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Though it was just a meaningless exhibition, and a game that could barely keep the attention of viewers, the Pro Bowl did provide some interesting statistics. Two records were either tied or broken during Sunday's game, both relating to scoring.
The NFC tied the Pro Bowl scoring mark with 55 points on Sunday. The mark was originally set in 2004 when the NFC squeaked out a 55-52 win over the AFC in Hawaii.
Tony Gonzalez broke the career touchdown mark in the second quarter. Matt Ryan found Gonzalez in the back of the end zone for four yards and the touchdown, his seventh career Pro Bowl score. Gonzalez came into the game tied with Marvin Harrison and Jimmy Smith at six touchdowns apiece.
The AFC and NFC combined for eight turnovers -- six interceptions and two fumbles. Three of those eight turnovers were returned for a score. DeAngelo Hall and Montell Owens took a fumbles to the house while Jon Beason took an interception back for the score.
On the scoring front, Owens scored in two wildly different ways. In addition to his fumble return for a touchdown, Owens also caught a Matt Cassel touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter.
Twice, the scoring came in quick succession -- with the same team scoring 20 seconds or less apart. After Gonzalez scored in the second quarter, Hall returned his fumble for a touchdown just 20 seconds later. In the third quarter, Reggie Wayne found the end zone followed five seconds later by a Devin Hester fumble on the kickoff, returned for a touchdown by Owens.
All three AFC quarterbacks struggled, combining to throw six interceptions. Philip Rivers and Matt Cassel threw two apiece, with Peyton Manning adding one for good measure. Manning was completely ineffective in limited duties, completing just two passes for 12 yards and that interception.
Of course it's the Pro Bowl, so none of these statistics mean much, but there were plenty of oddities to go around on Sunday.
The NFC jumped out to a quick 42-7 halftime lead, ensuring the game was all-but-over before viewers settled in for the game.
Matt Ryan led the way for the NFC, throwing for 118 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Drew Brees made a late entrance into the game, completing 4-6 passes for 68 yards. Michael Vick, the starter for the NFC, finished with 59 yards on 5-10 passing.
On the ground, it was the Adrian Peterson show as the Minnesota running back carried 14 times for 80 yards and a touchdown. Michael Turner added 53 yards on eight with Steven Jackson adding another 33 yards on six carries. Ovie Mughelli was the only other NFC back to find the end zone, scoring from one yard out.
Roddy White had a team-high 69 yards on five catches for the NFC, but never found the end zone. Tony Gonzalez added 42 yards and a touchdown on three catches. Larry Fitzgerald also caught a touchdown pass.
Philip Rivers led all passers with 192 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw two early interceptions. Matt Cassel also threw two touchdowns and two interceptions, finishing with 95 yards, as well. Peyton Manning was completely ineffective, only throwing for 12 yards and an interception.
Jamaal Charles scored the only rushing touchdown for the AFC and had 70 yards on the ground to lead the team. Reggie Wayne had a game-high 86 yards and a touchdown on five catches. Montell Owens, Alex Mack and Mercedes Lewis also caught touchdowns.
By the time it was all said and done, the NFC walked away with a 55-41 win. DeAngelo Hall took home MVP honors, recording six tackles, an interception and a fumble return for a touchdown.
With an impressive defensive effort, Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall locked up the Pro Bowl MVP award on Sunday night. Hall did his work early, intercepting a Philip Rivers pass to end the first quarter before returning a fumble 34 yards for the touchdown in the second. Hall also finished with six tackles.
On the turnover front, the NFC defense was outstanding, forcing seven AFC turnovers in the Pro Bowl. The NFC intercepted five passes while also recovering the aforementioned fumble. Two of those turnovers were taken all the way back for touchdowns, a big reason why the NFC was able to tie the Pro Bowl scoring mark with 55 points.
Hall is the third Redskin to win the MVP award, joining Joe Theismann and Gene Brito. He's also only the fourth cornerback to win the award, joining Ty Law (1999), Jerry Gray (1990) and Mel Blount (1977).
The Pro Bowl has been out of hand for about the last two hours, but we do have some noteworthy news to pass along. With the last interception return for a touchdown, the NFC has tied the all-time high score in the Pro Bowl. In the fourth quarter, the NFC is cruising, leading the AFC by a 55-28 margin.
