By Danny Cox
A lot of people may not believe that the NFL Pro Bowl means much of anything anymore, but it still is a great honor to be voted onto one of the rosters. Three names that are pleased to be on the list are either making a great comeback or are right in the middle of their first ever professional season.
Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos and Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings are back from injuries and having some of the greatest seasons of their careers. Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins hasn’t even completed his rookie season yet. All three love being named to the Pro Bowl rosters, but they really hope to be playing in the Super Bowl instead.
“I know there’s great players out there in the NFL, but there’s some great players on this team this year that deserve to go,” said Manning.
The San Francisco 49ers are the team that had the most players selected to the Pro Bowl with a grand total of nine. Six of those nine come from the NFL’s second-ranked defense. Coming in second with eight players voted in are the Houston Texans. Six of those eight come from the explosive Houston offense.
The only rookie to make the Pro Bowl aside from RG3 is that of Minnesota kicker Blair Walsh. He has an NFL record of nine field goals made from at least 50 yards. The kicker for the AFC is also making his first Pro Bowl appearance, but Cleveland’s Phil Dawson is in his 14th year in the NFL.
Eight of the 32 NFL teams had no players selected at all to the two rosters. The AFC teams with none are Tennessee, Oakland, San Diego, Jacksonville, and Buffalo. The NFC teams not sending any players to the Pro Bowl are Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Carolina.
A number of players were snubbed in both conferences, and so far, there are fans all over who aren’t happy. So far, polls are being taken and some of the names being seen as the biggest snubs are Drew Brees, Dez Bryant, Richard Sherman, Andrew Luck, Mike Pouncey, and Jairus Byrd.
Throughout both sides of the league, numerous other players were named to the Pro Bowl rosters for the first time, just like RG3, Dawson, and Walsh.
The AFC saw first-time vote-ins for tackle Duane Brown and guard Wade Smith of Houston; safety LaRon Landry of the Jets; kick returner Jacoby Jones of Baltimore; and punter Dustin Colquitt of Kansas City.
Over in the NFC, first-time Pro Bowlers include Giants WR Victor Cruz; Atlanta WR Julio Jones; Seattle tackle Russell Okung and center Max Unger; San Francisco guard Mike Iupati, linebacker NaVorro Bowman and safety Donte Whitner; Chicago cornerback Tim Jennings and defensive tackle Henry Melton; Washington tackle Trent Williams and special teamer Lorenzo Alexander; Minnesota fullback Jerome Felton; Tampa Bay DT Gerald McCoy; and New Orleans punter Thomas Morstead.
Peyton Manning was named starting quarterback for the AFC while Aaron Rodgers of the Packers will start at quarterback for the NFC.
Many believe that this may be the final year that the Pro Bowl is even played, but that is still up for much discussion. If this year’s contest at the end of January is as non-competitive and seen as nothing to even care about, then you can be sure that the gathering of the NFL’s best will be no more.
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.