Mike Munchak’s is a voice of experience when it comes to separating individual achievement from team success. After all, the first of his nine Pro Bowl appearances during a Hall of Fame playing career came when his team was 3-13.
“Just because you’re on a team that’s not winning doesn’t mean you’re not playing well,” the Tennessee Titans coach said Wednesday shortly before the NFL announced rosters for the 2013 Pro Bowl. “ … There are guys that make it. Not as many are going to make it because you don’t get as much attention, no doubt.
“If you’re playing well people recognize it.
The Kansas City Chiefs certainly proved that this time. The Chiefs, tied for the league’s worst record at 2-13, had five players named to the AFC team.
The Titans (5-10), on the other hand, were one of five AFC teams with no players selected. The others were Jacksonville (2-13), Oakland (4-11), Buffalo (5-10) and San Diego (6-9).
This is the second consecutive season the Titans were ignored in Pro Bowl voting, which consists of three parts — a players vote, a fan vote and a coaches vote — that each count for one-third of the total.
Tennessee was 8-7 last year when the rosters were announced. The franchise also was shut out in 2004, when it finished 5-11, and sent only defensive end Kevin Carter as an alternate in 2002, when the team finished 11-5 and reached the AFC championship game.
“It’s happened quite a bit around here — win and lose,” Munchak said. “Why it happens, I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s not being on TV enough or not being in a big market, all that stuff. You’re hoping the right guys make it.”
Tennessee’s best chance at a representative this season figured to be running back Chris Johnson, who added to his NFL record for career touchdown runs of 80 yards or more with three, including a 94-yard run a little more than a week ago on Monday Night Football.
A three-time Pro Bowler (2008-10), Johnson currently is fourth in the AFC with 1,187 rushing yards and his 4.7 yards per carry average is better than two of the three running backs who were chosen, Houston’s Arian Foster (4.0) and Baltimore’s Ray Rice (4.5). Foster and Rice have 14 and nine rushing touchdowns, respectively, while Johnson has five.
The other AFC running back is Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles, who leads the conference with 1,456 yards and has five rushing touchdowns. Foster is second in the AFC with 1,328 yards and Rice is sixth with 1,138.
“He’s still a very good back, there’s no doubt about that,” Munchak said of Johnson. “He’s made three or four big runs this year and he’s been on a team that obviously hasn’t been as successful as they want to be.”