Some felt Johnson, who missed three games during the regular season due to injuries, was snubbed by voters when they picked Green Bay QB Brett Favre, San Francisco QB Jeff Garcia and Atlanta QB Michael Vick to represent the NFC in the Pro Bowl. But on Thursday, Vick elected to sit out of the Pro Bowl due to shoulder injuries, which secured Johnson a trip Honolulu, Hawaii for the league's all-star game.
"I wrote down my one goal this year (and that) was to make the Super Bowl," said Johnson. "My one goal. I didn't write about percentages, I didn't write about Pro Bowls. It was the Super Bowl. So my dream and my quest has come true. Now to finish it is to win it.
"The Pro Bowl is an honor for the team. I think it shows how much we improved this year, shows how well we played as a team and offensively what we did to some teams."
Johnson, who was Minnesota's 1992 10th-round draft pick out of Florida State, was the NFC's top-rated passer (92.9) this season. In addition to throwing for 2,799 yards, Johnson set new franchise records for touchdowns thrown (22), completion percentage (62.3 percent) and lowest interception percentage (1.3 percent).
In Tampa Bay's two playoff contests, Johnson completed 54.6 percent of his passes for 455 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden is arguably Johnson's biggest fan and he was pleased to hear the news that his starting quarterback was headed for Hawaii.
"We're really happy about that," said Gruden. "It's an honor, it's well-deserved and he'll represent us well. He's had a great year. He's a huge reason why we're here and hopefully his best football is in the immediate future."
This will be Johnson's second trip to the Pro Bowl. Johnson first made the Pro Bowl in 1999 as a Washington Redskin when he passed for a career-high 4,005 yards.
Tampa Bay will now have six players represent the NFC in the Pro Bowl on February 2, 2003. Johnson will join fullback Mike Alstott, linebacker Derrick Brooks, safety John Lynch, defensive end Simeon Rice and defensive tackle Warren Sapp.
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