2012 Pro Bowl: The NFL's Elite Prepare To Battle In Hawaii

The Pro Bowl gets underway on Sunday in Hawaii!


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2012 Pro Bowl AFC Roster: Ravens-Heavy Squad Heads To Honolulu

A select number of the NFL's best players will be making a trip to Hawaii to participate in this Sunday's AFC-NFC Pro Bowl, though the league's annual all-star game will be lacking some of its star power once again due to a variety of factors.

This will mark the third consecutive year in which the Pro Bowl will be held one week prior to the Super Bowl, thereby removing members of the New England Patriots and New York Giants that were chosen to play in Sunday's exhibition from their conference respective rosters once those teams qualified for the upcoming championship game.

The AFC has been hit particularly hard by the rule, as the Patriots had seven starters and eight players overall invited to Honolulu. That list included such notable names as quarterback Tom Brady, wide receiver Wes Welker and tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Following New England's defections, Baltimore had led the AFC corps with eight selections before four Ravens (running back Ray Rice, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and safety Ed Reed) all pulled out shortly after the club's loss to the Patriots in this past Sunday's conference championship. That leaves AFC West champion Denver with a team-high six players, although popular quarterback Tim Tebow was not among those named.

Brady's departure elevates Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger to the starting signal-caller's post for the AFC, which will be coached by Houston's Gary Kubiak, with Rogers first to lead the NFC offense before likely giving way to New Orleans record-setter Drew Brees.

For updates leading up to the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl, keep it with SB Nation's NFL hub.

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2012 Pro Bowl NFC Roster: Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees Highlight Squad

The NFL's best players will be making a trip to Hawaii to participate in this Sunday's AFC-NFC Pro Bowl. The NFC will field an impressive array of all-stars.

San Francisco's overtime loss to the Giants last weekend may have turned out to be the NFC's gain, as a conference-best eight 49ers had been picked to the initial squad and just two New York players -- quarterback Eli Manning and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul -- had made the list.

San Francisco will ultimately send six representatives to the contest, with running back Frank Gore, cornerback Carlos Rogers and safety Dashon Goldson all withdrawing after citing injuries and veteran long snapper Brian Jennings recently added as a need player. Six Green Bay Packers, headlined by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, will also be on the final NFC roster, with head coach Mike McCarthy and his staff directing the team.

The selected NFC starting defense won't be undergoing a whole lot of changes, with Rogers the lone honoree to bow out of the contest. The 49ers will still have a presence on the unit, however, with disruptive tackle Justin Smith (58 tackles, 7.5 sacks) and inside linebacker Patrick Willis (97 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT) each receiving well-deserved citations for their contributions to one of the NFL's stingiest defenses in 2011.

Even without Pierre-Paul, the conference won't be bereft of top-notch pass rushers, as Minnesota end Jared Allen (66 tackles, 1 INT) led the league with 22 sacks and Dallas outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware (58 tackles, 19.5 sacks) and Philadelphia end Jason Babin (40 tackles, 18 sacks) finished second and third, respectively, in that category. Rogers will be replaced in the opening lineup by Chicago's Charles Tillman (99 tackles, 1 sack, 3 INT) in the veteran corner's first trip to Honolulu, while 35-year-old Charles Woodson (74 tackles, 2 sacks, 7 INT) garnered his eighth career Pro Bowl nod on the opposite side and joins outside linebacker and Green Bay teammate Clay Matthews (50 tackles, 6 sacks, 3 INT) as a starter.

Aaron Rodgers (4643 passing yards, 45 TD, 6 INT) will the first up out of an absolutely loaded NFC crop of quarterbacks after setting an new NFL single-year standard with a 122.5 passer rating. The prolific Brees (5476 passing yards, 46 TD, 14 INT), meanwhile, shattered Dan Marino's 27-year-old mark for passing yards in his banner 2011 campaign, while the dynamic Newton (4051 passing yards, 21 TD, 17 INT) threw for more yards than any rookie in league history.

That stellar trio won't have the luxury of working with perhaps the best receiver in the game today, however, with Detroit superstar Calvin Johnson declining to attend because of a sore Achilles tendon, though the combo of Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald (80 receptions, 1411 yards, 8 TD) -- the 2009 Pro Bowl MVP -- and Carolina veteran Steve Smith (79 receptions, 1394 yards, 7 TD) alongside New Orleans tight end and first-time selection Jimmy Graham (99 receptions, 1310 yards, 11 TD) ensures there will be more than enough elite targets to go around.

The backfield also possesses two quality pass-catchers in Philadelphia first-timer LeSean McCoy (1309 rushing yards, 48 receptions, 20 total TD) and Chicago's Matt Forte (997 rushing yards, 52 receptions, 4 total TD), slated to participate despite missing the final four weeks of the regular season with a sprained knee. Graham is one of three Saints chosen as starters, along with the stout guard tandem of Carl Nicks and Jahri Evans.

