Many felt Flanagan played well enough this season to be awarded a spot on the Pro Bowl team. But Chicago's Olin Kreutz and Minnesota's Matt Birk landed the two center spots on the squad, which is formed by a combination of fan and player voting. Flanagan was a first alternate, despite the fact that he did not miss a start, and was part of the Packers' best rushing offense in Packers history.
"I wasn't really surprised when I didn't make the Pro Bowl outright," Flanagan told packers.com. "There are only two spots for NFC centers and Kreutz and Matt Birk are elite players in this league. I feel like I had a good season, but that doesn't mean that I deserved to bump those guys out of the top spots."
When Kreutz recently withdrew because of a residual ankle sprain and bruised knee, Flanagan was the first to be asked if he would like to play in the all-star game. Naturally, he accepted the invite, though, the sting of losing to the Philadelphia Eagles in the playoffs has yet to wear off.
"For me, going to the Pro Bowl doesn't validate my season," Flanagan told packers.com. "The only true prize in this league is a Super Bowl championship. We had a great chance to bring the Vince Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay this year and we let it slip through our fingers.
"But it's still an honor to be going. To be honest, I felt it was an honor just to be first-alternate.
I'm hoping that by playing in this game, maybe I'll be recognized a little bit more and might get the chance to go again in the future, but I'm not going to take this trip for granted." Flanagan is the first center to be named to the NFC squad since Frank Winters replaced the Dallas Cowboys' injured Ray Donaldson in the 1996 all-star game.
Flanagan joins running back Ahman Green, tight end Bubba Franks and right guard Marco Rivera in the all-star event. Quarterback Brett Favre was voted to the NFC all-star team, but will not attend the game due to injury.
If he can continue to play as well as he has in recent seasons, including 2002 when he displayed his versatility by starting seven games at left tackle for the injured Chad Clifton, Flanagan will be headed to many more Pro Bowls.
Note: Todd Korth is managing editor of Packer Report. Contact him at email@example.com.