After being embarrassed by the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, every player on the New England Patriots that was named to the Pro Bowl either declined the invite to play or is unable to participate due to injury.
Three-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady was the biggest name amongst the three Patriots players to decline the invite. Brady will be replaced on the AFC roster by rookie Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts according Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com:
Tom Brady is again politely declining a trip to Hawaii to play in the NFL’s greatest exhibition game.
Andrew Luck had one of the best seasons any rookie quarterback has ever had in living up to his No. 1 overall draft billing coming into the 2012 season.
The other players from New England that will not be attending the Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii are wide receiver Wes Welker, tight end Rob Gronkowski, guard Logan Mankins and nose tackle Vince Wilfork.
Although Brady definitely deserved the Pro Bowl selection after another solid season in New England, Luck is the perfect replacement for Brady after an incredible rookie season for the Colts.
Luck was picked with the number one overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft by Indianapolis and was able to live up to the high expectations of taking over for four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning. Luck finished the season with 4,374 yards, 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.
This season was the year of rookie quarterbacks with Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson and Luck leading the way. Luck was expected to be a decent rookie for the Colts, but far exceeded expectations by leading the team to a playoff berth in his first year.
Griffin and Wilson also exceeded expectations and both were ultimately named to the NFC Pro Bowl roster. Wilson replaced Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons while Griffin will not participate in the game due to injury.