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Seven Cardinals Picked For Pro Bowl

Posted Dec 22, 2015

Team has most Pro Bowlers since 1977, with quarterback Carson Palmer leading the way

The Cardinals had seven players selected to the Pro Bowl (clockwise from top left): Larry Fitzgerald, Carson Palmer, Tyrann Mathieu, Patrick Peterson, Mike Iupati, Calais Campbell and Justin Bethel.

The Cardinals have set a franchise record with 12 wins this season. It stands to reason they ended up with have more Pro Bowl players than they ever had since moving to Arizona.

Seven Cardinals were selected to the Pro Bowl, it was announced Tuesday: Quarterback Carson Palmer, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, guard Mike Iupati, defensive tackle Calais Campbell, cornerback Patrick Peterson, safety Tyrann Mathieu – who was just put on injured reserve Tuesday -- and special teamer Justin Bethel.

Running back Chris Johnson, currently on the IR-to-return list, was picked as an alternate.

Previously, the Cardinals had as many as five Pro Bowlers in a season while the franchise was in Arizona. The seven selections are the most since seven Cardinals were picked in 1977. Eight Cardinals were chosen for the Pro Bowl back in 1976.

Those were the last two years the Cardinals had back-to-back double-digit win seasons before Bruce Arians’ crew has done it in his first three seasons.  

The Pro Bowl, which took place at University of Phoenix Stadium last year, will be back in Hawaii this season. It’ll be played Jan. 31 – the Sunday between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl – at 6 p.m. Arizona time.

If the Cardinals reach the Super Bowl, their players will take a pass on playing in the all-star game.

The Pro Bowl “draft” – headed by captains Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin – will be held Jan. 27 on ESPN, as players pick the teams. It means the Cardinals will not necessarily play for the same side in the Pro Bowl.

Palmer is having the best season of his career, having already set a personal best with 4,277 yards and tying his personal best with 32 touchdown passes. Palmer has currently gone 173 straight pass attempts without an interception, which has set a franchise record and is the longest active streak in the NFL.

Ten times Palmer has had a passer rating of at least 100.0 this season. He has completed 64.3 percent of his passes – a tremendous number considering how many down-the-field throws he makes each game – and has just nine interceptions. His passer rating is 106.7, trending to another career best. This is his third Pro Bowl but his first since 2006.

Fitzgerald, picked for his franchise-record ninth Pro Bowl, has enjoyed a renaissance season, already totaling 99 receptions for 1,131 yards and seven touchdowns. His blocking has been superb as well, highlighted by his pancake block of Vikings defensive back Anthony Harris to spring fellow receiver Michael Floyd on a 42-yard touchdown pass two weeks ago.

Iupati is part of an offensive line that not only has protected Palmer and the deep passing game, allowing only 23 sacks, but upgraded a running game that is currently ranked sixth in the NFL. He's the first Cardinals offensive lineman to make a Pro Bowl since tackle Lomas Brown in 1996.

Campbell has 59 tackles – tops on the defensive line – with 2½ sacks, 13 quarterback pressures, 12 quarterback hits and leads a run defense that is ranked fourth in the NFL. It's his second Pro Bowl after making his first last season.

Peterson has been the shutdown cornerback everyone expected since he arrived in the league in 2011. He only has two interceptions, in large part because teams rarely throw in his direction. According to the website profootballfocus.com, Peterson has only been thrown at 57 times in 14 games, allowing only 26 catches for 327 yards and one touchdown – and that score came on a communication error in which Peterson didn’t even follow the receiver.

Peterson has made the Pro Bowl all five seasons of his career.

Mathieu, who will cede his spot to an alternate after tearing his ACL Sunday night, earned his first Pro Bowl nod after a career-best five interceptions and 89 tackles, earning his way into Defensive Player of the Year talk.

Bethel makes his third straight Pro Bowl as a special teamer. He has a team-high 13 special teams tackles and has forced two special teams fumbles, despite playing more defense than in the past. Bethel signed a three-year contract extension earlier this month.

The last time the Cardinals had five Pro Bowlers was in 2009 – perhaps not coincidentally, the last time the Cardinals won the NFC West before this season. That year, Fitzgerald made it along with defensive standouts Darnell Dockett, Adrian Wilson, Antrel Rolle and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

The Cardinals also had five Pro Bowlers in 2008: Fitzgerald, Wilson, Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin and Sean Morey. 

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