NFL Pro Bowl 2012: Game Preview

HONOLULU - JANUARY 30: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints passes against the American Football Conference team during the 2011 NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium on January 30 2011 in Honolulu Hawaii. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

Official NFL Release

NFL STARS TAKE CENTER STAGE AS 2012 PRO BOWL

KICKS OFF SUPER BOWL WEEK

The NFL's best will be in the spotlight on Sunday, January 29 (7:00 PM ET, NBC) as the 2012 Pro Bowl kicks off Super Bowl Week.

The NFL All-Star Game will take place once again at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii and will be the signature event to start the week leading up to Super Bowl XLVI between the New England Patriots and New York Giants in Indianapolis (Sunday, February 5, NBC).

"Being selected to represent the NFC team in the Pro Bowl is a tremendous honor," says New Orleans Saints tight end JIMMY GRAHAM. "I think any guy who gets named to the Pro Bowl realizes that it's a heck of a compliment and I am grateful and humbled by it."

For the third consecutive year, the Pro Bowl will be played the week before the Super Bowl. The 2011 Pro Bowl on FOX was watched by an average of 13.4 million viewers, the most for a Pro Bowl since 1997 (13.5 million viewers), making it the most-watched All-Star game of any sport since 2009.

Last year, the NFC tied a single-game Pro Bowl scoring record by defeating the AFC 55-41 (the NFC also scored 55 points in 2004). Washington Redskins cornerback DE ANGELO HALL was named the MVP of the 2011 Pro Bowl, notching an interception, returning a fumble 34 yards for a touchdown and posting six solo tackles. The 2012 game is the 42nd between the AFC and NFC All-Stars with the NFC holding a slight edge in the all-time series, 21-20.

The 43-man teams are comprised of 21 offensive and 17 defensive players plus five specialists, including a long snapper. The AFC All-Star team will be led by GARY KUBIAK and the coaches from the Houston Texans while MIKE

MC CARTHY and the Green Bay Packers' coaching staff will guide the NFC Pro Bowl squad.

The San Francisco 49ers lead the NFL with nine players selected to the 2012 Pro Bowl - kicker DAVID AKERS, safety DASHON GOLDSON, running back FRANK GORE, punter ANDY LEE, long snapper BRIAN JENNINGS, cornerback CARLOS ROGERS, defensive end JUSTIN SMITH, tackle JOE STALEY and linebacker PATRICK WILLIS.

The NFL is the only professional sports league that combines voting by fans, coaches and players in determining its All-Star teams. The consensus vote of each group counts one-third towards the total. Each team submits two ballots - those of the coach and the players with no one permitted to vote for a player on his own team. This year, over 100 million fan votes were cast on NFL.com and mobile devices.

Under terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each player on the winning Pro Bowl team receives $50,000, while each player on the losing squad earns $25,000.

The Pro Bowl was held consecutively from 1980 to 2009 at Honolulu's Aloha Stadium, moved to Sun Life Stadium in South Florida in 2010 and then returned to Hawaii in 2011.

Fans can purchase tickets to the 2012 Pro Bowl at www.NFL.com/probowl or www.ticketmaster.com.

2012 AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE ALL-STARS

(Starters listed in Bold)

(Non-participating players listed in Italics)

(* Replacing non-participating player)

(+ Need player selected by head coach)

