The New Orleans Saints are sending both Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara to the Pro Bowl — the first time in more than 42 years that two running backs from one team will head to the annual all-star game.
But as Ingram likes to say, he and Kamara are “in the business of making history.” They are also on pace to become the first running back duo in NFL history to both surpass 1,500 yards from scrimmage in the same season.
Joining them for the Jan. 28 game in Orlando, Florida, will be a host of Pittsburgh Steelers, who led all teams with a league-best eight selections as announced Tuesday night.
Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara are the first pair of running backs from the same team to go to the Pro Bowl in the same year in 42 years.
Wide receiver Antonio Brown, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le’Veon Bell, kicker Chris Boswell and linebacker Ryan Shazier headlined the group. Shazier suffered a season-ending spinal injury earlier this month and has since been placed on season-ending injured reserve. Pittsburgh tackle Alejandro Villanueva, guard David DeCastro and center Maurkice Pouncey rounded out the team’s selections.
In the NFC, the Saints and Philadelphia Eagles tied for tops in the conference with six Pro Bowl picks apiece, led by their respective quarterbacks, Carson Wentz and Drew Brees. Wentz tore the ACL in his left knee in a Week 14 win over the Los Angeles Rams and had surgery Wednesday to repair the damage. Before that, the second-year player had set the team record for TD passes in a single season (33), a mark that had stood since 1961.
Roethlisberger was joined at quarterback in the AFC by the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady, who was named to his 13th Pro Bowl, including nine straight.
Of the 86 selections, 24 are newcomers. Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore and Kamara, Arizona Cardinals special-teamer Budda Baker and Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt were the only rookies selected for the game.
The full list of those who made it:
AFC starters: Patriots QB Brady and FB James Develin; Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins; Chiefs TE Travis Kelce; Tennessee Titans T Taylor Lewan and DT Jurrell Casey; Oakland Raiders G Kelechi Osemele; Jacksonville Jaguars DE Calais Campbell and CBs Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye; Baltimore Ravens S Eric Weddle and LB C.J. Mosley; Denver Broncos LB Von Miller; Texans LB Jadeveon Clowney; Los Angeles Chargers DE Joey Bosa; Cincinnati Bengals DT Geno Atkins; and Miami Dolphins S Reshad Jones.
AFC specialists: Titans P Brett Kern; Steelers K Boswell; Chiefs return-specialist Tyreek Hill; and Patriots special-teamer Matthew Slater.
NFC starters: Eagles QB Wentz, TE Zach Ertz and G Brandon Brooks; Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones and C Alex Mack; Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen; Rams RB Todd Gurley; Dallas Cowboys T Tyron Smith and G Zack Martin; Washington Redskins T Trent Williams; San Francisco 49ers FB Kyle Juszczyk, Vikings DE Everson Griffen and CB Xavier Rhodes; Cardinals LB Chandler Jones and CB Patrick Peterson; Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence; Eagles DT Fletcher Cox; Rams DT Aaron Donald; Redskins LB Ryan Kerrigan; Carolina Panthers LB Luke Kuechly; Seattle Seahawks S Earl Thomas; and New York Giants S Landon Collins.
NFC specialists: Rams P Johnny Hekker, K Greg Zuerlein and return-specialist Pharoh Cooper; and Cardinals special-teamer Baker.
Five teams were shut out of Pro Bowl selections: the New York Jets, the Cleveland Browns, the Indianapolis Colts, the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers (for the first time since 2005).
The Saints (10-4) sent six players to the Pro Bowl after being shut out in the initial selections in both 2015 and ’16. Brees earned his 11th selection. Defensive end Cameron Jordan earned his third. Rookie Lattimore and second-year receiver Michael Thomas each were selected for the first time.
But it’s the dynamic duo of Ingram and Kamara that has generated the most buzz during the Saints’ surprising surge as they have fueled the NFL’s No. 1-ranked offense.
Kamara, a third-round draft choice out of Tennessee, is already the third rookie in NFL history with more than 600 rushing and receiving yards (652 and 684, to be exact), with a total of 12 touchdowns.
Ingram, who turns 28 Thursday, has already set career highs with 1,045 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns. He also has 51 receptions for 375 yards.
Kamara leads the NFL with 6.6 yards per carry. Ingram ranks third among all running backs and second among NFC running backs with 5.1 yards per carry.
It’s hard to decipher exactly when the last pair of true running backs made the Pro Bowl together, since many top running backs such as Jim Brown, Larry Csonka and Franco Harris were listed as fullbacks. ESPN Stats & Information and Elias Sports Bureau used rushing attempts as the standard for their research.
The last pair of teammates to make the Pro Bowl with 100-plus rushing attempts was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott in 1997 and 2000 — but Alstott was selected as a fullback both times.
Before that, it was the St. Louis Cardinals’ Jim Otis and Terry Metcalf in 1975. Otis was listed as a fullback then, too, but he had 269 carries for 1,076 yards. The Dolphins’ legendary duo of Csonka and Mercury Morris made the Pro Bowl together as running backs in 1972 and ’73, among others in that era.