- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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Quarterback Tom Brady, who is the leading candidate to earn the NFL's Most Valuable Player award, headlines six Patriots players who were named to the Pro Bowl tonight.
The Patriots lead the AFC with six selections. The six selections ties for the fourth most in franchise history.
Of the six, Brady, Wilfork and Mankins are starters.
For Brady, this is the sixth Pro Bowl berth of his 11-year career. He enters the final week of the season with 3,701 yards passing and an NFL-leading 34 touchdowns. Sunday at Buffalo, he extended his streak to 319 consecutive pass attempts without an interception to set an NFL record.
Wilfork has turned in the best season of his seven-year career, playing across the defensive front, while Mankins made the team despite missing the first seven games in a contract standoff. This is the third Pro Bowl berth for both Wilfork and Mankins.
Meanwhile, McCourty's berth highlights how he's had a stellar rookie season. The 27th overall pick in the draft, he has a team-high six interceptions and joins Darrelle Revis (Jets) and Nnamdi Asomugha (Raiders) on the AFC squad. He is only the fourth rookie in franchise history to be a Pro Bowler, joining Mike Haynes (1976), John Stephens (1988) and Curtis Martin (1995).
The Pro Bowl berth is the first for Mayo, a third-year veteran who leads the NFL in tackles (186).
A four-year veteran, Meriweather returns to the Pro Bowl for the second straight year. He has 66 tackles and three interceptions in a season that has been up-and-down, which makes his berth a bit surprising.
The game will be held Jan. 30 at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii.
Pro Bowl berths are determined between a split vote between fans, players and coaches, all of which count for one-third of the process (complete rosters).