December 22, 2010: In what could shape up to be a preview of the battle for NFL MVP and, possibly, a preview of Super Bowl XLV, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady bested Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick as the overall vote-getter for the 2011 Pro Bowl.
For the second consecutive year, the Pro Bowl will be played the week before the Super Bowl. But, after staging the 2010 game at the same venue as the Super Bowl, Sun Life Stadium in Miami, the NFL has returned to its long-time venue in Hawaii. The 2011 Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011 and televised live on Fox from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.
Brady received 1,877,079 votes to Vick's 1,522,43, which was the most among all players in the National Football Conference. The Top Five overall vote-getters were all quarterbacks, also including Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts (1,130,399), Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers (1,039,618) and Drew Brees of the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints (971,731).
According to the NFL, a record 98.59 million votes were cast via NFL.com (89.52 million), wireless phones (8.5 million) and Facebook (570,000). The AFC and NFC All-Star squads are based on the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group's vote counts one-third towards determining the 43-man rosters that represent the American Football Conference and National Football Conference in the Pro Bowl. NFL players and coaches will cast their votes on December 22-23.
The teams will be unveiled Dec. 28 on NFL Network during a special NFL Total Access 2011 Pro Bowl Selection Show. However, as happened at the 2010 Pro Bowl, a number of the players who were selected to play in the game but also were members of the two Super Bowl team declined to participate.
Vick had been leading in fan balloting through Dec. 15 by as much as 35,000 votes. But from then through the official close of voting following the game between the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 20, fans cast more than 930,000 votes for Brady to about 541,000 for Vick, according to NFL figures.
Rounding out the Top Ten in fan voting are running Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings (948,410), quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers (900,544), running back Arian Foster of the Houston Texans (710,166), Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew 707,913) and Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (704,817).
Ndamukong Suh, defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions, led all rookies as wll as all DTs with 405,597 votes. He was followed by quarterback Sam Bradford of the St. Louis Rams (305,721), center Maurkice Pouncey of the Pittsburgh Steelers (246,443), New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (205,948) and running back Jahvid of the Lions (168,707).
A list of the NFC and AFC top vote-getters by position on offense and defense is below.
The NFL said it is the only sports league that combines voting by fans, coaches and players to determine its all-star teams, and that in 1995 it was the first pro sports league to offer online all-star voting.