|Most teams who face the Patriots have trouble bringing down tight end Rob Gronkowski. (US Presswire)|
The NFL will announce the 2012 All-Popular teams Tuesday.
Oops, I mean Pro Bowl teams.
But you get the drift. The Pro Bowl teams are rarely made up of the players who deserve to be there.
It's more popularity than production. That's in large part because of the fan vote.
Just ask the Green Bay Packers fans. They stuffed the ballot box for their Packers and many of them led the fan voting, even if they didn't deserve to be on the team.
To help balance the popularity contest that has become the Pro Bowl, I have my 2012 Pro Bowl rosters.
These rosters are based on watching tape, talking to scouts, attending games and none of the choices have to do with popularity.
These are Pro Bowl teams, which is why some of the names you will see aren't the usual names and many of them won't even be on the real teams, which is sad.
• Just missed: Andy Dalton, Bengals.
• Comment: The first two picks, including Brady as a starter, were easy. But the quarterback pool in the AFC isn't very good. Went with Rivers over Dalton. Tim Tebow did not get consideration -- nor should he.
• Just missed: Reggie Bush, Dolphins.
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• Comment: Jones-Drew leads the NFL in rushing and Foster and Rice were easy picks. Bush got started late with his success, otherwise he might make it tougher to leave him off.
Marcel Reece, Raiders. Reserve: None
• Just missed: Vonta Leach, Ravens
• Comment: I went with a guy who isn't a great blocker, but adds a ton to the Oakland offense. Leach is a guard playing fullback.
• Comment: Gronkowski is second in the AFC in catches with 82 and has 15 touchdown passes. Hernandez has 72 catches and six touchdowns. In a weak year for AFC tight ends, he gets the nod.
• Comment: Welker leads the NFL in catches and was an easy choice. Wallace edges out Marshall, who has really come on, and the rookie Green.
• Comment: Veldheer got off to a great start, had a rough go against Julius Peppers, but has been good other than that. Stewart tops a bad right tackle class.
• Just missed: Stefen Wisniewski, Raiders,
• Comment: Levitre was dominant at left guard before moving to left tackle because of injuries. He was one of my highest-rated players early in the season. He finished back at guard and again played well. Yanda was a mauler most of the season, but he had a tough time with Geno Atkins in one game.
• Just missed: Mike Pouncey, Dolphins.
• Comment: When Mangold was injured early, the Jets line really struggled. He came back to solidify it.
• Comment: Can you believe Janikowski will be going to his first Pro Bowl (he was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2010)? Wow.
• Comment: This is a bad position in the AFC, especially since I count Terrell Suggs as an outside linebacker.
Defensive tackle/nose tackle
• Comment: Atkins has eight sacks and has been a force all season long. Rubin is a run-stuffing player who doesn't get his due playing on a bad team.
• Comment: Suggs is having a huge year with 13 sacks and Hali has 12. Miller edges out Barwin, a surprise player on this list.
• Comment: Cushing and Johnson were easy picks, especially after Lewis got hurt. Posluszny was a great pickup by the Jaguars in free agency.
• Comment: Revis hasn't been as good as he's been in the past, but he's still the best. Bailey continues to play outstanding man defense, edging out Joseph.
• Comment: Weddle has been a ball-hawking player in the back end for the Chargers and tackles better than people think. Branch has been all over the field for the Oakland defense.
Shane Lechler, Raiders. Reserve: none.
• Comment: Lechler leads the NFL with a 50.7 average.
Antonio Brown, Steelers.
• Just missed: None.
• Comment: Brown isn't just a great receiver, but he's a scary return man.
• Just missed: Tony Romo, Cowboys.
• Comment: It was close between Rodgers and Brees, but I went with the guy with more touchdown passes. Stafford edged out Romo.
• Just missed: Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks.
• Comment: I took the top three rushers in the conference with Turner edging out Lynch.
Jed Collins, Saints. Reserves: None.
• Just missed: Ovie Mughelli, Falcons.
• Comment: If Mughelli doesn't get hurt, he gets the nod. Collins has been a nice surprise for the Saints.
• Just missed: Jason Witten, Cowboys
• Comment: Graham was as easy a pick for the NFC as Rob Gronkowski was for the AFC. It was close between Gonzalez and Witten, but Gonzalez was a tad better.
• Comment: We expect to see Johnson on this list, but Cruz? He's had an amazing season.
• Comment: Peters reverted to his dominant form again this season, while Smith was as impressive a rookie as there was in the league.
• Just missed: Jahri Evans, Saints.
• Comment: Nicks is the best guard in the NFL. Snee solidified the Giants line when it seemed to be coming apart.
• Just missed: John Sullivan, Vikings.
• Comment: Kalil is a big reason why the Panthers had the offensive success they had with a rookie quarterback.
David Akers, 49ers.
• Comment: Akers set an NFL record for field goals made with 42.
• Comment: This is a deep position in the NFC. All six of these players were worthy of being on the team.
Defensive tackle/nose tackle
• Just missed: Jay Ratliff, Cowboys.
• Comment: This isn't a strong position in the NFC. Melton is a young player who emerged this season, while Jenkins was strong in his first season with the Eagles.
• Just missed: Chad Greenway, Vikings
• Comment: Ware is the most explosive edge rusher in the game and Weatherspoon was by far the best defender on the Falcons roster, a run-and-chase player with great speed.
• Comment: Willis is the best inside backer in the game, and Fletcher had one of his best seasons at the age of 36.
• Just missed: Charles Woodson, Packers; Tramon Williams, Packers; Corey Webster, Giants. Comment: This is not a great position in the NFC, but Rogers had a good season for the 49ers. Gamble bounced back from a bad 2010 to play well this season. Browner was horrible against the Steelers early, but he has been good since. He has had have a lot of penalties called on him.
• Comment: Wilson reverted to his Pro Bowl form, even playing with a torn biceps muscle. Thomas is a rangy safety who fits perfectly with the modern game.
Andy Lee, 49ers. Reserve: None.
• Just missed: Thomas Morstead, Saints.
• Comment: Lee has been the league's best punter this season, leading in net yards with a 43.5 average.
Patrick Peterson, Cardinals. Reserve: None
• Comment: Peterson has four punt returns for touchdowns. This is an easy choice.