IRVING, Texas – Dan Bailey has long boasted the résumé of a Pro Bowl kicker, and this season he will officially join that company.
The NFL announced its Pro Bowl rosters, as voted on by league players, coaches and fans, on Tuesday night. The Cowboys had four selections, headlined by Bailey, who will be making his first appearance.
The Cowboys’ vaunted offensive line will once again be well-represented at this year’s Pro Bowl, which is once again being played in Honolulu, Hawaii. Three of the team’s starting offensive linemen have been named Pro Bowlers – Tyron Smith is making his third-consecutive appearance, while both Travis Frederickand Zack Martin will make their second-straight trip.
Martin’s selection is particularly impressive, as he continues to join hallowed company with each honor he attains. It was noteworthy enough when he reached the Pro Bowl in 2014 as a rookie. With his second-consecutive Pro Bowl nod, he becomes just the sixth Cowboys player to reach the Pro Bowl in each of his first two years in the league – joining Don Perkins, Mel Renfro, Bob Hayes, Everson Walls and Emmitt Smith.
“It's a great honor,” Martin said. “We talk a lot about this being a league of respect, and to get that is pretty cool."
Bailey, meanwhile, will become the first Dallas kicker to partake in a Pro Bowl since Nick Folk in 2007. The fifth-year veteran has been nothing short of monstrous in 2015, connecting on 28-of-29 kicks – including a 54-yard game-winner against Washington on Dec. 7.
Given their offensive struggles this season, the Cowboys have called on Bailey frequently – and he has rarely failed to deliver. He has kicked two or more field goals in 11 of the Cowboys’ 14 games this season, including a season high of four made kicks in the 13-12 loss to Seattle on Nov. 1.
He is 5-of-5 on kicks from 50-plus yards, and his one miss so far this season came from 48 yards away in the 10-6 loss to Tampa Bay on Nov. 15.
Bailey became the most accurate kicker in NFL history last October with a 42-yard kick against Seattle. He has done nothing to diminish that mark in 2015, as his season percentage of 96 gives him a career mark of 91 percent.
As recently as Saturday night’s 19-16 loss to the New York Jets, the Cowboys had cause to call on Bailey, and he did not disappoint. With exactly two minutes to play, he banked in his third field goal of the night from 50 yards away to force a 16-16 tie.
After the game, Bailey said he’d be honored by a Pro Bowl designation – though he was sure to delegate some credit to the process around him.
“I’m in a fortunate position where the operation is great every time. The amount of trust we all have in each other going out there on the field is at a really high level, so it makes my job a lot easier,” Bailey said. “If something like that were to happen, it’s just as much a credit to all those guys as it is to anything I’m doing.”
Injuries and playoff absences will undoubtedly open the door for other Pro Bowl selections, so it’s possible the Cowboys aren’t done adding to their ranks in Hawaii. For the time being, though, four selections is the team’s fewest since 2012, when they sent three players to the game.
The Cowboys sent five players to the Pro Bowl following the 2013 season, and they had eight total selections following last year’s run to the NFC East championship.