CB Ronde Barber and LB Derrick Brooks, the Bucs' two 2005 Pro Bowl selections, stand first and second, respectively, on the team's list of career touchdowns by a defensive player
Derrick Brooks, who builds on his eventual Hall of Fame resume every season, has been selected to his eighth consecutive Pro Bowl, it was announced Wednesday. Brooks has been chosen for more Pro Bowls, and more consecutive Pro Bowls, than any other player in team history.
Brooks will be joined in Honolulu by cornerback Ronde Barber, who will be playing in his second Pro Bowl. The often overlooked standout first made the all-star game in 2001, when he tied for the NFL lead with a team-record 10 interceptions.
Each NFL team was informed of its own 2005 Pro Bowl representatives on Wednesday morning, but the entire team will not be announced until the evening. Once again, the AFC and NFC teams will be revealed on a special 'Pro Bowl Selection Show' on ESPN, beginning at 7:00 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday night. The starters for the game will be announced during the Wild Card playoff weekend.
The Pro Bowl will be played in Hawaii on Sunday, February 13 and televised by ESPN at 7:30 p.m. (ET).
Brooks, in his 10th season, has been a model of consistency, recording at least 100 tackles for nine straight years and at least 150 eight seasons in a row. Through 14 games this year, he has 150 tackles, three sacks, one interception, three forced fumbles and four passes defensed. His sack total sets a new career high.
Brooks has long been associated with former Buccaneer defenders Warren Sapp (seven Pro Bowls as a Buc) and John Lynch (five Pro Bowls as a Buc). With Sapp and Lynch now playing for Oakland and Denver, respectively, Brooks has helped the Bucs maintain their lofty defensive standards. Tampa Bay ranks fourth in the NFL in overall defense and first in pass defense and sacks per pass play.
Brooks has been to the Pro Bowl every season since 1997, his third year in the league. His eight trips to the all-star game are one more than Sapp's seven and two more than the six made by fullback Mike Alstott and Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon.
Brooks is now one of only nine linebackers in the history of the NFL who have been selected to at least eight Pro Bowls. The list to which he belongs reads like a linebacker Hall of Fame roster: Junior Seau, Mike Singletary, Lawrence Taylor, Jack Lambert, Derrick Thomas, Harry Carson, Jack Ham and Ted Hendricks.
Barber, in his eighth season, has also been an extremely consistent producer, though he has not always seen the Pro Bowl recognition that goes along with it. With 92 tackles so far this season, he has crossed the 90-tackle plateau for five straight seasons, an impressive achievement for a cornerback. He also has at least three sacks for the fourth time in his career and is second only to New England safety Rodney Harrison among active players in career sacks by a defensive back.
In addition to his 92 tackles and three sacks, Barber leads the team with nine tackles for loss and has added three interceptions, 11 passes defensed, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. His excellent work in run support and the pass rush, along with his obvious coverage skills, make Barber one of the most complete defensive backs in the league. He is also known as a big-play defender, with eight career touchdowns including the playoffs, a franchise record for defensive players (Brooks is second with seven). Barber has scored twice this season, both on fumble returns.
He is also the first cornerback in franchise history to make multiple Pro Bowl appearances. Donnie Abraham (2000) and Wayne Haddix (1990) went one time each. Among all defensive backs, only Lynch has been to more all-star games than Barber.
The Bucs' pair of Pro Bowlers represents the team's smallest all-star contingent wince 1996, when linebacker Hardy Nickerson went alone. From 1997-2003, the Bucs never had fewer than four players in a season, and they averaged more than six, peaking at nine in 2000. Obviously, the team's 5-9 record impacted negatively on the chances of many of the team's Pro Bowl hopefuls.