In just his second NFL year, K Martin Gramatica could be celebrating a Pro Bowl berth in February if he continues to get strong fan support
The Bucs are fighting for their playoff lives down the stretch of the 2000 season, but it appears as if a good chunk of the roster will be headed to some postseason action regardless of December's results.
The NFL released the current results of its online Pro Bowl balloting, and seven Tampa Bay players are the leading votegetters at their positions (or second at a position where two starters are selected). Those seven are center Jeff Christy, cornerback Ronde Barber (second to Washington's Champ Bailey), fullback Mike Alstott, strong safety John Lynch, guard Randall McDaniel, interior lineman Warren Sapp and outside linebacker Derrick Brooks. Sapp is the leading votegetter of any defensive player in the NFL.
Tampa Bay's six outright leaders are the most by any team in the NFL. Tennessee is second with five position leaders in the AFC voting.
In addition, K Martin Gramatica is currently running a very close second at his position and cornerback Donnie Abraham is fifth in a tight race at his spot. Gramatica, in fact, is just 2,000 votes behind Minnesota's Gary Anderson, while the third-place kicker, Green Bay's Ryan Longwell, is almost 38,000 votes behind Gramatica.
The roster for the annual AFC-NFC Pro Bowl is selected by a three-prong process that gives equal weight to one collective ballot each from fans, coaches and players. In addition to voting online, fans vote at every NFL stadium on selected game days and at certain local promotional spots. Buccaneers fans voted during Tampa Bay's home games against Green Bay and Buffalo.
In the case of ties, the fan portion of the voting is used as the tiebreaker. Online fan voting at NFL.com concludes on Friday, December 8.
Pro Bowl rosters will be revealed on NFL.com on Thursday, December 14, followed by the annual ESPN Pro Bowl Selection Show at 8:00 PM ET. The Pro Bowl takes place on Sunday, February 4 at 5:30 PM ET. It will be the 22nd consecutive NFL All-Star game played at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu and will be broadcast live on ABC-TV.
Here's a look at where Buccaneers feature prominently in the online Pro Bowl balloting (numbers as of Tuesday, November 28):
|Interior Lineman||Warren Sapp||Buccaneers||129,431|
|Strong Safety||John Lynch||Buccaneers||72,997|