BY: ED COLE
GLENDALE, Ariz. – For the first time since 1977, the Cardinals will have seven players represent them at the 2016 Pro Bowl.
The seven players who will make the trip to Honolulu in late January are: Special teamer Justin Bethel, defensive tackle Calais Campbell, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, guard Mike Iupati, safety Tyrann Mathieu, quarterback Carson Palmer and cornerback Patrick Peterson.
Running back Chris Johnson was selected as an alternate.
This is the seventh time in team history that the Cardinals had at least seven players selected to the Pro Bowl in a single season. It’s also the first time the Cardinals have had three or more selections on both offense and defense in the same season since 1970.
Here’s some notes on each of Arizona’s Pro Bowl players:
ST Justin Bethel
- Bethel was selected to his third straight Pro Bowl. That’s one shy of current Cardinals radio analyst Ron Wolfley (4, 1986-89) for the most selections as a special teams player in franchise history.
- Bethel is one of three Cardinals players to be selected to the Pro Bowl as a special teamer, joining Wolfley and Sean Morey (2008), and he’s the only Pro Bowler ever from Presbyterian College.
- Bethel leads the team with 13 special teams tackles this season. It’s the third straight season that he’s led the team in that category. Bethel’s also forced two fumbles and recovered a fumble on special teams.
- Bethel was voted as a special teams captain this season for the first time in his career. He signed a three-year contract extension with the Cardinals in early December to stay with the team through 2018.
DT Calais Campbell
- This will be Campbell’s second straight Pro Bowl appearance. He made his first career appearance last season.
- Campbell’s the first Cardinals defensive lineman to be selected to multiple Pro Bowls since Darnell Dockett (2009-10), and he’s just the fifth defensive lineman is team history to make multiple Pro Bowl appearances.
- Campbell – a defensive team captain for the second straight year – leads the defensive line and is fifth on the team this season with 59 tackles to go along with 2.5 sacks, two passes defensed and one fumble recovery while starting all 14 games.
- Campbell’s currently fifth on the franchise all-time sacks list with 46.0 for his career. With 59 tackles this season, it’s Campbell’s seventh straight season with at least 50 tackles.
WR Larry Fitzgerald
- This is Fitzgerald’s ninth Pro Bowl selection (2005, ’07-13, ’15), the most by any player in team history. Hall of Fame S Larry Wilson had the previous record with eight selections.
- In NFL history, only Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (13) has more Pro Bowl selections at wide receiver than Fitzgerald.
- Fitzgerald crossed 1,000 yards receiving for the seventh time in his career this season (he’s currently at 1,131 yards), extending his own franchise record.
- With 99 catches so far this season, Fitzgerald is just five catches away from setting a new franchise record for receptions in a season. He’s the current record holder with 103 catches in 2005.
G Mike Iupati
- Iupati will be making his fourth straight Pro Bowl appearance, and first with the Cardinals after signing a five-year contract with the team in March.
- Iupati’s the first Cardinals offensive lineman to be selected to the Pro Bowl since tackle Lomas Brown in 1996, and he’s the first guard since Bob Young in 1979. Iupati’s one of three Cardinals guards (Conrad Dobler, 3, 1975-77; Young, 2, 1978-79) to earn Pro Bowl honors since the 1970 merger.
- After missing the first three games of the season with a knee injury he suffered in the preseason, Iupati’s started the last 11 games at left guard, and he’s helped Arizona rank first in the NFL in total offense and second in scoring offense. Iupati’s also helped the Cardinals rank fifth in fewest sacks allowed (23), and sixth in rushing (1,769 yards).
S Tyrann Mathieu
- This is Mathieu’s first career Pro Bowl selection. Mathieu was placed on season-ending injured reserve on Tuesday, after injuring his right knee against the Eagles on Sunday night.
- Mathieu’s the seventh safety in team history to be selected to the Pro Bowl, and the first since Adrian Wilson in 2011 (Tim McDonald, Jerry Norton, Don Paul, Antrel Rolle and Larry Wilson).
- Mathieu started all 14 games this season, and had 89 tackles, a team-high 16 passes defensed, 5 interceptions (1 TD), 11 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Mathieu’s five interceptions are tied for the team lead (S Rashad Johnson), and they’re tied for third in the NFC this season.
- Mathieu was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month in November, and he was also selected as the NFC Defensive Player of the Week following Arizona’s Week 3 win over the San Francisco 49ers.
QB Carson Palmer
- This is Palmer’s third career Pro Bowl selection (2005-06), and his first since 2006 when he was with the Cincinnati Bengals.
- Palmer is one of seven Cardinals quarterbacks – Palmer, Kurt Warner, Neil Lomax, Jim Hardy, Jim Hart, Charley Johnson and Charley Trippi – to be named to the Pro Bowl.
- Palmer – in charge of the NFL’s No. 1 ranked offense – has already set a franchise record with 32 touchdown passes this season, and he’s also on pace to set single-season records for passing yards and passer rating.
- Palmer’s thrown for 4,277 yards on 312 completions with 32 touchdowns, 9 interceptions and a 106.7 passer rating. He’s currently in the top five in the league in passer rating (2nd), touchdown passes (3rd), and passing yards (3rd).
CB Patrick Peterson
- This will be Peterson’s fifth straight Pro Bowl appearance, and his fourth straight as a cornerback. He was chosen as a kick returner as a rookie in 2011.
- Peterson and Hall of Famer Ollie Matson are the only players in team history to be selected to the Pro Bowl in each of their first five NFL seasons.
- In team history, the only defenders named to the Pro Bowl more times than Peterson (5) are Hall of Famers Larry Wilson (8), Roger Wehrli (7) and Aeneas Williams (6).
- Peterson joins Hall of Famers Jim Brown, Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith as the only players in NFL history to be named to the Pro Bowl five times before their 26th birthday.
- Peterson’s the seventh player in franchise history, and third defensive player (Larry Wilson, Aeneas Williams) to be selected to five straight Pro Bowls.
The 2016 Pro Bowl will be “unconferenced” for the third straight year. Players were chosen without regard to conference in voting by fans, coaches and players. Players will be assigned to teams during the Pro Bowl Draft on Wednesday, January 27, live on NFL Network in primetime.
The 2016 Pro Bowl will be played at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii on Sunday, January 31, and it’ll be televised live on ESPN at 5:00 MST.