DT Warren Sapp has more Pro Bowl votes than any other defensive player in the NFL
It's only October, so the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Pro Bowl hopefuls won't want to buy plane tickets to Hawaii just yet.
On the other hand, if balloting for the Pro Bowl continues in its current direction, there may be enough Bucs headed to Honolulu to get a chartered plane together.
On Thursday, the NFL released its first Pro Bowl voting update of the 2000 season, and while it's still quite early, the returns for the Buccaneers are quite encouraging.
Of the 19 different positions listed on the ballot, Tampa Bay players were leading the voting after one week in six of them. There are some positions, such as outside linebacker or wide receiver, where several starters will be chosen, but only one leader was listed on the league's release.
The six Buccaneers with a jumpstart on their February vacation plans are: FB Mike Alstott, G Randall McDaniel, C Jeff Christy, DT Warren Sapp, LB Derrick Brooks and S John Lynch. Not surprisingly, all six of those Buccaneers have already been to the Pro Bowl at least twice.
Fan voting accounts for one third of the selection process for the National Football League's annual all-star game. Voting by players and coaches fills out the process.
Voting for NFL fans began on NFL.com on October 15, and it will run through December 8. Coaches and players will vote shortly thereafter and the AFC and NFC teams will be announced on December 14. Each squad will consist of 43 players.
Several of the Buccaneers' vote leaders were among the most favored players at any position. Sapp has already garnered over 26,000 votes, the sixth-most of any player in the league and the most by any defensive player. Sapp, of course, is the NFL's reigning Defensive Player of the Year and currently has 9.5 sacks.
On the offensive side of the ball, Alstott has the fourth-most votes in the NFC, trailing only QB Kurt Warner, RB Marshall Faulk and WR Isaac Bruce of the undefeated St. Louis Rams.
This year's Pro Bowl will be televised live on ABC-TV on February 6 at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time.