At the end of December, it was revealed that Cleveland Browns would be represented in the Pro Bowl by two players -- left tackle Joe Thomas and kicker Phil Dawson. You can add a third player to that list: Joshua Cribbs.
By virtue of a unique circumstance, Cribbs is guaranteed to make the Pro Bowl, due to how things turned out in last week's playoff games. Here is the reason why:
- If a team makes the Super Bowl, their players are not eligible to participate in the Pro Bowl. The first alternates would be next-in-line to go.
- Cribbs was named a first alternate at two positions: kick returner, and the general special teams position.
- Usually, one would have to wait until the result of a Conference Championship game to know for certain whether the alternate would need to make the playoffs. It just so happens that the Ravens' kick returner, Jacoby Jones, is a Pro Bowler, and the Patriots' special teamer, Matthew Slater, is a Pro Bowler.
If the Ravens make the Super Bowl, Cribbs would be the kick returner for the AFC for the third time in his career (he also went to the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2009). If the Patriots make the Super Bowl, Cribbs would be the general special teamer for the AFC for the first time in his career. Either way, he'll make his third trip overall.
There is also a chance that D'Qwell Jackson could join Cribbs. One of the AFC's linebackers in the Pro Bowl is the Patriots' Jerod Mayo. If the Patriots make the Super Bowl, Jackson would go to the Pro Bowl instead of Mayo.
I don't think many Browns fans want to see the Ravens make the Super Bowl, so New England winning adds the extra bonus of increasing the Browns' Pro Bowl representation from two to four. Jackson has also never made the Pro Bowl in his seven-year career.