While this is shaping up to be the first season since 2003 without either the Giants or Jets in the postseason, at least five players from those teams are guaranteed a chance to play beyond Sunday.
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"I'm honored and humbled to be selected," said Cruz, who had the most votes from fans among NFC wide receivers. "It really is a dream come true for me."
The game will be played in Honolulu on Jan. 27, a time when two teams will be preparing for the Super Bowl. Both the Giants and Jets are having disappointing ends to their seasons. The Jets were eliminated from playoff contention earlier this month and the Giants need a convoluted Connect-4 on Sunday to advance.
"It's good, man, it's a great individual accomplishment," Cromartie said of his second career invitation to Hawaii, his first with the Jets. "But for me, I'd rather be playing in the playoffs."
Pierre-Paul was named to last year's Pro Bowl team but did not play in the game because of the Giants' Super Bowl run.
"Just like last year, I would much rather not play in the game because I want to be with my team at the Super Bowl," Pierre-Paul said, "but it's a great honor to be selected among the best in the NFL at my position."
Others could be joining them in Hawaii. Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes is a first alternate, Eli Manning and kick returner David Wilson are second alternates, and center David Baas and safety Stevie Brown are fourth alternates for the NFC. Jets tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson is a second alternate, while center Nick Mangold and kick returner Joe McKnight are third alternates for the AFC.
With Kimberley A. Martin