The Buccaneers need a Week Seventeen upset win over the Saints and lots of help to get into the playoffs, but overall Tampa Bay’s season has been a major success. Playing in one of the NFL’s toughest divisions, coach Raheem Morris’ team has gone 9-6. They went 3-13 last year.
But the Bucs didn’t have a single player selected to the Pro Bowl during Tuesday night’s announcements. The 5-10 Texans are sending three players to Honolulu, two as starters. Dallas is 5-10, and will have a whopping five representatives, four of whom will start. Three 7-8 Raiders will go, two 2-13 Panthers, a 6-9 Redskin, etc.
Morris isn’t happy.
“It’s a little bit of a slap in the face,” the second-year coach told JoeBucsFan.com. “…You know, once you get some national games, you get some prime-time games out there and you make some big-time plays in those games, everybody sees them. … It’s the entertainment business.”
Tampa Bay didn’t play once in prime time this season, and every single Bucs home game was blacked out.
Offensive tackle Donald Penn, quarterback Josh Freeman, and tight end Kellen Winslow did earn potential bids as alternates. Freeman posted a better passer rating than Pro Bowl invitee Drew Brees. Penn protected Freeman’s blind side for a Bucs team that surrendered the ninth fewest sacks in the NFL. Winslow has more yards, a better yards-per-catch average, and just as many touchdowns as Pro Bowler Tony Gonzalez.
Ultimately, though, the alternates need injuries to Pro Bowl starters to go to Hawaii.
And the Bucs are in danger of going Pro Bowl-less for a second straight year.