HONOLULU – Kansas City and San Francisco will have plenty of clout in Honolulu if they don’t make it to New Jersey for the Super Bowl.
The NFL revealed Friday that the Chiefs and 49ers each had eight players voted into the Pro Bowl, including running backs Jamaal Charles of Kansas City and Frank Gore of San Francisco.
Denver quarterback Peyton Manning was selected to his 13th Pro Bowl after receiving the most votes among fans, 1.43 million. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees was second among fans with 1.2 million votes.
The NFL combines votes from fans, players and coaches to determine 86 of 88 Pro Bowl players; the other two players are long-snappers selected by Pro Bowl coaches.
Under a new format this year, NFL greats Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will divvy up the players in a two-day draft before the Jan. 26 game. Offensive and defensive players with the most votes who don’t make it past the divisional playoff round will serve as active player captains.
Charles said Friday night on a reveal show on the NFL Network that he should be picked first.
“I think I got the best skill set of anybody on the roster,” Charles said. “I think I can play wide receiver and then put the ball in my hand, also. The only thing I can’t do is throw the ball.”
Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly said he’ll be fine wherever he’s picked.
“I don’t know, you got to get the guy who scores points,” he said.
The schoolyard-style selections mean it’s likely teammates will be forced to play on opposite sides. Players on the winning team will earn $53,000 while the losers will get $26,000.
San Francisco linebacker NaVorro Bowman said he thinks it would be weird to have to tackle Gore or tight end Vernon Davis.
“I might not tackle him,” Bowman said. “Just let him score and get his yards or whatever. Yeah, that’d be weird because that hasn’t happened since training camp.”
Rice and Sanders playfully bantered about possible selections, with Sanders saying he wanted players on his roster who haven’t been to many Pro Bowls.
“If you have five years or more, don’t even worry about it I’m not going to pick you,” Sanders said. “Go play for Jerry.”
Rice said later: “You’re trying to bait me — that’s not going to happen.”