The NFL's popularity contest, also known as the Pro Bowl, is usually set before the season even starts at certain positions. Every year, guys like Ray Lewis and Logan Mankins are a lock to make it, even if their play does not deserve it.
It is an unfortunate aspect of the system, and it is a big reason why a lot of guys who made it this year are never going back to Hawaii, at least not to play football. Some guys are just too old to expect another big season out of them.
Here are five players that are not likely to return to Hawaii any time soon.
McGahee was able to nab a spot as an alternate, and it was well-deserved. But given his age (30) and the amount of wear and tear on his body, it is going to be tough for McGahee to get back to the Pro Bowl.
He also faced a considerable amount of injuries this season—a sign that his body may be wearing down in a run-heavy offense.
It is also worth noting that he benefited from Jamaal Charles being out for most of the season and will have to contend with with the likes of him, along with Ray Rice, MJD and Ryan Mathews, going forward.
Like his teammate in Denver, Dawkins had a nice season, but his age and future production are big questions. He was also a benefactor from a weak strong safety group in the AFC.
The only chance he makes another Pro Bowl is if the AFC continues to be barren of star talent at the strong safety position.
Reed has had a fantastic career, but he is clearly on the decline. His production took a nose dive this season and was even a liability in coverage more times than not.
If he makes another Pro Bowl, it will be based solely on his name rather than his production. Like Dawkins, he will so benefit from a void of safety talent in the AFC.
"Chuck Wood" made enough "splash" plays to get another spot in the Pro Bowl, but he was also a big reason why the Packers gave up a lot of big plays and wound up giving up the most yards this season.
There are rumors that he may move to safety, which remains to be seen. Just the fact that the coaching staff is looking into moving him to a position that requires less speed is an indication on its own that Woodson is on the decline.
If Ray Lewis avoids IR for another season, he is guaranteed to make the Pro Bowl. However, I felt the need to include him on this list because his annual induction is keeping out a lot of very good linebackers, such as David Harris.
Lewis showed a lot of signs of decline after his injury. He no longer gets off blocks and can be exploited in coverage. His best qualities are his instincts and leadership, which are qualities possessed by other more effective players that deserve the Pro Bowl nod over Lewis.