BY CHRIS ZADOROZNY
Another year in the NFL means another Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii. This year’s game will be held this Sunday, at 7:00 p.m. on NBC. With the New England Patriots and New York Giants in the Super Bowl the following weekend, their players who were voted into the game will obviously not play.
This year’s starters for the NFC offense are as follows: Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay); Running Back: LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia); Fullback: John Kuhn (Green Bay); Wide Receivers: Calvin Johnson (Detroit), Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona); Tight End: (Jimmy Graham); Tackles: Jason Peters (Philadelphia), Joe Staley (San Francisco); Guard: Jahri Evans (New Orleans), Carl Nicks (New Orleans); Center: Ryan Kalil (Carolina).
This year’s starters for the AFC offense are as follows: Quarterback: Tom Brady (New England); Running Back: Ray Rice (Baltimore); Fullback: Vonta Leach (Baltimore); Wide Receivers: Wes Welker (New England), Mike Wallace (Pittsburgh); Tight End: Rob Gronkowski (New England); Tackles: Joe Thomas (Cleveland), Jake Long (Miami); Guard: Logan Mankins (New England), Brian Waters (New England); Center: Maurkice Pouncey (Pittsburgh).
On the defensive side of the ball, the NFC starters include: Defensive End: Jared Allen (Minnesota), Jason Babin (Philadelphia); Interior Linemen: Justin Smith (San Francisco); Jay Ratliff (Dallas); Outside Linebacker: DeMarcus Ware (Dallas), Clay Matthews (Green Bay); Inside/Middle Linebacker: Patrick Willis (San Francisco); Cornerback: Charles Woodson (Green Bay), Carlos Rogers (San Francisco); Free Safety: Earl Thomas (Seattle); Strong Safety: Adrian Wilson (Arizona).
The AFC defensive starters are: Defensive End: Dwight Freeney (Indianapolis), Andre Carter (New England); Interior Linemen: Haloti Ngata (Baltimore), Vince Wilfork (New England); Outside Linebacker: Terrell Suggs (Baltimore), Von Miller (Denver); Inside/Middle Linebacker: Ray Lewis (Baltimore); Cornerback: Darrelle Revis (NY Jets), Champ Bailey (Denver); Free Safety: Ed Reed (Baltimore); Strong Safety: Troy Polamalu (Pittsburgh).
As you can guess, those who are with New England will not be participating in the Pro Bowl with the Super Bowl the following week. Brady will be replaced by Andy Dalton (Cincinnati), Welker by Vincent Jackson (San Diego), Gronkowski by Jermaine Gresham (Cincinnati), Mankins by Marshal Yanda (Baltimore), Wilfork by Geno Atkins (Cincinnati), and Waters by Brandon Moore (NY Jets).
The backups on the NFC Roster include: Eli Manning (New York Giants), who will be replaced by Cam Newton (Carolina), Drew Brees (New Orleans), Matt Forte (Chicago), Frank Gore (San Francisco), Steve Smith (Carolina), Greg Jennings (Green Bay), Tony Gonzalez (Atlanta), Jermon Bushrod (New Orleans), Davin Joseph (Tampa Bay), Scott Wells (Green Bay), B.J. Raji (Green Bay), Lance Briggs (Chicago), Brian Urlacher (Chicago), Charles Tillman (Chicago), Dashon Goldson (San Francisco), Andy Lee (San Francisco), David Akers (San Francisco), Patrick Peterson (Arizona), and Corey Graham (Chicago).
The rest of the AFC roster includes: Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh), Phillip Rivers (San Diego), Maurice-Jones Drew (Jacksonville), Arian Foster (Houston), A.J. Green (Cincinnati), Brandon Marshall (Miami), Antonio Gates (San Diego), Nick Mangold (NY Jets), Elvis Dumervil (Denver), Richard Seymour (Oakland), Tamba Hali (Kansas City), Derrick Johnson (Kansas City), Jonathon Joseph (Houston), Eric Weddle (San Diego), Shane Lechler (Oakland), Sebastian Janikowski (Oakland), Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh), Matthew Slater (New England), and Jon Condo (Oakland).
Michael Robinson will replace Kuhn, Roddy White will replace Johnson, Julius Peppers will replace Jason Pierre-Paul, Chad Green way will replace Briggs, London Fletcher will replace Urlacher, Ryan Matthews will replace Ray Rice, Willis McGahee will replace Foster, Ryan Clady will replace Long, Chris Myers will replace Pouncey, James Harrison will replace Suggs, and Brian Dawkins will replace Polamalu.
It should be an interesting affair this Sunday, as last year the NFC won 55-41. It’s more of an All-Star game than an interesting football game. It gives the players a chance to have fun without the fear of really getting hurt. Gary Kubiak, coach of the Houston Texans will coach the AFC, while Mike McCarthy of Green Bay will coach the NFC. The NFC barely leads the series 21-20. If you’re into the Pro Bowl, this should be fun to watch.