It has happened: The meek have officially inherited the earth.
The Tennessee Titans have two players in the NFL Pro Bowl. The Cleveland Browns have three. Each team won three games this season.
The Tampa Bay Bucs have five players. The Oakland Raiders have six. Together, the teams won 13 games.
The Dallas Cowboys have five players and won four games. The Dolphins have five players and won six games.
Welcome to the Pro Bowl, where being an all-star doesn’t necessarily make a player elite. This year, there were 133 Pro Bowl players after all the defections.
Of course, no one blames the Panthers or Broncos players for withdrawing. But all seven members of the New England Patriots? Doesn’t a free trip to Hawaii mean anything anymore?
For teams such as the Bucs, for instance, this qualifies as the post-season. Quarterback Jameis Winston, running back Doug Martin, guard Logan Mankins, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, and linebacker Lavonte David will represent a team that hasn’t won in the post-season since the one that followed the 2002 season.
That’ll be fine with Bucs’ fans. But how about those in Buffalo, where four players made it? In Philadelphia, where four made it. It lacks a little luster, to tell you the truth.
Three years ago, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was concerned about the quality of play in the Pro Bowl. Now, perhaps he will be concerned by the quality of players.
Game time is 7 p.m.