They got there with 38-yard David Akers field goal in the fourth, followed almost immediately by a Jon Beason interception. Beason took it to the house, rumbling 49 yards for the score to tie the record, set by the 2004 NFC team. The interception was the fifth by an AFC quarterback so far, and the sixth in the game. In total, the two teams have combined for eight turnovers, three of which have been returned for scores.
The AFC added a quick touchdown following the interception return when Matt Cassel recovered to find Montell Owens in the end zone. The touchdown capped a six play, 56 yard drive spanning 1:38.
With under two minutes to go in the Pro Bowl, the AFC trails the NFC, 55-35.
Since St. Louis Rams RB Steven Jackson’s touchdown late in the second quarter, the AFC has gone on a 28-3 tear. Could we be witnessing the greatest Pro Bowl comeback of all time? If I type questions like that to myself, covering this game will feel so much more exciting!
San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers has thrown two touchdowns now, the most recent a 28-yarder into Jacksonville Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis’ hands. Rivers is putting together a regular game’s worth of stats, throwing for 171 yards and two scores, but those two picks are going to keep him out of MVP consideration. That’s about all that’s left to play for here.
The AFC has actually pulled within about 50 yards of the NFC, but those five turnovers put the game out of reach.
It took the NFC’s coaches until the end of the third quarter to let New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees play — shocking and purely coincidental oversight by the Atlanta Falcons coaching staff, of course.
While Mike Smith’s NFC Pro Bowl team seems to be working through its depth chart on a quarterly basis, Bill Belichick’s AFC squad has started all over. San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers, who got the start today, re-took the field at the beginning of the second half.
All that rest paid off, with Rivers finding Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne for a 16-yard touchdown, the AFC’s second of the day. On the following kickoff, Washington Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall was not aware he was involved in a reverse, resulting in a fumble that Houston Texans RB Arian Foster returned for another score.
And toward the end of the first half Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles ran in an eight-yarder that I forgot to write about.
It’s 42-21 NFC, and now you’re all up to speed.
Rivers now has 119 yards, leading all quarterbacks, but has also thrown two interceptions. Wayne leads all receivers with 65 yards on three catches, putting him in contention for that MVP trophy.
Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan threw his second touchdown of the 2011 Pro Bowl late in the second quarter, a 25-yard jump ball to Arizona Cardinas WR Larry Fitzgerald. It was a similar pass to the earlier one that was picked off by New England Patriots CB Devin McCourty, but this one found its target.
On the next NFC drive, St. Louis Rams RB Steven Jackson banged in a 21-yard touchdown run to put the NFC up 42-0. This is the most explosive event to happen in Hawaii since Manua Loa erupted in 1984. And in case you're wondering, the biggest Pro Bowl win ever was a 45-3 NFC win in 1984.
The NFC has more touchdowns than the AFC has first downs. The NFC should go for two next time, because then they'd have a Hawaii Five-O, am I right?
Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Cassel entered the game before halftime, relieving Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning. Bill Belichick is just going to keep throwing quarterbacks at the field to see if any of them can avoid turning the ball over to Washington Redskins players. Cassel at least broke form, throwing his pick to Minnesota Vikings CB Antoine Winfield.
TE Tony Gonzalez became the second Atlanta Falcons player to score in the 2011 Pro Bowl, catching a four-yard dart at the back of the end zone from real-life teammate Matt Ryan. On the next play from scrimmage, Washington Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall ripped the ball out of New England Patriots WR Wes Welker’s hands, running the fumble back for yet another touchdown.
The NFC has outgained the AFC by over 100 yards and is winning the turnover battle four to one, which makes that 28-0 score less surprising.
If Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson wants to win that MVP award, he’s going to need to lobby to get some more playing time, because longshot Hall is the front-runner now.
The AFC has the ball back now, and I sort of hope the one mean team stops playing so much defense and let’s the nice team have a point. Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles is among the players who have checked in for the AFC.
Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has set himself the goal of being named 2011 Pro Bowl MVP. He’s at least in the running after scoring the NFC’s second touchdown, a 14-yard burst set up by a Philip Rivers pass tipped into Washington Redskins LB London Fletcher’s hands.
On the next AFC drive, another Redskin picked off Rivers. The San Diego Chargers QB hurled deep to Denver Broncos WR Brandon Lloyd in the end zone, but CB DeAngelo Hall picked it off and ran it back to right around where a touchback would’ve placed it.
