Pro Bowl: Peppers in, Stafford still out

The NFC North received one of two Pro Bowl replacements necessitated by the New York Giants' advance to Super Bowl XLVI. Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers, originally an alternate, was named to the team in place of Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. It will Peppers' seventh Pro Bowl appearance and the first back-to-back appearances by a Bears defensive end since Richard Dent in 1984 and 1985.

Detroit Lions fans hoping to see quarterback Matthew Stafford in the Pro Bowl were no doubt disappointed to learn that Carolina Panthers rookie Cam Newton will replace Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Newton was the NFC's first alternate behind Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. Stafford is the third alternate, according to the Lions. Tony Romo is presumably the second alternate.

It's worth noting that Pro Bowl voting closes during the final few weeks of the season, when Stafford was about 800 yards shy of his final total of 5,038 when most everyone voted. If you're truly upset about this, your mistake is trusting the legitimacy of the Pro Bowl process. You're welcome to join me on the "Pro Bowl Is Irrelevant" bandwagon anytime you like. There's still plenty of room.

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings

(Footnotes: *Starter. +Won't play. #Alternate/replacement)