The NFL Pro Bowl, which is 99 percent popularity contest and one percent a real football game, is the NFL's version of an all-star game. Voting for the pro bowl is in three parts: one part fan vote, one part player vote and one part coach vote. Usually, you don't see very many Bengals players playing in the pro bowl, which is the weekend before the Super Bowl, because the Bengals aren't a very popular team and when their record isn't good (it usually isn't) they don't get a lot of national exposure.
Well, since the Bengals are fighting for a playoff position as the season is winding down, there must be a lot of football fans paying attention to them to because one player has been picked by the fans to represent the AFC in the pro bowl. That player is rookie wide receiver A.J. Green.
Green, who is the first rookie wide receiver in the NFL to have a 1,000-yard season since 2006 and is three yards shy of Cris Collinsworth's franchise rookie receiving record, received 599,955 votes, which was enough to be the AFC's third, and final, wide receiver, after the Patriots' Wes Welker and the Steelers' Mike Wallace. Green had almost a quarter million votes more than the next wide receiver, the Dolphins' Brandon Marshall.
So, unless players and coaches don't vote for Green at all, we'll get to watch the talented rookie school NFC cornerbacks in the pro bowl (that is unless the Bengals go to the Super Bowl).
Of course Green wasn't the only player to receive a lot of votes. Geno Atkins, who tied the franchise's record with eight sacks by a defensive tackle through the fist 14 games, also received a lot of votes but failed to make it into the top three. He was just 22,789 votes away from Vince Wilfork, who finished third. Andy Dalton also received a lot of votes but finished fifth in the AFC. He was 333,553 votes away from Tim Tebow, who finished third and over 1 million votes away from Tom Brady, who received the most votes for quarterback in the AFC.
The players and coaches voted on Wednesday and the pro bowl teams are set to be announced Tuesday at 7 p.m. on NFL Network.