It's that time of year again. Time to start thinking about ... the Pro Bowl.
Specifically, the polls are open for Jets fans and for all NFL fans to begin casting their ballots for their favorite players to participate in the 2010 Pro Bowl.
Balloting for the Pro Bowl will conclude on Monday, Dec. 21, following the conclusion of the Monday night Green Bay–Chicago game, and the AFC and NFC teams will be announced on Tuesday, Dec. 29, at 4 p.m. on a special "NFL Total Access 2010 Pro Bowl Selection Show" on NFL Network.
This season's game is different from any other in NFL history. For one thing, for the first time since 1979, the Pro Bowl won't be played at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. The game this year will be played at Land Shark Stadium.
For another, the Pro Bowl will be played the week before the Super Bowl, not the week after. That means that one week after the conference championship games, on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010, football fans can begin a pigskin orgy in South Florida, checking out the best players from all but two NFL teams, the teams that will be involved the following Sunday, Feb. 7, in the Super Bowl XLIV.
Last year's Pro Bowl was a distinctive game for Jets fans, since a franchise-record seven players were selected to play in the game. Brett Favre, one of the three top fan vote-getters last year, bowed out due to injury, but six Jets played in the game: RBs Thomas Jones and Leon Washington, G Alan Faneca, C Nick Mangold, NT Kris Jenkins and CB Darrelle Revis.
The season-ending injuries suffered by Washington and Jenkins have kept them off this year's ballot, but the other four participants are ready, willing and able to return to the all-star game. And a few other Jets, such as linebacker David Harris, tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson and safety Kerry Rhodes, are eager to break through with their first Pro Bowl nomination.
The AFC and NFC all-star squads are based on the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group's vote counts one-third toward determining the 43-man rosters that represent the American Football Conference and National Football Conference in the Pro Bowl. NFL players and coaches will cast their votes on December 22-23.
The NFL is the only sports league that combines voting by fans, coaches and players to determine its all-star teams. It was the first professional sports league to offer online all-star voting in 1995.