Seven of 49ers’ eight Pro Bowlers decline to attend

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Being selected to the Pro Bowl is an honor to which every NFL player aspires. Actually playing in the Pro Bowl? Many NFL players view that as more trouble than it’s worth.

No team better exemplifies that than the 49ers, who had eight players chosen when the NFL first released the list of 2014 Pro Bowlers. But by the time the Pro Bowl is actually played on Sunday, only one of those eight will actually be there.

Matt Maiocco of reports that 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks still plans to play in the Pro Bowl, which will be the first of his eight-year career. But the rest of the 49ers’ Pro Bowlers are either injured (linebacker NaVorro Bowman and guard Mike Iupati) or have decided that they’d rather have some time off (tackle Joe Staley, running back Frank Gore, defensive lineman Justin Smith, linebacker Patrick Willis and tight end Vernon Davis).

The NFL is looking for new ways to make the Pro Bowl more interesting for the fans. But for many players, at the end of a long season, the last thing they want to do is put their bodies at risk in a meaningless exhibition game.

109 responses to “Seven of 49ers’ eight Pro Bowlers decline to attend

  1. Pro Bowl sucks they should completely do away with it. Players even think it sucks… just like the pre-season.

  2. Don’t blame them at all. Get the point. No one cares about the Pro Bowl. Get rid of it.

  3. That’s the ole if the tree falls in the forest does it make a sound….nobody watches the Pro bowl so the effect of players not attending is inconsequential.

  4. I have nothing against this at all as a 49ers fan. They have had a long bruising season, that ended in a Clash of the Titans against Seahawks that came down to the last 30 seconds. They should take a well deserved break instead of playing in a meaningless boring Pro Bowl game. The Navarro Bowman injury looks like it sort of deflated them also. They have had one goal and one goal only the past 3 seasons and that’s Super Bowl or nothing

  5. They’re emotionally hurt. They thought an 8 game win streak would automatically put them into the SB.

    If you don’t want to play in the pro bowl, then give back any bonus’s you received.

    That should be a rule….Don’t accept money for something you’re not going to participate in.

  6. I don’t think the ProBowl is anything special or fun to watch but what poor sports. They get paid to play football and they are being honored and just because they lost in the playoffs and didn’t make the Super Bowl now they just want to whine and pout.

  7. The Pro Bowl is the least interesting event on television every year. Don’t blame them. Let them play laser tag or something.

  8. I bet Goodell tries to step and force them to play or try to fine the team. Wouldn’t surprise me one bit. Pro Bowl only excite non-playoff team players that’s their only accomplishments. Niners want that 6th Super Bowl.

  9. Can’t the brain truct at the NFL figure out what is apparent to most of us on here, as well as just about everyone else.

  10. Sad, maybe fans should top spending money then if the guys are being selfish….FYI, the pre-season is important. Typical lame SF fans

  11. Maybe they’re worried that the same officials who screwed them in the NFC Championship game will be working the Pro Bowl.

  12. First year ever, half the probowlers are backing out. Trent Richardson and Christian ponder might make the squad by game time

  13. Bring back and TELEVISE the skills competition and do away with the pro bowl. Players don’t want to play in a meaningless touch football game at the end of the season and no one wants to watch it. However a free trip to Hawaii where you don’t have to practice or learn anything would be a different story. Accuracy contests and furthest throw for the QBs, agility/obstacle courses and 40yd dash for the WRs, CBs and RBs. Bench press for the lineman and linebackers. People would watch that kind of stuff. As long as you’re stealing the NHLs all-star weekend ideas you might as well go all out and take them all.

  14. It’s a boring game. If Sherman available he would most certainly would go. A chance to remind everyone he is the best cornerback in the world. A perfect platform for narcissistic ego-manic who will end up with a reality show that nobody cares about.

  15. Considering how many “pro-bowl” players *choose* not to actually play there, maybe when they decline to play (except for those that are truely unable to play due to real injuries), they should also forfeit any pro-bowl bonus in their contracts

  16. These guys have been worn down by a full season and three tough road playoff game’s. Physically and mentally drained. Just name All-Pro team’s and get rid of this game.

  17. Don’t watch and wouldn’t notice if they played anyway. The probowl is B-O-R-I-N-G and a waste of time to watch.

    Turn it on, count your favorite teams helmets and turn it off.

  18. I have been a huge advocate of keeping the Pro Bowl in the past, but I’m now changing my tone. Get rid of it and just recognize players as being “All Stars” or however you want to word it. It is embarrassing when the entire rosters are second tier reserves. The lost the AFC NFC thing, had it outside of Hawaii, have it before the Superbowl. They tried to make so many changes, because they felt they could make more profits, but honestly, It is just damaged now. It is a joke. Give the recognition and rid the game.