For updates leading up to the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl, keep it with SB Nation's NFL hub.

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AFC Pro Bowl Roster: Tom Brady, Wes Welker Among 8 Patriots Honored

The AFC Pro Bowl roster is, unsurprisingly, loaded with members of the New England Patriots on offense. Their passing attack led by Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker has been fantastic this season, and those three were unsurprisingly among the leaders in fan voting before the roster announcements. The Patriots led all AFC teams with eight selections, with Logan Mankins, Brian Waters, Andre Carter, Vince Wilfork and Matthew Slater also being honored. Arian Foster was the leading vote-receiving running back, while the offensive line was a mixed bag.

The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers had a number of the leading vote-receiving players on defense, though Darrelle Revis is just as popular as any player on either of those teams. The usual suspects like Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed received a high number of votes after putting together great seasons.

Note: * indicates starter, number of Pro Bowl appearances appears in paranthesis

Offense

QB: *Tom Brady (7), Ben Roethlisberger (2), Philip Rivers (4)

RB: *Ray Rice (2), Maurice Jones-Drew (3), Arian Foster (2)

WR: *Wes Welker (4), *Mike Wallace (1), A.J. Green (1), Brandon Marshall (3)

TE: *Rob Gronkowski (1), Antonio Gates (8)

OT: *Joe Thomas (5), *Jake Long (4), D'Brickashaw Ferguson (3)

OG: *Logan Mankins (4), *Brian Waters (6), Marshal Yanda (1)

C: *Maurkice Pouncey (2), Nick Mangold (4)

FB: *Vonta Leach (2)

Defense

DE: *Dwight Freeney (7), *Andre Carter (1), Elvis Dumervil (2)

DT: *Haloti Ngata (3), *Vince Wilfork (4), Richard Seymour (7)

OLB: *Terrell Suggs (5), *Von Miller (1), Tamba Hali (1)

ILB: *Ray Lewis (12), Derrick Johnson (1)

CB: *Darrelle Revis (4), *Champ Bailey (11), Johnathan Joseph

FS: *Ed Reed (8), Eric Weddle (1)

SS: *Troy Polamalu (7)

Special Teams

P: Shane Lechler (7)

PK: Sebastian Janikowski (1)

KR: Antonio Brown (1)

Special Teamer: Matthew Slater (1)

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NFC Pro Bowl Roster: Eli Manning, Greg Jennings Sneak Onto Team

The NFC Pro Bowl roster is out, and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was the leading vote-receiver among fans. Though New Orleans Saints' quarterback Drew Brees broke Dan Marino's single season passing yards record, Rodgers has been the center of attention a year after a Super Bowl win and a 14-1 record thus far. He's joined by some teammates on the roster, including Greg Jennings at wide receiver. LeSean McCoy lead fan voting for running backs, while 'Megatron' Calvin Johnson headlines the wide receivers.

The San Fransisco 49ers are well represented on defense with Justin Smith and Patrick Willis, who have had fantastic seasons. They'll be joined by six teammates, as the Niners led the NFC with eight Pro Bowl selections. Jared Allen has performed well even if the Minnesota Vikings have not, while the Packers and Saints are represented, despite their teams being better known for their offensive prowess this season.

Note: * indicates starter, number of Pro Bowl appearances appears in paranthesis

Offense


QB: Aaron Rodgers* (2nd appearance), Drew Brees (6), Eli Manning (2)

RB: LeSean McCoy* (1), Matt Forte (1), Frank Gore (3)

WR: Calvin Johnson* (2), Larry Fitzgerald* (6), Steve Smith (CAR) (5), Greg Jennings (2)

FB: John Kuhn* (1)

TE: Jimmy Graham* (1), Tony Gonzalez (12)

OT: Jason Peters* (5), Joe Staley* (1), Jermon Bushrod (1)

OG: Jahri Evans* (3), Carl Nicks* (2), Davin Joseph (2)

C: Ryan Kalil* (3), Scott Wells (1)

Defense

DE: Jared Allen* (4), Jason Babin* (2), Jason Pierre-Paul (1)

DT: Justin Smith* (3), Jay Ratliff* (4), B.J. Raji (1)

OLB: DeMarcus Ware* (6), Clay Matthews* (3), Lance Briggs (7)

ILB: Patrick Willis* (4), Brian Urlacher (8)

CB: Charles Woodson* (8), Carlos Rogers* (1), Charles Tillman (1)

FS: Earl Thomas* (1), Dashon Goldson (1)

SS: Adrian Wilson* (5)

Special Teams

K: David Akers* (6)

P: Andy Lee* (3)

KR/PR: Patrick Peterson* (1)

Special Teamer: Corey Graham* (1)

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