Ali Marpet and Ryan Jensen have been playing at this level for the Buccaneers for years.
There is truth in the phrase “better late than never,” but Ali Marpet and Ryan Jensen have deserved better from the Pro Bowl committee for several years now. It’s nice that the Buccaneers finally have three linemen in the All-Star game, but one has to wonder how it took this long for two of the best linemen in the league to make it this far.
Small market teams rarely get love in the popularity contest that is the Pro Bowl, which makes it strange that contract negotiations and Hall of Fame discussions begin with something so arbitrary.
Either way, Marpet and Jensen have finally made it, and they sure do deserve this opportunity.
Both players have been amongst the best at the position for the past few years now. Marpet has made a compelling case for best guard in the NFL not named Quenton Nelson. Jensen, on the other hand, has no equal at center.
Despite being better than their competition, Market and Jensen have been left out of the conversation by the media due to Tampa’s irrelevance. Fortunately, that is over with Tom Brady leading the team.
Brady-led teams have a way of staying in the spotlight, and winning the Super Bowl makes it impossible to ignore the individual players in Tampa in the same way that they were for the previous decade. This type of recognition is great for these players as it should lead to more money in their pockets going forward and make it easier to repeat in these positions.
While the Pro Bowl is not the final say in a player’s recognition, it is a good step in the right direction. This at least shows that the media is paying attention to the Buccaneers, and it is hopefully a sign of good fortunate to come with the All-Pro roster.
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