The NFC has taken a 14-0 lead as the first quarter ends.
We’ll now get a pair of quarterback changes, with Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan taking over for Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick (hey, that sounds familiar!) and Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning relieving Rivers.
And Ryan’s first throw, a bomb to Dallas Cowboys WR Miles Austin, was picked off by New England Patriots CB Devin McCourty. Not to be outdone, Manning threw a pick to Falcons CB Brent Grimes. This is the most defense that has ever been played in any Pro Bowl.
If you’d like to get a look at what it could’ve looked like if Michael Vick had remained a member of the Atlanta Falcons, tonight’s Pro Bowl first quarter is the event for you. On the NFC’s touchdown drive, which gave them a 7-0 lead over the AFC, Vick completed passes to Falcons WR Roddy White, TE Tony Gonzalez, and RB Michael Turner before handing off to Falcons FB Ovie Mughelli for the touchdown.
Oh, and those plays were called by Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey. It’s like an obscene time machine!
The completion to White was the biggest play of the game so far, a 23-yarder into the red zone. Vick has 49 yards on four-of-eight passing, but was brought down from behind by Miami Dolphins DE Randy Starks, which brought on more than a little deserved gloating by Starks.
Fox has cameramen popping in and out of huddles and quarterbacks mic’d up, giving the game a very up-close feel.
The NFL Pro Bowl is back in Hawaii, which gives it a more comfortable casually attended vibe and means we got to enjoy the Goo Goo Dolls as nature intended them: supplemented by a crew of immense, shirtless Hawaiian drummers.
Chicago Bears KR Devin Hester took the opening kickoff from deep in the end zone, because hey! Pro Bowl! It didn’t amount to much, but it did set up a chance for Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick to bomb it deep to Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson, which was broken up. The star of the first drive was Eagles punter Mat McBriar, who boomed a ball near the sideline that skipped past Tennessee Titans KR Marc Mariani.
Then Hester made the tackle! Pro Bowl!
The AFC got the ball moving a little more effectively, with Denver Broncos WR Brandon Lloyd making a nice catch and Houston Texans RB Arian Foster running strong. Bill Belichick attempted to convert a fourth down, but San Diego Chargers QB couldn’t get the ball to Titans RB Chris Johnson for the conversion.
The 2011 NFL Pro Bowl is your last chance this season to see all the football players who are good enough to be chosen for an exhibition in Hawaii, on bad enough teams to not be playing in Super Bowl XLV, and healthy enough to risk further significant injury in a completely meaningless game. So where can you find it on TV, and what players are on the AFC and NFC rosters? I'm glad you asked!
Time: 7 p.m. Eastern.
TV broadcast: FOX, which will also broadcast next Sunday's Super Bowl XLV.
Broadcasters: Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick and Terry Bradshaw will be in the booth. The ever-talkative, rarely interesting Tony Siragusa will work the sideline.
Location: Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. The 2010 Pro Bowl was held in Miami; this is a return to Hawaii after that one-year trip to the mainland.
Teams: AFC and NFC.
Rosters: Both conferences have rosters that were partially voted on by the public, coaches, and fans. You can see the rosters here.
Notable names: Michael Vick will quarterback the NFC, in a nice ending note after his comeback season in 2010. And Bill Belichick will coach the AFC (Mike Smith is coaching the NFC), which means Bill Belichick may actually smile for once.
For further reading: Check out the rest of the StoryStream for updates.
Curious as to which players will actually take the field in the 2011 Pro Bowl? Here's a guide, via the Saints' website, to which players are actually in Hawaii to comprise the final 2011 Pro Bowl rosters and will play in today's game.
First, an overview of who's not playing. Injuries have knocked out a slew of stars.
The following players will not play in the Pro Bowl because of injury: Tom Brady, Patriots; Lance Briggs, Chicago; Dwight Freeney, Colts; Antonio Gates, Chargers; Andre Johnson, Texans; Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars; Nick Mangold, Jets; Shaun O'Hara, Giants; Jason Peters, Eagles; Ed Reed, Ravens; Asante Samuel, Eagles; Richard Seymour, Raiders; Ndamukong Suh, Lions; Brian Urlacher, Bears; Patrick Willis, 49ers.
