The NFL has announced the rosters for the upcoming Pro Bowl (January 29, 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii) and these are the San Francisco 49ers that are on the NFC team.
- K David Akers (6th time)
- P Andy Lee (3rd time)
- RB Frank Gore (3rd time)
- CB Carlos Rogers (1st time)
- S Dashon Goldson (1st time)
- LB Patrick Willis (5th time)
- LT Joe Staley (1st time)
- DE Justin Smith (3rd time)
This is a pretty strong list of representatives for the 49ers with some expected names. The eight selections are tied with the New Englad Patriots for the most this season.
Patrick Willis, Justin Smith and Andy Lee were all top fan vote-getters prior to the votes from players and coaches last week and all three are having fantastic seasons.
Willis is continually playing at a high level despite missing the last few games with a hamstring injury. He has been a staple in the Pro Bowl since his rookie year and now is going to his fifth straight Pro Bowl to start his career — a franchise first.
Smith had been in the early conversation as a potential MVP candidate and he has anchored the strong 49ers defensive line. His ability to take on double teams has helped the 49ers produce one of the most dominant run defenses. Plus, his late-game heroics against the Eagles and Giants have helped solidify the 49ers’ rise.
Lee is having one of the best punting seasons the league has seen in some time. Consistently, he has been giving the 49ers a great advantage in the field position battle and his performance against the Steelers last week may be on of the single-game performances of any punter in recent memory.
Carlos Rogers has been a breath of fresh air for the 49ers as he leads the team with six interceptions (second best in the league). His presence on the field after his exodus from Washington has elevated the 49ers’ secondary and has given the defense a new identity. Rogers has been one of the top free agent pickups the team has made in a long time and he deserves a spot as a starter.
Joe Staley has had his ups and downs this year but his consistent play in opening up holes for the running game has earned him a spot as a starter.
David Akers makes his sixth Pro Bowl as he is playing through his best season of his career. He has already set an NFL season record of 42 made field goals and has set the franchise’s season scoring record with 153 points. His reliability has helped the 49ers reach an impresive 12-3 record.
Frank Gore makes his third Pro Bowl in what looks to be his best season since his first Pro Bowl season in 2006. Gore had a stretch of five straight games of 100 yards rushing and he has been able to lift up the 49ers running game into a serious threat.
Dashon Goldson returned to the 49ers on a one-year contract and has made the most of it. Aside from big hits, his six interceptions has helped the 49ers prevent the big plays from the opposition. He is starting to emerge as a very reliable safety and he is being rewarded for his play this year.
There are 10 49ers that are alternates for the Pro Bowl should someone from the NFC roster not participate.
- LB NaVorro Bowman
- LB Ahmad Brooks
- ST Blake Costanzo
- TE Vernon Davis
- KR Ted Ginn
- C Jonathan Goodwin
- OG Mike Iupati
- DT Ray McDonald
- FB Bruce Miller
- S Donte Whitner.
Quarterback Alex Smith, whom head coach Jim Harbaugh said should be on the Pro Bowl roster, did not make it. Harbaugh said that along with Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, Smith is the third best quarterback in the conference. Eli Manning got the third and final spot on the NFC roster.
Rookie linebacker Aldon Smith did not make the Pro Bowl roster either — not even as an alternate. Because Smith was a not starter, he was not placed on the fan ballot and could only be voted by a fill-in. And also, Smith is listed as a defensive end and that position is filled with numerous players having tremendous seasons. Smith has 14 sacks this year and could break Jevon Kearse’s rookie sack record of 14.5 sacks set in 1999.
The 49ers are opening up a conference call to the Bay Area media to talk with the Pro Bowl selections. An updated report with quotes will come up later.