NFL Pro Bowl 2011: 49ers, Raiders In The "Big Game"

The 2011 NFL Pro Bowl announced rosters today and the 49ers and Raiders were both well represented in spite of the fact that both teams will miss the playoffs and the 49ers won't even finish near .500. Both teams have a lot of talent on their rosters but it didn't quite come together in time for a playoff run. It even cost 49ers coach Mike Singletary his job. Nonetheless there were some positives for both teams as seen in their pro bowl selections.

The Oakland Raiders are currently 7-8 and looking for their first non-losing season since 2002. As expected, Shane Lechler was named the AFC punter. Additionally, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha joins Jets CB Darrelle Revis as a starting corner. Defensive tackle Richard Seymour became the first Raiders defensive tackle to make the Pro Bowl since Darrell Russell in 2000. He is not a starter but is the primary reserve behind Haloti Ngata and Vince Wilfork.

The 49ers send two starters to the Pro Bowl in the form of inside linebacker Patrick Willis and defensive end Justin Smith. Willis was named to the roster for the fourth straight year since being drafted, which equals Ronnie Lott in 49ers history. Smith is attending his second consecutive and second overall Pro Bowl. He's had an incredibly steady career in the shadows but has finally started getting the recognition he deserves as a beast on the 49ers defense.

While the Pro Bowl gets skewered fairly frequently for its value as a game, it is still an honor to be selected. It's not quite like being an All-Pro or MVP, but it's not a game that sees a majority of the league taking place. Over the coming weeks we'll take a look at each of the starters, as well as some potential snubs from both teams.

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