Auburn will be well represented in this year's NFL Pro Bowl. Four former Tigers will make their way out to Honolulu to play in the NFL's all-star game on Sunday.
Ben Grubbs was a late addition to the AFC roster and will get the start at one of the offensive guard positions. Grubbs will be one of two players replacing New England Patriots guards Logan Mankins and Brian Waters, who are playing in the Super Bowl. Grubbs, a first round pick by Baltimore in 2007, is making his first Pro Bowl appearance. He earned the honor by helping the Ravens average 124.8 yards per game on the ground, good for 10th overall in the NFL.
Jay Ratliff of the Dallas Cowboys finished the regular season with 38 tackles and two sacks. His disruptive play at nose tackle helped anchor a Dallas defensive line that ranked seventh overall in rush defense, giving up a meager 99.1 yards per game. Ratliff was a teammate of Grubbs on the 2004 undefeated Auburn team.
Ratliff will be joined on the NFC squad by another former teammate on the ‘04 team, Carlos Rogers. Now with the San Francisco 49ers, Rogers amassed 43 tackles and 18 pass deflections. He also hauled in six interceptions, returning them for a total of 106 yards and one touchdown. His physical style proved valuable in run support; while his lockdown coverage helped the 49ers hold opponents to an average of 230.9 yards per game through the air.
When the overtime kick went through the uprights, sending the Giants, and quarterback Eli Manning, to the Super Bowl, it opened up a spot at quarterback for the NFC squad. Stepping into that position will be former Auburn Heisman Trophy winner, Cam Newton. The rookie had an incredible season, setting records and proving skeptics wrong. He re-energized a Panthers offense that had been lackluster in recent years, transforming them into an exciting and explosive offense. Newton passed for an NFL rookie record 4,051 yards, good enough for 10th in the league, and 21 touchdowns. He added 706 yards and another 14 touchdowns rushing on his way to becoming the first in NFL history to pass for 4,000 yards and rush for 500 yards. His 14 rushing touchdowns also set an all-time mark in the NFL for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.
The NFL Pro Bowl can be seen on NBC at 6 p.m. CST this Sunday.