Vikings defensive lineman Kevin Williams will miss the Pro Bowl for personal reasons.
And, of course, players preparing for Super Bowl XLV will also be missing the Pro Bowl.
The following players will not play in the Pro Bowl because they are participating in Super Bowl XLV: Chad Clifton, Packers; Nick Collins, Packers; James Harrison, Steelers; Greg Jennings, Packers; Brett Keisel, Steelers; Clay Matthews, Packers; Troy Polamalu, Steelers; Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers; Tramon Williams, Packers; Charles Woodson, Packers.
That leaves these final rosters.
Reggie Wayne, Colts; Brandon Lloyd, Broncos; Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs; Wes Welker, New England; Joe Thomas Cleveland; D'Brickashaw Ferguson, New York Jets; Matt Light New England; Kris Dielman, San Diego; Logan Mankins, New England; Brian Waters Kansas City; Jeff Saturday, Indianapolis; Alex Mack, Cleveland; Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville; Zach Miller, Oakland; Philip Rivers, San Diego; Peyton Manning, Indianapolis; Matt Cassel Kansas City; Arian Foster, Houston; Jamaal Charles, Kansas City; Chris Johnson, Tennessee; Vonta Leach, Houston.
Haloti Ngata, Baltimore; Vince Wilfork, New England; Kyle Williams, Buffalo; Cameron Wake, Miami; Terrell Suggs, Baltimore; Shaun Phillips, San Diego; Ray Lewis, Baltimore; Jerod Mayo, New England; Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland; Darrelle Revis, New York Jets; Devin McCourty, New England; Brandon Meriweather, New England; Michael Griffin, Tennessee; Eric Berry, Kansas City
Long snapper: John Denney, Miami; punter: Shane Lechler, Oakland; kicker: Billy Cundiff, Baltimore; kick returner: Marc Mariani, Tennessee; special teamer: Montell Owens, Jacksonville.
Roddy White, Atlanta; Calvin Johnson, Detriot; DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia; Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona; Jordan Gross, Carolina; Tyson Clabo, Atlanta; Donald Penn, Tampa Bay; Jahri Evans, New Orleans; Chris Snee, New York Giants; Carl Nicks, New Orleans; Andre Gurode, Dallas; Ryan Kalil, Carolina;, Jason Witten, Dallas; Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta; Michael Vick, Philadelphia; Matt Ryan, Atlanta; Drew Brees, New Orleans; Michael Turner, Atlanta; Adrian Peterson, Minnesota; Steven Jackson, St. Louis; Ovie Mughelli, Atlanta
Julius Peppers , Chicago; John Abraham, Atlanta; Justin Tuck, New York Giants; Jay Ratliff, Dallas; Justin Smith, San Francisco; Darnell Dockett, Arizona; DeMarcus Ware, Dallas; Brian Orakpo, Washington; Jon Beason, Carolina; Jonathan Vilma, New Orleans; London Fletcher, Washington; DeAngelo Hall, Washington; Brent Grimes, Atlanta ;Antonio Winfield, Minnesota; Antrel Rolle, New York Giants; Adrian Wilson, Arizona; Roman Harper, New Orleans
Long snapper: Zak DeOssie, New York Giants; punter: Mat McBriar, Philadelphia; kicker: David Akers, Philadelphia; kick returner: Devin Hester, Chicago.
On Sunday (7 p.m., Fox), we'll see many of the NFL's biggest stars on the field for the last time in months. The AFC is starting Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers in the 2011 Pro Bowl, while the NFC will start the Eagles' Michael Vick behind center.
The Texans' Arian Foster, one of the biggest surprises of the 2010 NFL season, will start at running back for the AFC. Other first-time Pro Bowl starters include Chiefs safety Eric Berry, who had a spectacular first season in the league.
