold and tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson — will be representing the AFC in this year's Pro Bowl, in Hawaii on January 30, 2011.
Revis and Mangold have been named starters again and both are three-time Pro Bowl participants while Ferguson will be making his second straight all-star game appearance.
Revis manned "Revis Island" for yet another year, winning battles against big-name wide receivers like Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson and Terrell Owens. In 13 games this year, the University of Pittsburgh star and 2007 first-round draft pick had 32 tackles and 10 passes defensed, as many teams instituted the "Revis Rules" and simply did not throw the ball to his wide receiver assignment. Revis held the Johnsons, Detroit's Calvin and Houston's Andre, to a combined five catches for 45 yards and kept Owens to three catches for 17 yards.
"I didn't even have the Pro Bowl set in my mind this year," Revis said tonight. "My mindset was coming in here, getting back with the guys and getting back into football and playing ball. But I made it, and I appreciate it that people respect me and respect my game."
Mangold has started every single game since arriving in New York as a first-round choice in 2006. An anchor in the middle of the offensive line, the Ohio State standout's steadiness has been incredibly valuable for second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez, who became the second youngest Jets quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards in a season (the youngest was then 23-year-old Joe Namath in 1966).
At 6'4", 307 pounds, Mangold is also a key ingredient in the Jets' running game, helping the Green & White amass 2,098 yards on the ground this season — the third consecutive season they've rushed for at least 2,000 yards. Mangold, working next to RG Brandon Moore, who has started over 100 consecutive games, attributed the O-line's success to the whole group and particularly Moore.
"It's a great honor to have the fans, the players and the coaches voting and it's a special thing," Mangold said. "I'm really proud of it. Brandon, I think, has had an outstanding year and it's disappointing for me to not see him get the recognition that I think he deserves." Moore was named a third alternate in the voting for AFC guards.
By selecting Ferguson fourth overall in that 2006 draft before taking Mangold late in Round 1, the Jets assembled a one-two punch on the offensive line that have been quite a force ever since. Ferguson was an alternate selection for the Pro Bowl last year, and like Mangold has started every single game since he's been a Jet. Protecting Sanchez's blind side, the Virginia product has helped the O-line that has only given up 27 sacks this season, on pace to be the fewest allowed by the Jets in the last nine seasons.
Ferguson was grateful for his chance to be on the squad as an alternate last year and is relishing the moment as a selection this year.
"Just being a part of it is a great experience," he said. "It's always a humbling experience so I'm just really happy right now. I just try to be the best that I can be on that field and just do whatever I can to help the organization. It's confirmation that you see the work that you put in as well, and it's a great thing to really know that other people see you as a great, talented player."
These three Jets could be joined by other teammates who were named as alternates in the voting of the NFL's players, coaches and fans, who would play in the game if selected players ahead of them are unable to play due to injury or if their team is playing in the Super Bowl the following Sunday. These are the Jets' 2011 Pro Bowl alternates:
1st Alternate — LB David Harris
2nd Alternate —CB Antonio Cromartie, TE Dustin Keller, ST Brad Smith
3rd Alternate —G Brandon Moore
4th Alternate — DE Shaun Ellis, LB Calvin Pace, LB Jason Taylor
5th Alternate — RB LaDainian Tomlinson