  19. Change the contract rules. In order to get the bonus associated with getting selected for the pro bowl, the player must actually attend and play in the pro bowl. Too many of these guys back out for no reason. If they can’t play due to injury, oh well. They wouldn’t get many season stats driven bonuses if they went on IR during the season. Why should this be any different? The players are simply gaming the system. They take their bonus and then clear a spot so some other guy can replace him and get a bonus also. The NFL could easily stop it but the PC police would call foul.

  20. I’m sure they are pretty bitter about the reffing on Sunday… and maybe a bit spooked by major injuries to two key players. So while on its face it’s kind of a douchey response, I can understand.

    Props to Brooks for following through and I hope he has a great trip and a safe game.

  21. It’s also a sign of a good coach. The 49ers only identify with team success and disregard individual achievements. I remember Harbaugh didn’t even want his coach of the year award. He sent Alex Smith to
    Collect it.

  22. There’s a solution to this problem. The league ought to suspend for one game any player who refuses to play in the Pro Bowl and has not been found, by a doctor named by the league, physically unable to play.

  23. Scrap it. It’s awful to watch.

    Just play the Senior Bowl in Hawaii, fly the Pro Bowlers out there and have them sit in the stands and enjoy the game.

  24. Outside of bonuses for making the probowl, I don’t think the players would miss it at all. The only think keeping the NFL from getting rid of it is the fact some people will still watch it.

    I wish they would get rid of the game and add some other games with meaning. I don’t want more teams in the playoffs, but make some of the teams that didn’t make it play a small tournament for the top draft pick or for more cap space the next year. Nobody cares about a game between the Texans and Jags in December because there was no incentive to win, but with something to play for it will get treated like a real game, certainly it would be more interesting than the probowl.

  25. NFL may be #1 sport in America but it’s Pro Bowl has to rank at the bottom of all star game rankings. Absolutely worthless & not entertaining.

  26. I use to think it was ungrateful for players not to show but I have evolved into thinking that the players should have the option not to go. There are a number of changes whose time has come. Drop the Pro Bowl and drop the extra point and leave in the 2 point conversion. Change the pick play rule to what it is in basketball. Change PI to a 15 yard penalty and an automatic first down.

  27. Can’t blame these guys for not going.

    The League ref’s made a bad call on the Bowman fumble recovery that could have cost them the game, and now the League wants these 49ers to go out and put on a show to make the League more money, one week later?

  28. Lol now the probowl “sucks” and it should be rid of. The last probowl article Brady was bashed for not attending. Like I’ve said, commenters on this site are bipolar.

  29. If we want to get rid of the probowl, all the dopey fans who tune it have to stop watching. It still gets decent ratings.

  30. They should have a game with guys that were undrafted or practice squad players. That would get the coaches attention, the fans attention, and the players would be playing hard to earn a spot on a team.

    It really is that simple IMHO

  31. Scrap it. If players can op out (and quite a few whom I would actually attend to see play have) then just scrap it altogether.

    Not to mention, changing the team make ups this year to a draft style, a la fantasy football, is insulting.

  32. Before the SB makes no sense, players don’t play all out, majority of players don’t even show up, fans don’t seem to care if the Pro Bowl goes away… Where’s the win in this situation?

  33. Get rid of the probowl and just annouce the probowl roster. This way undeserving players get to probowl and are called probowl players which they are not!

  34. More of a reflection of their coach. Bully gets punched in the mouth and then they take their ball and go home.

    Classless behavior from a team with a classless coach.

    And it was sooooooo fitting that his arch-enemy put his @ss out of the Super Bowl hunt. LOL

  35. Thats what a butt kicking at the hands fo a physical team will do to you….these guys can barely walk

  36. would the players that are in the conference games and the awards show in New York have to finish the conference game, fly home, fly to hawaii, play that game, fly to new york, go to awards ceremony.

    And all that for something that gets lower ratings then Marty Stottenhiemer a football life?

    I have never seen a pro bowl. Been watching NFL since the early 90s.

  37. “They have had one goal and one goal only the past 3 seasons and that’s Super Bowl or nothing.”

    — And they have nothing.

    Small team, small coach, small accomplishments, equals small contingent.

  38. Goodell got what he wanted, he kept the leagues best team(49ers) out of the super bowl. I’m tired of these lame refs messing up our game. The niners were screwed, to make matters worse those scum fans in seadderall threw trash and beer on bowman. I will be rooting for the broncos, but i should be rooting for the 49ers if it wasnt for goodell and his mafia.

  39. Take it and turn it into an awards ceremony for the All-Pro’s, announce the ROY’s and MVP and all the other awards, have it two weeks after the Super Bowl. Keep it in Hawaii with all the same perks, just no game to play in. Show highlights of every player who made the All-Pro team whether they are there or not.