For the full Pro Bowl rosters, check out the rest of this StoryStream. Here are the AFC and NFC starters:
QB - Philip Rivers
RB - Arian Foster
FB - Vonta Leach
WR - Reggie Wayne
WR - Brandon Lloyd
TE - Mercedes Lewis
OT - Joe Thomas
OT - D'Brickashaw Ferguson
OG - Kris Dielman
OG - Logan Mankins
C - Jeff Saturday
DE - Robert Mathis
DE - Jason Babin
DT - Haloti Ngata
DT - Vince Wilfork
OLB - Cameron Wake
OLB - Terrell Suggs
ILB - Ray Lewis
CB - Darrelle Revis
CB - Devin McCourty
FS - Brandon Meriweather
SS - Eric Berry
P - Shane Lechler
K - Billy Cundiff
KR - Marc Mariani
ST - Montell Owens
QB - Michael Vick
RB - Michael Turner
FB - Ovie Mughelli
WR - Roddy White
WR - Calvin Johnson
TE - Jason Witten
OT - Jordan Gross
OT - Tyson Clabo
OG - Jahri Evans
OG - Chris Snee
C - Andre Gurode
DE - Julius Peppers
DE - John Abraham
DT - Justin Smith
OLB - DeMarcus Ware
OLB - Brian Orakpo
ILB - Jonathan Vilma
CB - DeAngelo Hall
CB - Brent Grimes
FS - Antrel Rolle
SS - Andrian Wilson
P - Mat McBriar
K - David Akers
KR - Devin Hester
ST - Eric Weems
As we get closer to kickoff at Aloha Stadium, follow along with this StoryStream for updates.
Following the AFC and NFC Championships in the NFL this weekend, there have been a boatload of players that have pulled out of the 2011 Pro Bowl because they're going to the Super Bowl (looking at you Steelers, Packers) or because of injury, whether they're really hurt or not.
We've been tracking the replacements all day but here's the full list. There are 10 Pro Bowlers from the Steelers and Packers that will not play in the 2011 Pro Bowl and three more from the Bears and Jets pulled out from the game after Sunday's AFC and NFC Championship games.
The Bears, who lost to the Packers on Sunday, have had a couple of players pull out of the 2011 Pro Bowl including LBs Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher. Those two will be replaced by Panthers LB Jon Beason and Redskins LB London Fletcher.
The Jets, who lost to the Steelers on Sunday, saw C Nick Mangold pull out as well.
For the Packers, Redskins LB Brian Orakpo will replace LB Clay Matthews, Vikings CB Antoine Winfield will replace CB Tramon Williams, Falcons CB Brent Grimes will replace CB Charles Woodson, Bucs OT Donald Penn will replace OT Chad Clifton, Saints S Roman Harper will replace S Nick Collins and Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald will replace WR Greg Jennings.
For the Steelers, Chiefs S Eric Berry will replace S Troy Polamalu, Chiefs LB Tamba Hali will replace LB James Harrison, Colts C Jeff Saturday will replace C Maurkice Pouncey and Dolphins DE Randy Starks will replace DE Brett Keisel.
With the Pro Bowl set to take place the weekend before the Super Bowl this year, players from Super Bowl teams are ineligible to participate. A few lucky alternates got some good news on Sunday after the Green Bay Packers made the Super Bowl, opening up some extra roster slots. Three NFC players -- Roman Harper, Antoine Winfield and Larry Fitzgerald -- were added to the roster on Sunday following the NFC Championship.
Harper will be replacing Green Bay safety Nick Collins in Hawaii. It will be the second Pro Bowl he's been named to, though he was forced to skip the 2010 Pro Bowl after the New Orleans Saints made the Super Bowl.
Fitzgerald was honored for the fifth time after being named an alternate when the initial rosters were announced. The Arizona Cardinals wide receiver will be replacing Green Bay's Greg Jennings on the roster in Hawaii.
Winfield gets the nod for either Charles Woodsen or Tramon Williams. The 2011 Pro Bowl will be the third time he's made the trip to Hawaii, also participating in 2008 and 2009. Winfield was selected in 2010 but did not participate after suffering an injury.
The 2011 Pro Bowl kicks off on Sunday, Jan. 30 in Hawaii. For the latest on the rosters, stay tuned to our StoryStream.
Eric Berry became the first Kansas City Chiefs rookie to make a Pro Bowl since 1989 on Sunday, stepping in to fill roster space vacated by the AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers. The Chiefs made it a two-for-one when Tamba Hali was also added, bringing Kansas CIty's total number of 2011 Pro Bowl players to six.
