NFL Pro Bowl voting is currently underway (no need to vote on every position) and will be continuing through December 20. At this point we've got some interesting developments, particularly as they relate to San Francisco 49ers players. Even though the 49ers are facing immense struggles this season in almost every aspect of the game, they still find themselves getting some love from Pro Bowl voters.
Currently, Patrick Willis leads NFC inside linebackers in votes with 112,436. That's not exactly shocking in spite of what has been a slightly substandard season for Willis (by his own standards). Willis has seen his impact improve over the season, and right now he is fifth in the NFL with 91 tackles. The only other NFC ILB he trails at this point is London Fletcher. He is tied for 14th among all linebackers in sacks with 4.0 and is actually second among inside linebackers in sacks, as Chargers ILB Kevin Burnett as 5.0. So, while he's not having his usual monster season, he hasn't exactly been chump change thus far.
Mike Sando posted some odds and ends about 49ers in Pro Bowl balloting. Frank Gore is currently third among NFC running backs with 171,118 votes. He trails Ahmad Bradshaw (177,509) and Adrian Peterson (400,921). Gore is having a very strong season, and in fact he's on pace for the second best season of his career, trailing only his record-breaking 2006 season. The fan vote is only a portion of the overall vote, but let's all get in there and try and get Gore ahead of Bradshaw. If 1,000 of us voted for him 10 times in the next couple days, that's 10,000 votes just like that.
Vernon Davis currently ranks second among tight ends. His numbers (particularly his touchdown totals) are not quite as eye-popping as last year, but he leads NFC tight ends in touchdowns and receptions of at least 20 yards. That would seem to show he's a bit more of an impact guy, as opposed to a possession receiver type of tight end.
Andy Lee is currently fifth in Pro Bowl balloting, with Chris Kluwe leading with 48,591 votes. Lee hasn't had as big a a season as in year's past, as he is seventh in gross average and 17th in net average. He's second in the NFL in punts inside the 20, but he's also second in total punts so that helps get that number up. However, while you're voting for Gore, get in a vote for Andy Lee!
The most amusing vote-getter is the true proof that this is a bit of a popularity contest. 49ers safety and special team-er Taylor Mays is currently fifth among strong safeties in fan voting. If I'm reading Sando's post correctly, that's ALL strong safeties as opposed to just NFC strong safeties. If that's the case that's fairly amazing. I don't think he'll get enough votes to get on, but it'd be kind of funny to see him somehow end up on the Pro Bowl roster as a rookie. It would at least show how valuable this balloting really is.
Maybe they should run with the NHL's idea of having team captain's pick sides. It's not quite as easy to do in football, but it'd be pretty entertaining anyways. In the meantime, get your votes in for your favorite 49ers. Remember that you can submit your ballot without voting on every position.