    I realized the Pro-Bowl was a travesty when Vince Young made it as a 6th alternate one year.

    If my job beat me up like their job does, I wouldn’t want to take a vacations just to be told to go do my job again while on vacation with my family, no matter how much I could screw off while doing that job.

    This way you can honor the best of the best that season and still let them heal so we can cheer for them to destroy their bodies next season.

  40. Worthless, unwatchable game for decades.
    I’ve said for years they should just announce the All-Pro players and give them a free trip to Hawaii with their families – skip the stupid game.

    Most years it’s the 6th and 7th best QB competing in it.

  41. With the rash of non-49er players not wanting to play in the pro bowl, I think it is time to end the game and then just to announce the winners and to cut their prize money in half.

    This game is a complete joke with every day there seeming to be another player being added because someone won’t play in the game.

  42. No way that NFL salvages this game, even given the new format geared to make it a fun view……..I can’t envision any way to change it so that it becomes viable. Time to award the pro bowlers with titles only and do away with the game.

  43. The pro-bowl really sucks. If a WR can score 5 TDs in a pro-bowl then how did the DBs who allowed these 5 TDs ever make the team? Because its only show theres no hitting, no blitzing, no nothing,,,so why play the damn thing, people don’t watch it, Ive never watched a pro-bowl and I survived. ITs really nothing more then a “show-off” contest.

  44. You mean the rare honor of being “drafted” by and hanging out with Deion Sanders wasn’t enough to lure these guys to Hawaii? Who woulda thunk it?

  45. Only way the pro bowl goes away is if people like you who say they won’t watch but secretly do actually DONT WATCH.

  46. I agree with the point made above. if these guys are too good to go to the Pro Bowl, then they are too good to get the bonus. or if they get selected and aren’t injured and just decide to cry at home then they should be fined the amount they were going to receive. Why have people vote if the players are not going to participate?

  47. Players need to be recognized for their ability. So, they need to named to the “Pro Bowel” without playing a meaningless game.

  48. Roger and everyone that makes these decisions should make the Pro Bowl the traveling game and move it back to after the Super Bowl.

    Nobody wants to see the runner ups play. 9ers were sending 8. Now they’re sending 1. And who can blame the healthy players for declining when two of their Teammates are out due to injury from playing in the Championship game?

    A) They don’t feel like playing after the disappointing Loss.

    B) The game has lost the camaraderie that it used to have.

    Goodell ruins everything that he has his fingerprints on and I think that the Players and Fans are sick of his act.

    He’s talking about doing away with the extra point too for Pete’s sake.

    I wish these people would stop trying to reinvent the wheel.

    Stick to the Officials. Fix those jerkoffs and stop messing with the rules and the game. It’s pathetic!

  49. NO ONE threw beer and garbage at Bowman. It was literally a hand-full of popcorn. Was it inappropriate? Yes. But to full on make up outright lies like that is just ridiculous. Why wouldn’t these guys not want a free, all expenses paid trip to Hawaii?! That’s probably exactly what they need…a little fun in the sun and relaxation after a hard fought season. They’re only pulling out now after embarrassing themselves for saying the Hawks would be playing in the Probowl and not them.

  50. Every year I say I’m going to watch it, but never do. It is so bad. I want football so much, but that’s not football. It’s not entertaining.

    But at least it gives me an excuse to throw down a couple beers.

  51. I’ve been saying it for three years… I want to see them play golf. I really would love to see some of these 350 pounders swinging clubs. They could make it a big charity event, good publicity, etc.s

  52. Don’t worry haters, you will soon see the 49ers show up when it counts in a few months. The Pro Bowl should just be a bonus $$$ and a media event non contact skills competition . I would love to see the officials sitting on a dunking stool and having the players have at it.

  53. Brooks – Healthy and on the way

    Iupati – Broken leg
    Staley – Broken finger
    Gore – Broken finger (Surgery)
    Bowman – Duh
    J. Smith – Shoulder (Injury report)

    Willis – not sure/elected not to go
    V. Davis – not sure/elected not to go

  54. 18 regular season games, expand the playoffs so everyone makes it, then the probowl. YEAH!!! More is better

  55. I’ve never understood why some people get so worked up about the Pro Bowl and angrily demand that it is canceled or eliminated. I mean, I’m not planning to watch it although I guess there’s a chance I’ll catch a few minutes. But regardless, it’s no skin off my back if they continue to have the game. If you think it’s boring or a waste of time, just find something else to do. It’s not like they’re holding it in lieu of some other more interesting event or game.

  56. Make the Pro bowl an award ceremony. Play clips of the players, hand out awards, and collect the tv revenue. Like the Grammys or Oscars, etc.