Berry had an outstanding rookie campaign, finishing with 126 tackles, four interceptions and a touchdown. His four interceptions led the team as he stepped into a starting role right away as a rookie after being drafted by the Chiefs in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Hali led the AFC in sacks in 2010 with 14.5 in 16 games. He finished the year with 50 tackles, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. The Pro Bowl selection is the first of Hali's five-year career.
The two join Matt Cassel, Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles and Brian Waters on the AFC roster. Cassel was the latest addition, taking the place of Tom Brady last week.
The Pro Bowl kicks off in Hawaii on Jan. 30. Stay tuned to our StoryStream for the latest Pro Bowl Additions.
The Philadelphia Eagles impressive Pro Bowl showing is down two starters after CB Asante Samuel and OT Jason Peters had to pull out of the game. Samuel will be replaced by Green Bay Packers CB Tramon Williams, who’s become a big name in the playoffs with a game-sealing play against Philly and a pick six against Atlanta, will take Samuel’s spot. Peters will be replaced by Atlanta Falcons OT Tyson Clabo.
In his fourth season, Williams racked up six interceptions, his third straight season with four or more. He’s often overshadowed by Charles Woodson, but more than a few Packers fans and publications have declared him Green Bay’s best defensive back. Williams and Woodson are joined by fellow Packer Nick Collins in the NFC Pro Bowl secondary.
Clabo becomes the sixth Falcon on the NFC’s offense. The sixth-year vet from Wake Forest helped keep Matt Ryan clean throughout the regular season, and now he might to do it at least one more time.
Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Cassel has taken over for New England Patriots QB Tom Brady before, and now he’ll get to do it one more time. Due to Brady’s knee injury there’s a vacancy on the AFC’s roster, which Cassel will step up to fill. The Chiefs now have three players at offensive skill positions in the game, with RB Jamaal Charles and WR Dwayne Bowe also repping KC.
Elsewhere around the AFC, Tennessee Titans safety Michael Griffin will replace Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed and Oakland Raiders TE Zach Miller is in for San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates. Griffin joins DE Jason Babin, while Miller becomes the first Raider in the 2011 Pro Bowl. Two Raiders made the cut on defense.
Cassel posted career highs in touchdowns and interception avoidance, completing over 58 percent of his passes while supplementing Kansas City’s stout running game. He’s heading into his third season as the Chiefs starter since coming over from the Pats.
Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning as the starting quarterback in the Pro Bowl had become a bit of a tradition as Manning has started each of the last three Pro Bowls. The 2011 version, though, will not include Manning as a starter.
That honor goes to New England Patriots QB Tom Brady. Manning was still voted to the Pro Bowl -- just not as a starter. Tom Brady was the last AFC quarterback to take that from him after his record-breaking 2007 season. Brady is en route to an MVP season so him getting the nod this year isn't surprising, especially with Manning uncharacteristically struggling at times this year.
Manning also ties Brett Favre with 11 Pro Bowl nods, the most among active quarterbacks. He was a Pro Bowler in 1999 and 2000, missed it in 2001 and has been on the team every year since 2002.
Manning is 34 years old and has never had a significant injury so it's reasonable to assume he can continue playing at a high level for a few more years. Is 15 Pro Bowls possible?
The 2011 Pro Bowl rosters will contain some familiar names on the defensive side of the ball for the AFC. From top to bottom, we're seeing a lot of faces we've seen before in the Pro Bowl. Dolphins LB Cameron Wake, the NFL's sack leader, is the new face in this group but after that we've seen them all before.
Colts defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are starters for the second consecutive year. Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork is also in for the second consecutive year as is Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Also on the team last year was Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. They both return this year. Ed Reed (seven Pro Bowls) and Troy Polamalu (six Pro Bowls) round out the experienced secondary. Steelers' James Harrison and Ravens' Ray Lewis join Wake as the AFC's linebackers.
Wit the exception of one of the defensive ends, and possibly Ray Lewis and Cameron Wake, it's hard to see how this team will be much different next year. These are young, consistent players that will probably be dominating the AFC team for a lon time.
The common themes are playing on a great defense -- Steelers, Ravens and Jets are well represented -- and having experience as a Pro Bowler. As a whole, the AFC 14 first-time Pro Bowlers but not many of them are starters.
The 2010 Atlanta Falcons is turning out to be pretty special as they're 12-3 on the year, close to wrapping up the top seed in the NFC and now comes news that they will send seven players to the 2011 Pro Bowl. That numbers leads the NFL ahead of the New England Patriots who have six players in.
