Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will start for the AFC in the 2013 Pro Bowl, which will be played at 7 p.m. ET Sunday in Honolulu. It isn't something Manning is taking lightly.
He noted recently the importance of the event, citing as an example a conversation Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had with Chargers great LaDainian Tomlinson at a Pro Bowl in the past.
Now, Tampa Bay's Doug Martin gets to participate in that same kind of conversation, just with Peterson as the elder spokesman instead of the young player.
Martin took the NFL by storm this season, rushing for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns in his rookie year, making the first of what could be many Pro Bowls. He joins Peterson and Seattle's Marshawn Lynch as the NFC's running backs. He's only scratching the surface of his talent - he added 472 more yards on 49 receptions in 2012 - and having veterans like Peterson and Manning around to talk shop will only help him.
Same goes for fellow youngster Gerald McCoy, who is among a young group of defensive tackles for the NFC squad. He joins fellow 2010 draft classmate Ndamukong Suh on the team, along with Chicago's Henry Melton, a fourth-round pick of the 2009 draft. They can share trench experiences with veterans like Minnesota's Jared Allen and Chicago's Julius Peppers.
Tampa Bay's Vincent Jackson has plenty of his own experience to share, as he joins Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald, New York Giants' Victor Cruz and Atlanta's Julio Jones on the NFC's roster of wide receivers. Jackson spent the first seven years of his eight-year career with the San Diego Chargers
Seattle's Russell Wilson and Giants' Eli Manning were added to the squad after Washington's Robert Griffin III and Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers withdrew with injuries.
Dallas's Jason Witten and Minnesota's Kyle Rudolph are the NFC's tight ends, with Seattle's Russell Okung, New Orleans' Jermon Bushrod and Minnesota's Matt Kalil as the offensive tackles.
The guards for the NFC team will be New Orleans' Jahri Evans, Green Bay's Josh Sitton and Giants' Chris Snee. The fullback is Minnesota's Jerome Felton.