Gerald McCoy will have a teammate with him in Hawaii at the end of the month when the NFL plays its 2013 Pro Bowl. He just doesn’t know which one yet.
The results of the two NFC Divisional Playoff Games this weekend essentially guaranteed that a second Buccaneer will be added to the conference’s Pro Bowl roster, joining McCoy and about four dozen others. When the Falcons take on the 49ers in
San Francisco Atlanta next Sunday for the right to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLVII, they will also determine which Buc gets a ticket to Honolulu.
Here’s why: Both Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin were named first alternates for the Pro Bowl when the teams were announced in late December. That means that either one would automatically be the next player chosen if one of the Pro Bowlers at their position is unable to play in the game for any reason. Going to the Super Bowl is one of those reasons. Since the Pro Bowl is now played the weekend before the Super Bowl, no player who is getting ready for the big game is going to go to Hawaii.
And, no matter what happens next Sunday, one of the players in front of either Jackson or Martin is going to be going to New Orleans to battle for the Lombardi Trophy. If San Francisco wins the NFC Championship Game, then 49ers RB Frank Gore will pull out of the Pro Bowl and that will create a spot for Martin. If Atlanta wins, then Falcons WR Julio Jones will pull out of the Pro Bowl and that will create a spot for Jackson.
So it’s a win-win for the Buccaneers, in a way. And, of course, there is always the possibility that one of the NFC’s Pro Bowl backs or wideouts will pull out of the game for another reason, and both Jackson and Martin will be booking flights to Hawaii. However, though nothing is yet official, it’s clear that at least one of the two is definitely headed to the Pro Bowl.