The NFL’s latest update on the fan balloting for the Pro Bowl on NFL.com had the same encouraging news from the one released two weeks ago: Ronde Barber is still the top vote-getter at free safety in the NFC. If he does earn his sixth trip to Honolulu, the 37-year-old Barber may have a 23-year-old teammate to show around.
Tampa Bay’s rookie sensation, Doug Martin, isn’t the leading vote-getter at running back in the NFC, but he is making a charge at the established guard. Martin currently stands fourth in the voting behind a trio of backs who have made a combined nine Pro Bowl trips: Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson (four Pro Bowls), Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch (two) and San Francisco’s Frank Gore (three).
The eventual NFC Pro Bowl roster will be determined using three phases of voting, the current one on NFL.com which started in October and goes through mid-December, plus a round of balloting by NFL players and a round by NFL coaches. The NFC team will feature three running backs, so Martin is certainly on the cusp of becoming the second rookie running back in franchise history to earn a Pro Bowl nod. Warrick Dunn did it first in 1997.
Martin has clearly made a strong case for all-star inclusion. He is third in the NFC (and in the NFL, actually) with 1,050 rushing yards, just one yard behind Lynch for second place. Gore ranks fifth, with 914 yards.
Martin leads the entire conference in touchdowns, with 10. Peterson has seven, Gore has six and Lynch has five.
The Buccaneer rookie also is second behind Peterson in total yards from scrimmage, with 1,382, and that’s a very tight race. Peterson’s edge is just 39 yards heading into Week 12. Lynch is fifth on the list at 1,189, while Gore is tied for 11th, with 1,071.
Buccaneer fans have 19 more days to help Barber and Martin in their respective Pro Bowl races, and there are certainly several other Tampa Bay players have put together all star-caliber seasons. Vote now and help the rising Bucs make a strong representation in Hawaii in February.