  57. ProBowl was kinda fun to watch when it was a couple of weeks AFTER the SuperBowl. Gave us a little more football to look forward to. Now it is between the last playoff game and the SB, and any players that are SB bound cannot attend anyway. Move it back to the middle of February and see what happens. For now, it is a waste of time.

  58. This isn’t it reflection on the Pro Bowl, though my personal opinion is that it’s a joke, but more on the fact that each one of the players listed above is either injured or is recovering from one. Bowman can’t walk, Gore broke his finger, and Staley also broke his thumb. As for the others, I’m sure they are dealing with their own injuries, and the focus should be on getting well for next year, when games actually matter.

  59. Last time I watched the pro bowl was 1995. Barry Switzer was coaching the came from the players’ bench eating hot dogs and shooting the Breeze with players.

  60. I haven’t watched the pro bowl in 20 years. Won’t watch it this year either.

    Could they make it any worse? Allowing Sanders to flaunt his ego this year is going to kill it off for

  61. Why don’t you have the Pro Bowl before the regular season. The league can pick two Super Bowl sites, one AFC city, one NFC city and whichever conference wins, that city hosts the Super Bowl. That could be used as incentive.


  63. “With 12.2 million viewers, Pro Bowl wins night for NBC. Also wins night in HH rating (7.1) & P18-49. Most-watched all-star gm in past 12 mos” -NBC Sports PR, 1/29/13

  64. The NFL will not get rid of the game because of TV Broadcast Rights, Ad Money, Jersey Sales, Product Endorsements, and it keeps people talking about the NFL. The player association needs the game as a way for elite players to get paid on escalator clauses bonuses for getting nominated.

  65. things id rather watch than the pro bowl:

    cooking with rachel ray
    mr belvedere marathon
    time life presents folk singers of the 70s collection advertisement
    weather channel
    saturday morning cartoons
    local used car dealership spot with crazy salesman in gorilla suit

  66. “Outrage! How could players who played 3 more games than the majority of the league want to rest up their bodies?! After a devestating loss to their biggest rival on the NFL’s biggest stage, why wouldnt they want to participate in a completely meaningless game?!?”

    -Signed, all disgrunteld fans of teams who got beat by the 49ers this year, disgruntled Ravens and Steelers fans who cant handle not being in the post season, or Seattle fans who think that Sunday was the Superbowl.

    Ay ay ay people.

  67. I’ve said this in other posts but I’ll say it here too. Have every team play for 9 weeks, or however many weeks there are from week 1 to the first week in November. Then play the Pro Bowl the second Sunday in November. Then everyone has the third weekend in November off. (College football would then be incintivized to move the big rivalry games from Thanksgiving weekend to the 3rd weekend, playing some on Saturday and some on Sunday.) Then the NFL season resumes on Thanksgiving and everyone plays each weekend. Also, the players bonuses for being named to the Pro Bowl are replaced with bonuses for PLAYING in the Pro Bowl.

    The players get 2 weeks at midseason to rest, or 1 if they are in the Pro Bowl, which they now have a financial incentive to play in. The game becomes higher quality with the truly best players playing in it, making it more watchable. It’s in midseason like all the other sports. Everybody wins.

  68. To all the commenters who say that the NFL should withhold the Pro Bowl bonus from players who fail to attend: Go ahead. It won’t change anything. The winning team gets $50K per player and the losing team gets $25K per player. Do you really think that a veteran player cares about what to them is chump change? Heck, the NFL fines some players more than that on a weekly basis. You withhold the bonus from the top players, you’re still going to get the 2nd and 3rd alternates showing up. Cancel the game and have a skills competition, or just don’t do anything at all.

  69. The only players who will commit to tackling as well as breaking tackles are the unproven. I like how they got the historics involved this year, have two historic captains select teams from the rookie class and give these guys another chance to shine. also the historics should lace em up… that I would watch.

  70. Pro Bowl is a worthless event. Like a bunch of kids playing a practice game. Two years ago, they did a drop kick for the extra point. What a joke!

  71. I agree that the pro Bowl is useless and should be discontinued. But with that said it’s not and part of the NFL and until they remove it the players who are voted by the fans owe it to them to show up unless they are injured. I am sure they get compound ayes well for being there. If they don’t show they should be Fined and suspended the 1st game of the next season. Nothing worse then getting rich off of your fans then shun your noses at them. I don’t know who is worse Sherman or these clowns

  72. 100% Agree with posts saying to bring back and televise the Skills Competition. I like the Pro Bowl, and I like that they threw in the draft thing, but the Skills Comp was always my favorite part of the weekend. It’s my favorite part of the NHL All-Star weekend. I’m not sure what kind of ratings it got back when they were doing it, but I would think it would be a smart move.

  73. Totally disrespectful to the fans that voted you in. If you’re too good to go, then remove yourself from eligibility to begin with. And I hope the award does not remain on their stats/records.

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