Nine San Francisco 49ers — more than 40 percent of their 22-man starting lineup — were named to the NFC squad on Wednesday when the NFL Pro Bowl selections were announced.
The Niners (10-4-1) have both their safeties, Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner, on the team, along with lineman Justin Smith and linebackers Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman from the league’s second-ranked defense.
On the other side of the ball, running back Frank Gore, tackle Joe Staley and guard Mike Iupati earned recognition.
Iupati, Bowman and Whitner were first-time honorees for San Francisco, which needs a win over Arizona and Green Bay loss to Minnesota to clinch a first-round bye.
The 49ers had the most players selected. Houston was next with eight, six on offense.
Other notable picks included comeback stories Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson, as well as Redskins’ rookie sensation Robert Griffin III.
Manning missed all of the 2011 season with neck and back problems that required several operations. He then signed with Denver as a free agent and has led the Broncos on a 10-game winning streak to take the AFC West.
Minnesota’s Peterson tore up his left knee on Christmas Eve last year, underwent major surgery, then was back for the season opener. He’s gone from uncertain to unstoppable, running away with the rushing title with a career-high 1,898 yards and lifting the Vikings toward an NFC wild card.