INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A 19-year streak has ended for the Indianapolis Colts, and the blame largely rests with a forgettable season.
The Colts are one of five teams that had no players selected for the NFL’s Pro Bowl. It marks the first time since 1997 they’ve been shut out, and only the addition of an alternate in the coming weeks will keep their streak alive.
The Pro Bowl rosters were announced Tuesday night, and not surprisingly, the league’s more successful teams dominated the selection process. The 11-3 Pittsburgh Steelers led the way with eight selections while 12-2 Philadelphia Eagles and 10-4 New Orleans Saints had an NFC-high six players chosen.
Meanwhile, the Colts, 3-11 and saddled with their second double-digit loss season in the last 16 years, joined the winless Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears with no selections.
The last time the Colts failed to have at least one Pro Bowl selection was in ’97, when they finished 3-13. They had one selection in 1998 – running back Marshall Faulk – and at least two in the next 18 seasons.
Wideout T.Y. Hilton had been selected to the past three Pro Bowls, but has endured a difficult season as quarterback Andrew Luck has missed the entire year. His 48 receptions rank 64th while his 852 yards rank 19th.
The Colts’ top candidates were placekicker Adam Vinatieri, who has converted 24-of-27 field goal attempts – two of the misses came at Buffalo in blizzard-like conditions – and rookie punter Rigoberto Sanchez.
Beating them out were Steelers placekicker Chris Boswell and Tennessee Titans punter Brett Kern. Boswell has converted 33-of-36 field-goal attempts, including a game-winning 33-yarder as time expired that gave Pittsburgh a 20-17 win over the Colts Nov. 12. Kern leads the NFL is both gross (51.6) and net (45.6) punting average.