The San Francisco 49ers Year of Revival continued with the announcement that eight players were selected to the Pro Bowl, six of them starters. The six starters selected are kicker David Akers, punter Andy Lee, DL Justin Smith, CB Carlos Rogers, LB Patrick Willis and LT Joe Staley. The two reserves are RB Frank Gore and S Dashon Goldson. With six starters the 49ers matched a franchise record set in 1971 and the eight Pro Bowlers is the most since 1995 when the team had 10. The 49ers tied with the Patriots for most players sent to the Pro Bowl.
Niner fans have seen multiple validations this season their team is back from the abyss. Everything from winning four games in the Eastern Time zone, to pulling off eight straight wins and winning the NFC West. The 49ers Faithful should be proud. Hearing that eight 49ers were selected to the Pro Bowl was awesome but it was startling to hear the amount. The 49ers normally send just two or three players and have sent a total of eight in the last three seasons.
The selection of eight players as Pro Bowlers shows the 49ers are not the product of luck and good fortune, but of great ability and coaching. The talent has always been on the roster with the 49ers sending five players to the Pro Bowl in 2009. The thing missing was the right coaches who could not only coach up the players on the roster but also the free agents signed. That was accomplished by Jim Harbaugh and his coaches.
Akers is kicking like an MVP and setting kicking records each week. Rogers is a castoff who has revitalized his career with the 49ers with six interceptions. The six picks are tied for fourth in the NFL and are four more than he had in six seasons with Redskins. Staley and Goldson are first time Pro Bowl selections. Staley has led the way for the running game and Goldson was selected with 64 tackles and six interceptions. Before this season Goldson was known as only a hard hitting safety. This season under the Harbaugh regime, Goldson has become a complete safety who is feared not only for his hitting but also his coverage. Smith and Gore’s big play ability and workhorse mentality were rewarded. Lee and Willis played important parts in wins and are your token 49ers Pro Bowl selections. They are probably happy to have company on their trip to Hawaii.
Actually, let’s hope none of the 49ers get to play in the Pro Bowl because that would mean they are in Indianapolis playing in the Super Bowl. The ultimate validation for Niner fans. The Pro Bowl game is played the week before the Super Bowl.
Aldon Smith: With 35 tackles and 14 sacks in a limited role that mainly saw him in the game on passing downs, Smith’s snub was the biggest. The linebacker is one sack shy of breaking the rookie record for sacks in a season and will likely win Defensive Rookie of the Year. It’s a shame Smith was left off the Pro Bowl roster.
NaVorro Bowman: Entering the final game with 133 tackles and one sack, Bowman has shown he is more than qualified to go to the Pro Bowl. The linebacker played well in each game, on each play and led the defense when Willis was out.
Mike Iupati: Pulling on run plays and making important blocks, Iupati has been as consistent all season. The left guard is a big reason why the running game is so dominate.
Bruce Miller: Miller was snubbed by Packers fullback John Kuhn. Kuhn has the better stats but did not provide the devastating run blocking Miller did for his team.