Michael Vick's improbable season produced another unforeseen honor when he was named the NFC's starting quarterback for the Pro Bowl on Tuesday.
Vick was one of four Eagles players to be named starters. He was joined by cornerback Asante Samuel, tackle Jason Peters, and kicker David Akers. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson made the team as a reserve.
The NFL announced the rosters before the Eagles faced the Vikings in Tuesday night's snow-delayed game. Voting was made up from three separate components: coaches, players, and fans. Vick finished second only to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in online fan voting.
Several Eagles fell just short of making the team but will have a shot to play in the Jan. 30 game in Hawaii as alternates. Running back LeSean McCoy, defensive end Trent Cole, and guard Todd Herremans were named first alternates. Safety Quintin Mikell and fullback Owen Schmitt were second alternates.
Vick's Pro Bowl selection is the fourth of his career and the first since 2005. He also went in 2002 and 2003, but this is the first time he'll go as the starter.
Of course, that assumes he even goes. If Vick and the Eagles reach the Super Bowl, they would forfeit their spots on the Pro Bowl team.
If Vick is available to play, however, it's a sure bet he'll make the trip.
It's been an amazing journey for the quarterback since he was released from prison in the summer of 2009.
Vick opened the season as the backup, but when Kevin Kolb suffered a concussion in the opener Vick was thrust back into the spotlight. He has yet to give it up. In the nine games in which Vick has started and finished - not including Tuesday night's game - the Eagles are 8-1.
His 103.6 passer rating going into Tuesday's game was best in the NFC and third best overall in the league. He had already equaled career highs in touchdown passes with 20 and in touchdown runs with eight. He needed just 245 passing yards to become the first player in NFL history with at least 3,000 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns, 500 rushing yards, and eight rushing touchdowns.
Vick, of course, isn't the only Eagle to have a banner year for coach Andy Reid's 10-4 squad. Despite missing four games, Samuel still leads the NFL with seven interceptions. The Pro Bowl nod is the fourth straight of his career and is the longest current streak among NFL cornerbacks.
Peters is also headed to the Pro Bowl for the fourth consecutive year and his second straight with the Eagles. The tackle was named in 2007 and 2008, when he was in Buffalo. Peters has anchored the offensive line for an Eagles team that had averaged a league-best 5.5 yards a carry and had produced 149.7 rushing yards per game before Tuesday.
A year after becoming the first player to make the Pro Bowl as both a receiver and a returner, Jackson is back only as a receiver. But what a season the 24-year-old has had. Before Tuesday Jackson was leading the league with 22.8 yards per reception and has produced some of the indelible images from the past season, including his 65-yard punt return that beat the New York Giants as time expired.
Akers' fifth Pro Bowl selection puts him behind only Morten Anderson (seven) and Jan Stenerud (six) among placekickers in NFL history. He was second in the NFL with 134 points and third with 30 field goals going into Tuesday's game.
McCoy's snub was a bit of a surprise. Not including the Vikings game, the second-year player was first in the NFC in yards from scrimmage with 1,587 yards. St. Louis' Steven Jackson is second with 1,540 yards.
He was named a reserve Pro Bowl running back along with Minnesota's Adrian Peterson. Michael Turner of Atlanta is the starter. All three have more rushing yards - Turner (1,304), Jackson (1,196), and Peterson (1,149) - than McCoy (1,036), however.
Cole was voted into the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2009 but came up short this season despite his nine sacks. Herremans has yet to make a Pro Bowl in six solid seasons at left guard.
Pro Bowl Birds
Here are the five Eagles who were voted to the Pro Bowl Tuesday night in balloting by coaches, players, and fans:
Kicker David Akers,
Wide receiver DeSean Jackson, second selection.
Tackle Jason Peters,
Cornerback Asante Samuel, fourth selection.
Quarterback Michael Vick, fourth selection. EndText