FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Patriots players had their weekly routine altered Monday as they devoted time at Gillette Stadium to vote for the Pro Bowl.
So how does it work?
"We have a meeting and they give us a folder with the stats of players at every position -- the top 50 at each position on offense, defense and special teams. We only vote for the AFC and you can’t vote for anybody on your team," tight end Benjamin Watson explained.
"When I’m going through the voting and I get to a position like defensive tackle, I may ask [center Dan] Koppen or [left guard] Logan [Mankins] what they think because I don’t go against players at that position. The same thing, we asked [nose tackle] Vince [Wilfork] his thoughts on good O-linemen. That’s always tough, because O-linemen don’t have many stats to go off of, so we do it like that."
Watson was asked if the process is something he enjoys.
"It’s something that as an employee of the league, as a player, it’s part of the deal. It’s fun to see what stats other guys have, because as the season goes on you really kind of lose track. You don’t really know what’s going on around the league, you pretty much only know what’s going on at your position, and on your team. There are some surprises, and then there are always names you see every year."
The Pro Bowl is something that many players say is not a primary goal, because it doesn’t trump team success. At the same time, it’s always nice to be recognized by peers.
"Guys who have gone to a lot of Pro Bowls, if you ask them, they’d probably say they worked well within their team, and because the team was successful they started being successful too," Watson said. "It’s definitely an honor, one I hope I can earn some day."