The new Pro Bowl format could create some interesting scenarios for the 49ers, who had a league-high eight players chosen for the NFL all-star game.
Could you imagine defensive lineman Justin Smith fighting off a block from Mike Iupati and coming head-to-head with Frank Gore on an inside running play?
Or how about Vernon Davis finding Patrick Willis covering him on an underneath crossing pattern? Or Ahmad Brooks trying to beat the pass protection of Joe Staley?
It could happen. But, of course, the 49ers are hoping -- like a year ago -- they are preparing for Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey when the Pro Bowl is being played Jan. 26 in Honolulu.
Linebacker NaVorro Bowman said it would be extremely difficult to find himself in position to make a hit against a 49ers’ offensive player, such as Gore or Davis, at the Pro Bowl.
“That would probably be a weird thing and I might not tackle him,” Bowman said. “Just let him score and get his yards or whatever. Yeah, that’d be weird because that hasn’t happened since training camp.”
As part of the new format, players chosen Friday for the Pro Bowl will be assigned to teams through a draft on Jan. 22. Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders -- teammates on the 49ers’ 1994 Super Bowl team -- will serve as alumni team captains for their teams and will have final say over draft decisions.
The 49ers had four players apiece on offense and defense chosen for the Pro Bowl, which could lead to some interesting situations.
Gore said he likes that the best players from the NFL are picked -- and not necessarily an equal number of players from each conference. The AFC is represented with 45 of the 86 roster spots.
“I think that’s the way they should have been doing it,” Gore said. “Instead of by conference, you pick the top guys out of the league.”
But he also has certain expectations if he finds himself going up against his defensive teammates on the other side.
“They better not hit me,” Gore said. “We are teammates.”
Under terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each player on the winning Pro Bowl team receives $53,000, while each player on the losing squad earns $26,000.
[RELATED: Eight 49ers chosen to Pro Bowl]
49ers in Pro Bowl
RB Frank Gore
TE Vernon Davis
OT Joe Staley
OG Mike Iupati
DL Justin Smith
OLB Ahmad Brooks
ILB NaVorro Bowman
ILB Patrick Willis