OFFENSE

WIDE RECEIVERS

TIGHT ENDS

A.J. Green, Cincinnati

Antonio Gates, San Diego

*

Vincent Jackson, San Diego

*

Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati

Brandon Marshall, Miami

Rob Gronkowski, New England

Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh

Wes Welker, New England

QUARTERBACKS

Tom Brady, New England

TACKLES

*

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati

*

Ryan Clady, Denver

Philip Rivers, San Diego

D'Brickashaw Ferguson, New York Jets

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh

Jake Long, Miami

Joe Thomas, Cleveland

RUNNING BACKS

Arian Foster, Houston

GUARDS

Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville

*

Ben Grubbs, Baltimore

*

Ryan Mathews, San Diego

Logan Mankins, New England

*

Willis McGahee, Denver

*

Brandon Moore, New York Jets

Ray Rice, Baltimore

Brian Waters, New England

Marshal Yanda, Baltimore

FULLBACK

Vonta Leach, Baltimore

CENTERS

Nick Mangold, New York Jets

*

Chris Myers, Houston

Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh


DEFENSE

ENDS

INSIDE/MIDDLE LINEBACKERS

Andre Carter, New England

Ray Lewis, Baltimore

Elvis Dumervil, Denver

Derrick Johnson, Kansas City

Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis

*

Antonio Smith, Houston

CORNERBACKS

Champ Bailey, Denver

INTERIOR LINEMAN

Johnathan Joseph, Houston

*

Geno Atkins, Cincinnati

Darrelle Revis, New York Jets

Haloti Ngata, Baltimore

Richard Seymour, Oakland

STRONG SAFETY

Vince Wilfork, New England

*

Brian Dawkins, Denver

Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

Tamba Hali, Kansas City

FREE SAFTIES

James Harrison, Pittsburgh

Ed Reed, Baltimore

Von Miller, Denver

Eric Weddle, San Diego

Terrell Suggs, Baltimore


SPECIALISTS

PUNTER

KICK RETURN SPECIALIST

Shane Lechler, Oakland

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh

PLACEKICKER

SPECIAL TEAMER

Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland

*

Montell Owens, Jacksonville

Matthew Slater, New England

LONG SNAPPER

+

Jon Condo, Oakland

2012 NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE ALL-STARS

(Starters listed in Bold)

(Non-participating players listed in Italics)

(* Replacing non-participating player)

(+ Need player selected by head coach)

OFFENSE

WIDE RECEIVERS

TIGHT ENDS

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona

Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta

Greg Jennings, Green Bay

Jimmy Graham, New Orleans

Calvin Johnson, Detroit

Steve Smith, Carolina

QUARTERBACKS

*

Roddy White, Atlanta

Drew Brees, New Orleans

Eli Manning, New York Giants

TACKLES

*

Cam Newton, Carolina

Jermon Bushrod, New Orleans

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay

Jason Peters, Philadelphia

Joe Staley, San Francisco

RUNNING BACKS

Matt Forté, Chicago

GUARDS

Frank Gore, San Francisco

Jahri Evans, New Orleans

LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia

Davin Joseph, Tampa Bay

Carl Nicks, New Orleans

FULLBACK

John Kuhn, Green Bay

CENTERS

*

Michael Robinson, Seattle

Ryan Kalil, Carolina

Scott Wells, Green Bay


DEFENSE

DEFENSIVE ENDS

INSIDE/MIDDLE LINEBACKERS

Jared Allen, Minnesota

*

London Fletcher, Washington

Jason Babin, Philadelphia

Brian Urlacher, Chicago

Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants

Patrick Willis, San Francisco

*

Julius Peppers, Chicago

CORNERBACKS

INTERIOR LINEMEN

*

Brandon Browner, Seattle

B.J. Raji, Green Bay

Carlos Rogers, San Francisco

Jay Ratliff, Dallas

Charles Tillman, Chicago

Justin Smith, San Francisco

Charles Woodson, Green Bay

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

STRONG SAFETY

Lance Briggs, Chicago

Adrian Wilson, Arizona

*

Chad Greenway, Minnesota

Clay Matthews, Green Bay

FREE SAFTIES

DeMarcus Ware, Dallas

*

Kam Chancellor, Seattle

Dashon Goldson, San Francisco

Earl Thomas, Seattle


SPECIALISTS

PUNTER

KICK RETURN SPECIALIST

Andy Lee, San Francisco

Patrick Peterson, Arizona

PLACEKICKER

SPECIAL TEAMER

David Akers, San Francisco

Corey Graham, Chicago

LONG SNAPPER

+

Brian Jennings, San Francisco

WHAT TO LOOK FOR - 2012 PRO BOWL

HIGH SCORE: It has been a banner year for offenses across the National Football League, thanks in part to high-flying passing attacks led by some of the game's best quarterbacks. The 2012 NFC Pro Bowl roster will feature two record-setting QBs - Green Bay's AARON RODGERSled the NFL with a 122.5 passer rating, a single-season NFL best, while New Orleans' DREW BREES' 5,476 passing yards surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO's record for passing yards in a season.

The 2012 Pro Bowl will also be the first in series history to feature two rookie quarterbacks, CAM NEWTON of Carolina (NFC) and ANDY DALTON of Cincinnati (AFC).

Other quarterbacks taking part in the game include BEN ROETHLISBERGER of Pittsburgh, who will get the starting nod for the AFC, andPHILIP RIVERS of San Diego, who became the third quarterback in NFL history to pass for 4,000+ yards in four consecutive seasons (Brees,PEYTON MANNING).

High scores have been a recent trend at the Pro Bowl. In fact, the eight highest combined scores in Pro Bowl history have all occurred since 2000, including 96 points last year, the second-highest in Pro Bowl history.

