this thing from a Cowboys' perspective, since talking awards, especially the Pro Bowl, is always fun.
- Let's start with Larry Allen, who has been to nine Pro Bowls during his first 11 seasons, only missing out his rookie season in 1994 when he started just 10 games, and then again in 2002 when an ankle injury shortened his season to just five starts.
Allen is playing much better than he did in 2003 when he made the Pro Bowl, despite playing at a much lower level than in previous years. This year the offensive line is struggling, but more on the outside with the inexperienced tackles.
Go ahead and mark Allen down for his 10th Pro Bowl, tying him with Mel Renfro for the franchise's second-most appearances behind only Bob Lilly, who leads the Cowboys with 11 selections.
- Not as much of a lock as Allen, but safety Roy Williams pretty much solidified his spot when he picked off Donovan McNabb's pass on Monday Night Football and returned it for a winning score back on Nov. 14.
Excluding the ones who turned off the TV early, the whole country saw it, including a majority of the voting players and coaches, and sometimes that's about all a player such as Williams needs to lock up his third straight Pro Bowl appearance.
And not that Williams couldn't get there without the pick, but game-changing plays in primetime can go a long way toward helping your cause. Williams has made other big plays as well, and he'll be in Hawaii once again.
- A month ago, quarterback Drew Bledsoe would've been an lay-up to appear in the Pro Bowl, but now it's in question. Not only has the Cowboys offense struggled and Bledsoe's numbers dipped - his quarterback rating dropped from 97.4 to 86.1 in the last five games - but the Cowboys might not make the playoffs, either.
However, what could save Bledsoe is that this is certainly a down year for NFC quarterbacks. There is no McNabb, Favre or Culpepper to deal with, and Bledsoe could make one of three spots, only having to stave off the likes of Matt Hasselbeck, Eli Manning and Michael Vick. Another plus for Bledsoe is that he currently leads the NFC in fans voting with 496,912 votes.
- Now can a team that is struggling to run the ball up the middle land a pair of guards in the Pro Bowl? Doesn't seem likely, but then again, this game is based on reputation. And with that, Marco Rivera might have a shot to earn his fourth Pro Bowl appearance.
Rivera, who signed a free-agent deal with the Cowboys this summer after playing eight years with the Packers, hasn't been as powerful this season after undergoing back surgery to repair a herniated disk this spring. But he's still been solid, and when you play a position that doesn't have tangible stats, that's where reputation can go a long ways.
- Going by numbers, it doesn't seem as if La'Roi Glover and Jason Witten have a good chance of getting back to Hawaii.
Glover, who did not start last week for the first time since the 1998 season finale when he played for the Saints, has not recorded a tackle for the last two games. Parcells said he went to a bigger lineup that included defensive tackle Jason Ferguson, who might be better against the run. And with Kansas City coming into town Sunday with bruising back Larry Johnson, it might not translate into more playing time for Glover.
But don't forget, if one player can end up in Hawaii despite his team's record, it would be Glover, who has made the last five Pro Bowls playing for both the Cowboys and Saints.
- As for Witten, he's not out of the running by any means. New York's Jeremy Shockey not only leads NFC tight ends in receiving yards with 733, he's the top vote-getter among the fans. So he's likely in, but the other tight end spot will likely go down to Atlanta's Alge Crumpler or Witten, the two NFC Pro Bowlers last season.
Keep An Eye On . . .
- Had it not been for a groin injury here in recent weeks, cornerback Anthony Henry might have been a lock for the Pro Bowl. But now, Henry has missed three of the last four games, and his three interceptions don't