Snubs? I think you could make a very reasonable argument for including Brent Grimes, William Moore and Curtis Lofton, as well as Todd McClure. I am surprised Grimes couldn't garner enough votes with his play and the media attention he's received, but we know how good he is. That's gotta count for something.
Now you're just getting greedy Falcons fans. If you're a Falcons fan -- and it must feel good to be one this morning -- hop on over to The Falcoholic to see what fans are saying about leading the NFL in Pro Bowl players.
The New England Patriots were second to the Atlanta Falcons in number of players voted to the Pro Bowl with six. Three of them are starters -- Tom Brady, Logan Mankins and Vince Wilfork -- while three others are reserve -- Devin McCourty, Jerod Mayo and Brandon Meriweather. SB Nation's Pats Pulpit has a run down of the Pats Pro Bowl list including the near-snubs and a surprise:
I think most Patriots fans will be elated with the fact that Devin McCourty and Jerod Mayo have been voted in as Pro Bowlers. While they both certainly deserved the nod, a lot of us thought that they would get snubbed, as neither player is a household name quite yet.
Mayo was the rookie of the year in 2008 so I think he has at least some name recognition. And McCourty is making people recognize him as he's second in the NFL in interceptions this year. He's also one of the best players on the secondary of the best team. That doesn't hurt.
The biggest surprise to get a Pro Bowl nod is safety Brandon Meriweather. While Meriweather hasn't had a bad season, he hasn't been nearly as effective as he was last season, when he recorded five interceptions and got his first Pro Bowl nod.
Meriweather was a little surprising to me as well. But if someone's on the fence about selecting a player, playing on the best team probably helps your case. The fans' vote is mostly name recognition but the coaches and players vote isn't far off from that (as Logan Mankins, who missed half the season, would attest).
Check out Pats Pulpit for more on the Patriots Pro Bowlers.
A favorite pastime after the Pro Bowl rosters are released every year is the never-ending search for the snubs. Which players were deserving and left off? Who got into the Pro Bowl but didn’t deserve it? How can we, as fans, create a better roster than the NFL released?
Oddly enough, this year it’s tough to find worthy candidates that were left off. It seems, on the surface, like the NFL got this one right. There are a few minor misses, but with a roster so loaded, it’s hard to get every single thing right. Besides, with Pro Bowlers from Super Bowl teams unable to play in this year’s edition, plenty of worthy candidates will become last-minute editions as the alternates are added.
Who were a few players that didn’t make the cut, but have stood out this season?
Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers tight end: Davis was snubbed in favor of Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez. Across the board, Davis is a better tight end. 818 yards to 603; six touchdowns to five; 15.4 yards per catch to 9.4. Davis deserved to be in the Pro Bowl.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers quarterback: This is a tough one. Rodgers is having a great year, but is a victim of a loaded crop of NFC quarterbacks. Ahead of him, Michael Vick will start, with Matt Ryan and Drew Brees serving as the backups. As the first alternate, odds are Rodgers will find his way into the Pro Bowl before all is said and done.
Jacoby Ford, Oakland Raiders return specialist: Ford has been a game-breaking return-man in 2010, taking three kickoffs to the house. His electrifying speed and ability to break a kick at any moment, along with those three touchdowns, make him a minor snub in the scheme of it all.
Indianapolis Colts defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are both starting on the AFC’s 2011 Pro Bowl defense, making Indy the only team to feature two starters at the same position and the only team with two starting linemen on the same side of the ball. Half of the Colts four Pro Bowlers play defense. Interesting to me, at least.
The Baltimore Ravens dominate the AFC’s defensive and special teams lineups, because of course they do. The same guys who make it every year — Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs — make the cut, along with Haloti Ngata and Billy Cundiff. The New England Patriots feature the second-most-represented defense, with four.
Dwight Freeney, Colts
Robert Mathis, Colts
Jason Babin, Titans
Ray Lewis, Ravens
Jerod Mayo, Patriots
Ed Reed, Ravens
Brandon Meriweather, Patriots
Troy Polamalu, Steelers
Detroit Lions DT Ndamukong Suh is the only rookie starter on either 2011 Pro Bowl roster. The Lions rookie led all defensive tackles in sacks with nine. He’s one of only two Lions to make the squad, along with WR Calvin Johnson.
The Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys had three defenders selected each, the most of any NFC teams. Arizona Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson and Washington Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall were their teams’ only representatives. Both of the San Francisco 49ers’ inclusions were defensive players, and some of this might explain why NFC West teams never score any points.
Bears KR Devin Hester also comes in as the NFC’s kick returner, meaning all four of Chicago’s Pro Bowl players are either defenders or special teamers.
Adrian Wilson, Cardinals
The AFC offensive Pro Bowl lineup features only two New England Patriots, but one of those is the conference’s top quarterback, Tom Brady. He’s joined by starting guard Logan Mankins. The Pro Bowl won’t welcome as much offensive talent from the NFL’s best team as it will from the San Diego Chargers, who missed the playoffs. What can you do?
The Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs sent three players each, but the Pittsburgh Steelers lone offensive representative is a rookie center. Maurkice Pouncey, who struggled early on with snaps to Steelers quarterbacks, is the only offensive rookie to make this year’s Pro Bowl.
Vonta Leach, Texans
Nick Mangold, Jets
Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers
Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick continues his comeback tour by headlining the NFC's Pro Bowl lineup, earning a starting job in the year-end all-star game. He's joined on the offense by two Eagles teammates, putting Philly among the conference's leaders. The New Orleans Saints also send three.
The conference-leading Atlanta Falcons will be sending the most offensive talent to the NFC, featuring starting spots for Roddy White, Michael Turner, and Ovie Mughelli, plus Matt Ryan's first Pro Bowl appearance.
Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is a noteworthy exclusion, but missing time due to a concussion may have removed him from a tight quarterback race.
Michael Vick, Eagles
Matt Ryan, Falcons
Drew Brees, Saints
Michael Turner, Falcons
Adrian Peterson, Vikings
Steven Jackson, Rams
Ovie Mughelli, Falcons
Roddy White, Falcons
Calvin Johnson, Lions
DeSean Jackson, Eagles
Greg Jennings, Packers
Jason Witten, Cowboys
Tony Gonzalez, Falcons
Jason Peters, Eagles
Jordan Gross, Panthers
Chad Clifton, Packers
Jahri Evans, Saints
Chris Snee, Giants
Carl Nicks, Saints
Andre Gurode, Cowboys
Shaun O'Hara, Giants
NFL Network's official Pro Bowl announcement won't begin for another 10 minutes, but a few names have started making their way out onto Twitter and elsewhere. Interestingly, almost all of them are defensive players.
In the NFC, Washington Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall via @lindsayczarniak), Detroit Lions DT Ndamukong Suh (via Fox Sports Detroit), and Green Bay Packers players Chad Clifton, Clay Matthews, Nick Collins, Charles Woodson, and Greg Jennings (via @jasonjwilde).
Early AFC reps include New York Jets players Darrelle Revis and Nick Mangold (via @thejetsstream), Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee (via @ryanwnst), and Tennessee Titans DE Jason Babin (via @jwyattsports).
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay seemed prepared to announce the names of the Colts Pro Bowlers, but did mention the team had four players selected.
For more on 2011 Pro Bowl roster selections, stay tuned to this StoryStream.
The 2011 Pro Bowl roster will be revealed on NFL Network Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. (ET). The NFL has already announced the results of the fan voting -- Tom Brady and Michael Vick led the way -- but in the last week they've also polled players and coaches to make up the final roster.
The fan vote is one-third of the process as is the coaches vote and players vote. You can imagine the top of the fan vote is pretty similar to the actual vote. Here are the top 10 players in the fan vote: QB Tom Brady, QB Michael Vick, QB Peyton Manning, QB Philip Rivers, QB Drew Brees, RB Adrian Peterson, QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Arian Foster, RB Maurice Jones-Drew and QB Matt Ryan.
Yeah, so it's good to be a quarterback in the fan's eyes.
The 2011 Pro Bowl will be played the week before the Super Bowl once again this year meaning players on the eventual Super Bowl teams will not be playing in the game and alternates will take their place. As you can imagine, the two Super Bowl teams are usually comprised of a good chunk of Pro Bowlers. So for those of you staying this is a meaningless game...well, you're right.
We'll be updating with the 2011 Pro Bowl rosters when they're released.
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