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Number of Players Named to 2016 NFL Pro Bowl Further Dilutes NFL's All-Star Game

A record 135 players were named to the 2016 NFL Pro Bowl this season. Something needs to change to stop this from happening.

The 2016 NFL Pro Bowl will be played this Sunday, but nearly half of the 86 players who were originally voted into the Pro Bowl have declined to play in the game. There are a variety of reasons for this, including injuries, players simply not wanting to participate and players for the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos being unable to partake because they are fortunate enough to be playing in Super Bowl 50 the following week. There is also the possibility that even more players will decide to take a pass on playing in the NFL’s all-star game. All of this has led to alternates being named to the Pro Bowl and, at this point, 135 players have been named to the NFL’s all-star game this season. Repeat, 135.


A total of 86 NFL players were originally named to the Pro Bowl this season, but now an additional 49 players have been added to the Pro Bowl roster. Certain positions were hit especially hard by the “alternate bug,” especially quarterback, where Seattle Seahawks signal caller Russell Wilson is the only originally named quarterback to still be playing in the Pro Bowl.

Below this article are the players that the two captains, Michael Irvin and Jerry Rice, will be able to choose from when they “draft” their teams for the Pro Bowl. But the question is, will enough football fans even care? This season’s Pro Bowl will feature almost as many alternates (some are, admittedly, very deserving) as those who were originally voted to play in the league’s all-star game. This issue of players declining to play in the Pro Bowl will only get worse each season, and it is a problem that needs to be fixed.

There are 1,696 players in the NFL and, with the 135 who have now been named to the Pro Bowl, almost eight percent of the players in the league have been “selected” to participate in the league’s all-star game.

I previously wrote that the Pro Bowl should simply be a real flag football game (as opposed to the pseudo flag football game it is now). I still think that idea has merit and I stand by it. But would that be enough to get more players to want to play in the Pro Bowl? I don’t know, but something needs to be done in order to attract players to participate in the Pro Bowl. The Pro Bowl is supposed to feature the best of the best (except those playing the Super Bowl), but it is rapidly moving farther and farther away from the exclusive invitation that it is supposed to be.



Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks

Eli Manning – New York Giants (replaces Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers)

Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (replaces Tom Brady – New England Patriots)

Derek Carr – Oakland Raiders (replaces Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers)

Tyrod Taylor – Buffalo Bills (replaces Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers)

Teddy Bridgewater – Minnesota Vikings (replaces Carson Palmer – Arizona Cardinals)


 Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh Steelers

 DeAndre Hopkins – Houston Texans

Odell Beckham Jr. – New York Giants

A.J. Green – Cincinnati Bengals

Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons

T.Y. Hilton – Indianapolis Colts (replaces Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals)

Allen Robinson – Jacksonville Jaguars (replaces Calvin Johnson – Detroit Lions)

Amari Cooper – Oakland Raiders (replaces Brandon Marshall – New York Jets)


Tyler Eifert – Cincinnati Bengals

Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs

Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans (replaces Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers)

Gary Barnidge (Browns) – (Replaces Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots)


Todd Gurley – St. Louis (now Los Angeles) Rams

Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons

Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings

Latavius Murray – Oakland Raiders (replaces Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers)

Chris Ivory – New York Jets (replaces LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills)


Marcel Reece – Oakland Raiders

Patrick DiMarco – Atlanta Falcons (replaces Mike Tolbert – Carolina Panthers)


Alex Mack – Cleveland Browns

Travis Frederick – Dallas Cowboys

Eric Wood – Buffalo Bills (replaces Ryan Kalil – Carolina Panthers)

Nick Mangold – New York Jets (replaces Mike Pouncey – Miami Dolphins)


Joe Thomas – Cleveland Browns

Joe Staley – San Francisco 49ers

Andrew Whitworth – Cincinnati Bengals

Tyron Smith – Dallas Cowboys

Trent William – Washington Redskins

Kyle Long – Chicago Bears (replaces Jason Peters – Philadelphia Eagles)


Josh Sitton – Green Bay Packers

Zack Martin – Dallas Cowboys

Marshal Yanda – Baltimore Ravens

David DeCastro – Pittsburgh Steelers

Richie Incognito – Buffalo Bills (replaces Mike Iupati – Arizona Cardinals)

Logan Mankins – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (replaces Trai Turner – Carolina Panthers)



Richard Sherman – Seattle Seahawks

Marcus Peters – Kansas City Chiefs

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – New York Giants (replaces Malcolm Butler – New England Patriots)

Jason Verrett – San Diego Chargers (replaces Darrelle Revis – New York Jets)

Desmond Trufant – Atlanta Falcons (replaces Josh Norman – Carolina Panthers)

Vontae Davis – Indianapolis Colts (replaces Chris Harris Jr. – Denver Broncos)

Adam Jones – Cincinnati Bengals (replaces Patrick Peterson – Arizona Cardinals)

Brent Grimes – Miami Dolphins (replaces Aqib Talib – Denver Broncos)


Harrison Smith – Minnesota Vikings (replaces Earl Thomas – Seattle Seahawks)

Malcolm Jenkins – Philadelphia Eagles (replaces Tyrann Matieu – Arizona Cardinals)

Reshad Jones – Miami Dolphins (replaces Reggie Nelson – Cincinnati Bengals)


Charles Woodson – Oakland Raiders

Eric Berry – Kansas City Chiefs

Mike Adams – Indianapolis Colts (replaces Kam Chancellor – Seattle Seahawks)


Chandler Jones – New England Patriots

J.J. Watt – Houston Texans

Michael Bennett – Seattle Seahawks

Khalil Mack – Oakland Raiders

Ezekiel Ansah – Detroit Lions

Carlos Dunlap – Cincinnati Bengals (replaces Muhammad Wilkerson – New York Jets)


Calais Campbell – Arizona Cardinals

Geno Atkins – Cincinnati Bengals

Aaron Donald – St Louis (now Los Angeles) Rams

Gerald McCoy – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fletcher Cox – Philadelphia Eagles

Jurrell Casey – Tenessee Titans (replaces Kawann Short – Carolina Panthers)


Clay Matthews – Green Bay Packers

Bobby Wagner – Seattle Seahawks

Navorro Bowman – San Francisco 49ers

Derrick Johnson – Kansas City Chiefs (replaces Luke Kuechly – Carolina Panthers)


Tamba Hali – Kansas City Chiefs

Julius Peppers – Green Bay Packers (replaces Von Miller – Denver Broncos)

Anthony Barr – Minnesota Vikings (replaces Jamie Collins – New England Patriots)

Elvis Dumervil – Baltimore Ravens (replaces Thomas Davis – Carolina Panthers

LaVonte David – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (replaces DeMarcus Ware – Denver Broncos)

Sean Lee – Dallas Cowboys (replaces Justin Houston Chiefs)


Johnny Hekker – St. Louis (now Los Angeles) Rams

Sam Koch – Baltimore Ravens


Dan Bailey – Dallas Cowboys

Josh Brown – New York Giants (replaces Stephen Gostkowski – New England Patriots)


Tyler Lockett – Seattle Seahawks

Darren Sproles – Philadelphia Eagles


Justin Bethel – Arizona Cardinals

Cedric Peerman – Cincinnati Bengals (replaces Matthew Slater – New England Patriots)

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