The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are frustrated after being left off the NFC Pro Bowl squad, but at least one player says the club's success in 2010 has set the stage for recognition down the line.
Despite a 9-6 record heading into Sunday's regular-season finale at New Orleans, the Bucs failed to place a player on the Pro Bowl team for a second consecutive season. Quarterback Josh Freeman, tight end Kellen Winslow and tackle Donald Penn were named as alternates Tuesday.
"I think that this year served to put everybody on the map,'' said injured center Jeff Faine. "We caught a lot of people by surprise this season and I think you have to do it two years in a row to have some validity there. Hopefully, our fan base will continue to grow and we'll get more votes. It's tough when you're not on TV. This is a good foundation for next year, but there's definitely a handful of guys in this locker room who should have gone to Hawaii.''
Penn, who has ably protected Freeman's blind side this season, regarded the Pro Bowl results as a personal insult
"We're 9-6 and it's crazy how so many players with losing teams get into the Pro Bowl,'' Penn said Wednesday. "It's all about exposure and respect.''
What about next year?
"I'm not getting any younger,'' said Penn, 27. "I thought I had the best year of my career. It's disappointing ... very disappointing.''