Pro Bowl cold shoulder warms Giants for Cowboys' task

December 29, 1993|By Hank Gola | Hank Gola,New York Daily News

NEW YORK -- Maybe the rest of the nation hasn't heard. The New York Giants are tied for the best record in the NFL. Their defense is ranked fourth in the NFC and they are going to be involved in a Game of All Games with Dallas Sunday.

So how come 11 Cowboys were voted to the Pro Bowl and only three Giants? Why are there eight Cowboys offensive starters and no Giants defensive players at all? Judging by the ballots, the Cowboys ought to win by 40 this week.

For the record, Phil Simms, who deserves it, got his second Pro Bowl trip as the third quarterback behind Troy Aikman and Steve Young. Injured tackle Jumbo Elliott goes for the first time and Bart Oates makes his third appearance in four seasons as the alternate center since Mark Stepnoski of the Cowboys is injured for the year.

Even that's ridiculous. The Giants' other three offensive linemen -- Bob Kratch, William Roberts and Doug Riesenberg -- are having better seasons than Oates and Elliott, who started slow after a holdout and has been injured for four games.

The greatest injustice, however, came in leaving linebacker Michael Brooks, an AFC Pro Bowler last year, and cornerback Mark Collins off the squad. And you could even have made a strong case for Carlton Bailey and Corey Miller. Instead, three Cowboys defenders made the team as backups -- line

backer Ken Norton, tackle Russell Maryland and free safety Thomas Everett.

"It's amazing, it really is," said Bailey, a native of Woodlawn. "We have the No. 1 defense against the run; I would have figured we'd have had at least one guy on it."

The 11 Cowboys is another sticking point, but it may work to the Giants' advantage. "They might as well rent a plane and let them go over there together," Bailey said. "Maybe we shouldn't show up on Sunday.

"I know we're going to be fired up out of our minds anyway; this just gives us a little more incentive. Atlanta [the Super Bowl site] is better than Honolulu anyway."

When Miller was told that no defensive players made it, he couldn't believe it. "Get out of here," he said. "That just goes to show you how unfair the voting is. Players vote for who they played with in college or whose summer camp they visited. It doesn't go by how you play. It's ridiculous."

Miller was asked if it's a sign of continued disrespect for the Giants.

"Sure it is," he said. "They don't respect what we've done. We're 11-4 and they think it's a fluke. But if we continue to play this way and get to the Super Bowl, we're going to get respect. I'm sure all of us would rather have a Super Bowl ring than a Pro Bowl watch."

Simms, who has two rings and one watch, was equally stunned.

"No defensive starters? That is surprising, really," he said. "In all honesty, I thought Carlton, Michael and Mark all had a great chance of making it. I thought [tight end] Howard Cross was going to make it. He's having a great season, but I guess that position is strictly on catches. It doesn't matter how you block."

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