NFL Pro Bowl: The Case For Keeping The Game


January 25, 2014; Honolulu, HI, USA; Team Rice wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals (11) poses for a photo with cheerleader Chelsey (center) and mascot Big Red (right) during the 2014 Pro Bowl Ohana Day at Aloha Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Today marks the annual most irrelevant NFL game of the season in most people’s minds.  Today is the Pro Bowl.  No, not the annual AFC-NFC Pro Bowl.  Just the Pro Bowl.  Teams are made up of the basic school yard version of touch football.  Sides were picked in a draft.  It hasn’t done much to talk up the game this week, that’s for sure.

The Arizona Cardinals have a few representatives in this year’s game.  Receiver Larry Fitzgerald, linebacker John Abraham, and special teamer Justin Bethel are on Team Rice.  Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice is the “owner” of the team.  Team captains are Drew Brees and Robert Quinn.  On Team Deion Sanders will be cornerback Patrick Peterson.  It would be fun to see him line up against Fitz.

It is different this year, I will give it that.  I probably won’t tune ion to the whole game.  I never do.  However, I do commend the NFL for at least trying to do something to make it better rather than just do nothing or abolish the game all together.  However no matter what is done, many fans will just stay away and continue to bash the game.  Sure, the rules are strict.  There isn’t much hitting.  It’s basically a flag football game.  I know people who get more excited for the fourth preseason game than they do the Pro Bowl.

To each his own I say.  I understand the sentiment against paying any attention to this game.  It means nothing to you or I.  I guarantee just being named to the team does mean something though to the guys on both teams.  It’s a nice diversion from the other boring Sunday afternoon stuff on television.  It is still football.  This may not have been the way I preferred to do it this year but at least they are trying.  Here are the rosters for both teams as picked by the captains.

Team Rice:

Coach: Ron Rivera, Panthers
Captains: Drew Brees and Robert Quinn

QB Drew Brees, Saints
QB Philip Rivers, Chargers
QB Alex Smith, Chiefs
WR Josh Gordon, Browns
WR Alshon Jeffery, Bears
WR Brandon Marshall, Bears
WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
TE Jimmy Graham, Saints
TE Tony Gonzalez, Falcons
RB LeSean McCoy, Eagles
RB DeMarco Murray, Cowboys
RB Matt Forte, Bears
FB Mike Tolbert, Panthers
T Joe Thomas, Browns
T Tyron Smith, Cowboys
T Jordan Gross, Panthers
G Jahri Evans, Saints
G Ben Grubbs, Saints
G Evan Mathis, Eagles
C Ryan Kalil, Panthers
C Nick Mangold, Jets

DE Robert Quinn, Rams
DE Cameron Jordan, Saints
DE Cameron Wake, Dolphins
DT Jason Hatcher, Cowboys
DT Marcell Dareus, Bills
DT Kyle Williams, Bills
OLB Justin Houston, Chiefs
OLB Robert Mathis, Colts
OLB John Abraham, Cardinals
ILB Vontaze Burfict, Bengals
ILB Derrick Johnson, Chiefs
CB Joe Haden, Browns
CB Brandon Flowers, Chiefs
CB Antonio Cromartie, Jets
CB Alterraun Verner, Titans
S Eric Reid, 49ers
S Jairus Byrd, Bills
S Antrel Rolle, Giants

ST Justin Bethel, Cardinals
PR Dexter McCluster, Chiefs
K Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots
P Johnny Hekker, Rams
LS Matt Overton, Colts

Team Sanders:

Coach: Chuck Pagano, Colts
Captains: Jamaal Charles and J.J. Watt

QB Andrew Luck, Colts
QB Cam Newton, Panthers
QB Nick Foles, Eagles
WR A.J. Green, Bengals
WR Dez Bryant, Cowboys
WR Antonio Brown, Steelers
WR DeSean Jackson, Eagles
TE Jason Witten, Cowboys
TE Jordan Cameron, Browns
RB Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
RB Eddie Lacy, Packers
RB Alfred Morris, Redskins
FB Marcel Reece, Raiders
T Trent Williams, Redskins
T Duane Brown, Texans
T Branden Albert, Chiefs
G Marshal Yanda, Ravens
G Logan Mankins, Patriots
G Kyle Long, Bears
C Mike Pouncey, Dolphins
C Alex Mack, Browns

DE J.J. Watt, Texans
DE Greg Hardy, Panthers
DE Mario Williams, Bills
DT Ndamukong Suh, Lions
DT Gerald McCoy, Buccaneers
DT Dontari Poe, Chiefs
OLB Brian Orakpo, Redskins
OLB Tamba Hali, Chiefs
OLB Terrell Suggs, Ravens
ILB Luke Kuechly, Panthers
ILB Paul Posluszny, Jaguars
CB Patrick Peterson, Cardinals
CB Darrelle Revis, Buccaneers
CB Brent Grimes, Dolphins
CB Tim Jennings, Bears
S Eric Berry, Chiefs
S Eric Weddle, Chargers
S T.J. Ward, Browns

ST Matthew Slater, Patriots
PR Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings
K Justin Tucker, Ravens
P Brandon Fields, Dolphins
LS J.J. Jansen, Panthers