RB Warrick Dunn made two Pro Bowls during his first stint as a Buccaneer and is currently up for a weekly NFL award
Last year, the NFC South Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers were represented in the NFL Pro Bowl by just one player, quarterback Jeff Garcia, who was selected as an alternate in January.
When the AFC and NFC all-star teams were first announced in mid-December, not only were the Bucs shut out but, remarkably, the entire NFC South division was left without a Pro Bowl representative.
Will the South, which currently has a combined 15-9 record and no teams below .500, fare better in the 2008 Pro Bowl selection process? Fans can help determine that answer by making their all-star selections at NFL.com. Pro Bowl balloting began on the league's official web site on Monday and will continue through Tuesday, December 9.
Click here to go to the 2008 Pro Bowl ballot on NFL.com.
After balloting concludes at 12:00 p.m. ET on December 9 the teams will be announced a week later. The AFC and NFC squads will be revealed at 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, December 16 on a special NFL Total Access 2009 NFL Pro Bowl Selection Show on NFL Network. The 2009 NFL Pro Bowl will be played at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii on Sunday, February 8 and televised by NBC.
The AFC and NFC All-Star squads are based on the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group's vote counts one-third towards determining the 43-man rosters that represent the American Football Conference and National Football Conference in the Pro Bowl. NFL players and coaches will cast their votes on December 11 - 12.
The NFL is the only sports league that combines voting by fans, coaches and players to determine its all-star teams. It was the first professional sports league to offer online all-star voting in 1995.
Garcia was the Bucs' only Pro Bowl representative last year but the team averaged over five all-star selections per year from 1997-2006. Among the current Buccaneers who have appeared in the Pro Bowl while playing for Tampa Bay are linebacker Derrick Brooks (10; 1997-2006), Ronde Barber (4; 2001, 2004-06), Warrick Dunn (2; 1997, 2000) and Josh Bidwell (2005).
Last year's top four vote-getters overall were quarterbacks: Brett Favre, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Tony Romo. Wide receiver Randy Moss rounded out the top five.
Dunn, Hayes Have Shot at Week Six Awards
Geno Hayes' first touchdown as a Buccaneer has put him in the running for his first bit of NFL hardware.
Hayes, a sixth-round pick by Tampa Bay out of Florida State last April, is one of five players up for the NFL's current Rookie of the Week award. The winner will be determined by fan voting on NFL.com; to participate in the Rookie of the Week balloting, click here.
Hayes sparked the Buccaneers' 27-3 rout of division-rival Carolina with a 22-yard punt return for a touchdown early in the first quarter. Hayes beat the Panthers blockers to smother Jason Baker's punt, then recovered the loose ball and ran untouched into the end zone to give the Bucs a 7-0 lead.
Hayes, who also contributed one stop on special teams, later played on defense at weakside linebacker and added three tackles and a pass defensed to his day's work.
Hayes' competition in the Rookie of the Week balloting includes Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson, St. Louis defensive end Chris Long, Cincinnati safety Corey Lynch and Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan.
The NFL.com balloting page for the award includes the statistical exploits of each candidate. Visitors can also watch videos of the week's highlights for each nominee.
Warrick Dunn, Hayes' fellow Florida State alum, has won several weekly NFL awards during his 12-year pro career. In fact, it took him only two weeks in the league to earn his first, as he was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week in Week Two of the 1997 season, his first in the league.
Now Dunn could add to his trophy case for the first time since returning for a second stint as a Buccaneer this season. He too will be relying on fan votes as NFL.com allows its visitors to determine the Ground NFL Player of the Week.
Dunn is one of three finalists for that award in Week Six following his standout performance against Carolina. After Byron Storer was knocked out of the game with a knee injury and Earnest Graham subsequently volunteered to play fullback, Dunn became the primary tailback for the rest of the afternoon. He proceeded to rush for a season-high 115 yards on 22 carries.
Dunn is up against Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew and Minnesota's Adrian Peterson for this week's award. To cast your vote at NFL.com, click here.