Pro Bowl 2016 rosters announced - Key takeaways

© Hugh Gentry
The NFL announced the 86 players selected to the 2016 Pro Bowl rosters earlier this week, a group that includes 42 players on offense, 36 on defense and eight specialists.

The 14-0 Carolina Panthers had a league-high 10 men chosen, while last year's Super Bowl finalists, the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks, each had seven, as did the Arizona Cardinals.

The 2016 Pro Bowl is the NFL's all-star game for the 2015 season, but players whose teams advance to the Super Bowl do not play in the game, and are replaced by alternate options. The picks highlight how important experience and consistency is in the NFL.

Of the six quarterbacks chosen - Carolina's Cam Newton, New England's Tom Brady, Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers, Arizona's Carson Palmer, Seattle's Russell Wilson and Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger - the youngest is Newton, who is 26 but in his fifth season; Wilson is 27 and in his fourth season. The other four QBs are all 32 or older.

In parallel, consistency is a key factor in the Pro Bowl selection. Joe Thomas, the Cleveland Browns' left tackle, has been in the NFL for nine years, and has been chosen to the Pro Bowl for the ninth time. He joins an elite group of players who made the Pro Bowl in each of their first nine seasons, including Hall of Famers Lawrence Taylor, Jim Brown, Barry Sanders and "Mean" Joe Greene.

Consistency isn't always about seasoned performers - New England rookie CB Malcolm Butler has played at a high level this season and has held his own against the best receivers, with two interceptions and 15 pass breakups to go along with 50 tackles. He's one of three first-time Pro Bowlers in the position, proving that rookies have a place at the table too.

There's always room for a heartwarming comeback story, and Eric Berry's inclusion is a perfect reminder of that. On December 9, 2014, doctors announced that the Kansas City Chiefs safety had Hodgkin's lymphoma, discovered after Berry had complained of chest pains.

On Tuesday, 378 days after that news came, he was one of three strong safeties named to the Pro Bowl with Arizona's Tyrann Mathieu and Oakland's Charles Woodson.

The Pro Bowl will be played in Honolulu's Aloha Stadium on Sunday, January 31, with the two teams hosted by Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin.

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