The announcement of the Pro Bowl teams tonight will spark arguments on who deserved to make the team and who got snubbed. It also will continue to stir up the quarterback debate: Brady or Manning?
In Round 1 of this head-to-head battle for postseason accolades, the Patriots' Tom Brady and the Broncos' Peyton Manning are vying for starting quarterback on this year's Pro Bowl team. Brady versus Manning will be a hot topic over the next month as All-Pro teams are revealed and the MVP award is handed out.
In the fan voting for the Pro Bowl, which accounts for one-third of the equation, Manning topped all players with 993,045 votes. Brady was second with 908,099.
Manning, 36, is returning from a season completely lost to a neck injury. Brady, 35, is bouncing back from a disappointing loss in the Super Bowl. Manning has completed a higher rate of passes (68.1 percent to 63.1 percent) than Brady and has thrown two more touchdown passes. Brady has passed for 188 more yards than Manning and has thrown three fewer interceptions.
In the NFC, the Falcons have the best record in football at 13-2 but they probably won't lead the league in Pro Bowl selections. The top candidates for the often-overlooked Falcons are: quarterback Matt Ryan, wide receiver Roddy White, tight end Tony Gonzalez and defensive end John Abraham.
In the fan voting, the Packers and 49ers combined to lead 12 of the 19 positions in the NFC. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews should lead the way for Green Bay (perhaps along with returner Randall Cobb), while outside linebacker Aldon Smith, guard Mike Iupati, inside linebacker Patrick Willis and defensive end Justin Smith are expected to represent San Francisco.
The NFL is the only one of the four major American professional sports leagues to determine its All-Star teams by combining fans', players' and coaches' votes. The Pro Bowl will be played at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu on Jan. 27, 2013.
Soon after the Pro Bowl teams are announced, each of the division blogs on ESPN.com will provide analysis on the selections.