The highest combined scores in Pro Bowl history:

YEAR

WINNER (PTS.)

LOSER (PTS.)

TOTAL POINTS

2004

NFC (55)

AFC (52)

107

2011

NFC (55)

AFC (41)

96

2000

NFC (51)

AFC (31)

82

2010

AFC (41)

NFC (34)

75

2008

NFC (42)

AFC (30)

72

2002

AFC (38)

NFC (30)

68

2003

AFC (45)

NFC (20)

65

2005

AFC (38)

NFC (27)

65

NFL NETWORK'S LIVE COVERAGE FEATURES PRO BOWL RECORD-HOLDER: Seven-time Pro Bowler and Pro Football Hall of FamerMARSHALL FAULK is joined by FRAN CHARLES and TOM WADDLE on-location in Hawaii for NFL Network's live coverage of AFC and NFC practices on Thursday from 2:30-5:30 PM ET and Saturday from 1:30-3:30 PM ET. Practice coverage includes interviews with All-Star players and coaches.

The trio returns on Sunday at 4:00 PM ET for the live three-hour NFL Total Access: Pro Bowl Pregame which leads up to the 7:00 PM ET game time on NBC. Faulk earned 1995 Pro Bowl MVP honors as a Colts rookie when he set still-standing records for rushing yards (180), longest run from scrimmage (49 yards) and yards per carry (13.9, min. 10 attempts).


ELDER STATESMAN: Two of the most frequent participants in Pro Bowl history have made the trip to Honolulu once again in 2012: Atlanta tight end TONY GONZALEZ and Denver cornerback CHAMP BAILEY are each poised to play in their 11th career Pro Bowl, which will tie for the third-most in since 1970.

Only Pro Football Hall of Famer RANDALL MC DANIEL and longtime Kansas City guard WILL SHIELDS, who both played in 12 Pro Bowls apiece, have more All-Star appearances during that span.

Gonzalez is also the all-time career Pro Bowl leader in the following categories: total touchdowns (six), receptions (42) and receiving yards (632). Bailey's four career Pro Bowl interceptions are tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer DEION SANDERS and EVERSON WALLS for the most in the game's history.


The players with the most Pro Bowl games played since 1971:

PLAYER

YEARS

PRO BOWLS

Randall McDaniel

Minnesota, 1990-2000; Tampa Bay, 2001

12

Will Shields

Kansas City, 1996-2007

12

Champ Bailey

Washington, 2001-04; Denver, 2005-08, 2010-12

11

Tony Gonzalez*

Kansas City, 2000-01, 2003-09; Atlanta, 2011-12

11

Reggie White**

Philadelphia, 1987-93; Green Bay, 1994, 1996-97, 1999

11

Junior Seau*

San Diego, 1992-2002

11

Rod Woodson

Pittsburgh, 1990-95, 1997; Baltimore, 2000-02; Oakland, 2003

11

Lawrence Taylor

N.Y. Giants, 1982-1991

10

Ronnie Lott

San Francisco, 1982-85, 1987-91; L.A. Raiders 1992

10

Mike Singletary

Chicago, 1984-1993

10

Bruce Matthews****

Houston, 1989-95, 1997; Tennessee, 2000, 2002

10

Jerry Rice***

San Francisco, 1987-88, 1990-94,1996, 1999; Oakland, 2003

10

Peyton Manning*

Indianapolis, 2000-01, 2003-09, 2011

10

*Also selected, but did not play, in one additional game

**Also selected, but did not play, in two additional games

***Also selected but did not play, in three additional games

****Also selected, but did not play in four additional games


ALL HAIL THE "U": Seven players named to the 2012 Pro Bowl roster played collegiately at the University of Miami (FL), more than any other college program.

Below is a breakdown of schools with at least four players named to the 2012 Pro Bowl squads:

COLLEGE

2012 PRO BOWL PLAYERS

NO.

Miami

RB Frank Gore, TE Jimmy Graham, RB Willis McGahee, C Chris Myers, LB Ray Lewis, DT Vince Wilfork, S Ed Reed

7

Auburn

QB Cam Newton, G Ben Grubbs, DT Jay Ratliff, CB Carlos Rogers

4

Georgia

WR A.J. Green, CB Champ Bailey, DT Richard Seymour, DT Geno Atkins

4

Pittsburgh

CB Darrelle Revis, WR Larry Fitzgerald, P Andy Lee, RB LeSean McCoy

4


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