The NFL announced the 2011 Pro Bowl rosters and the 49ers and Raiders were both well represented with Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Nnamdi Asomugha, Shane Lechler, and Richard Seymour. All five had standout seasons and are incredibly worthy of their Pro Bowl selections.
Both teams also had players announced as alternates. 49ers tight end Vernon Davis was selected as the first alternate at tight end behind Jason Witten and Tony Gonzalez. Running back Frank Gore was selected as the fifth alternate in spite of missing the final five weeks of the season with a hip injury. He won’t be able to participate in the game if his alternate number was called, but it’s still a worthy honor.
The Raiders had four alternates of their own. Kicker Sebastian Janiskowski, defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, running back Darren McFadden, and tight end Zach Miller were all selected as alternates, although there is no indication of what level of alternate each is.
Given the history of players dropping out of the Pro Bowl with injuries, at least one of the 49ers or Raiders alternates is likely going to be promoted to the team. Additionally, the Pro Bowl is now the week before the Super Bowl, which means two teams’ players will not be participating as they get ready for the real big game. Even though the Pro Bowl is returning to Hawaii, it mixed things up again this year by playing it on January 30, the week before the Super Bowl.