EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul have been selected to play in the Pro Bowl.
The NFL announced the selections on Tuesday night. It marked the second Pro Bowl selection for Manning and the first for Pierre-Paul, the Giants’ first round draft pick last season.
Second-year receiver Victor Cruz and guard Chris Snee were selected as second alternates for the game, which will be played in Honolulu on Jan. 29, the week before the Super Bowl.
Snee, who is Giants coach Tom Coughlin’s son-in-law, had made the Pro Bowl each of the previous three seasons.
Manning’s passer rating of 90.3 is 10 points higher than his career average and four points higher than his previous best, set in 2008.
Manning, the MVP of the Giants’ Super Bowl win in 2008, has set a team record with 4,587 yards passing. With 556 passes and 335 completions, he needs 13 attempts and five completions to set marks in those categories. Manning has thrown 26 touchdown passes, including an NFL record-tying 14 in the fourth quarter. His 16 interceptions are nine fewer than last season.
“It’s a real honor,” said Manning, who can lead the Giants (8-7) to the NFC East title with a win over Dallas on Sunday night. “When you make it to the Pro Bowl it’s because your team, the offensive line, my receivers are doing a great job protecting me, getting open, making plays. It is an honor. Considering some of the other quarterbacks in the NFC who have had outstanding seasons, I’m really thrilled and truly honored to be named to the Pro Bowl team.”
Pierre-Paul has started 11 of the Giants’ 15 games and recorded 15½ sacks. He has at least a half-sack in 11 games and multiple sacks in five. His total is the NFL’s fourth highest and is the most by a Giants player since Michael Strahan had 18½ in 2003.
“It means a lot,” Pierre-Paul said. “I don’t really understand the whole Pro Bowl thing, but it means a lot. It means I’m doing good.”
In his Pro Bowl appearance in 2008, Manning completed 8 of 11 passes for 111 yards, a touchdown and an interception in the NFC’s 30-21 victory. He is the first Giants quarterback to be selected to two Pro Bowls since Phil Simms in 1985 and 1993.
“It’s a great time, just to see some of the other athletes, guys you compete against, guys that you respect and watch them play and get to hang out with them, get to talk to them, get to see their personalities outside of football,” Manning said. “It’s a very laid-back and fun time. With the new way that the Pro Bowl has gone, you don’t really want to be playing in the game. You’d rather be getting ready for the Super Bowl. So hopefully that’s the case, and we’ll see what happens.”
Manning has had seven 300-yard games and three 400-yard games, tied for the second most in a season in NFL history. Manning also has led the Giants to victory six times in games in which they trailed or were tied in the fourth quarter.
“I think I have thrown the ball well, but again, I think the receivers have done a good job,” Manning said. “We had some guys step up, so a lot of credit goes to them. I feel like I improved on some things. There are still some improvements to be made, and obviously my whole mindset is the team having success and us winning games.
“We have a chance to make it to the playoffs and win this last game versus Dallas. That’s the mindset right now. I’m not losing focus. I’m not going to be planning any reservations in Hawaii right now. I’m trying to get ready for Dallas and get ready to play that game.”
Pierre-Paul played in all 16 games as a rookie, finishing with 4½ sacks. Injuries to Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck have greatly increased his playing time this season, and he has taken full advantage.
“It gave me a chance to show my coaches that I can perform at a high level, even though they didn’t expect me to have a breakout season,” Pierre-Paul said. “Just feel the joy right now. I’m having a good feeling even though I knew I could do it all along. I’m happy because everybody sees it now. They know that I am one of the key players that the Giants have on their team.”
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