Pro Bowl returns to Hawaii but with pre-Super Bowl date

Published on January 26, 2011 by     Seahawk Fanatic

Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith figures it shouldn’t be too difficult to draw up plays for his NFC stars in Sunday’s Pro Bowl.

Finding the right mix on special teams? That’s more tricky.

“I don’t think there’s going to be a whole lot of differences in terms of playing offense and defense,” Smith said Tuesday. “I think the biggest challenge is that a lot of these guys have not been involved in special teams. … We have a plan for that.”

The Pro Bowl has returned to its island home, a place where many players believed it never should have left.

Despite player complaints about holding the event in a city they visit during the regular season, the NFL shipped the all-star game to Miami last year. It also was scheduled before the Super Bowl, an experiment to draw more media attention and television viewers.

Hawaii, which started staging the game in 1980, is paying $4 million per game to hold the Pro Bowl this year and 2012. The site beyond then hasn’t been determined.

TV ratings were up for last year’s AFC-NFC matchup on ESPN. It was watched by an average of 12.3 million viewers, the most since 2000. That’s up 40 percent from the 2009 Pro Bowl in Honolulu on NBC, which drew 8.8 million viewers when the event was held after the Super Bowl.

The game has returned to Hawaii, but the NFL is sticking with its strategy of keeping the Pro Bowl ahead of the Super Bowl.

“Our fans have clearly responded to the change in the format,” said Ray Anderson, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations. “We think it’s great for the NFL. We think it’s great for the state of Hawaii.”

The change means the Pro Bowl will not feature any Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers on the field or the sidelines. They are preparing for the Feb. 6 Super Bowl in Arlington, Texas. There are 10 Pro Bowl selections in the Super Bowl, including six Packers.

Last year, Pro Bowlers who were in the Super Bowl were introduced at the stadium but didn’t play. This year, they’re far from the beaches and umbrella-adorned mai tais that their colleagues will enjoy this week.

Anderson said the NFL was “delighted to be back here” and talked about the strong TV ratings in Miami.

“We had 12.3 million viewers in 2010, (but) we certainly expect to surpass that this year back in beautiful Hawaii,” he said.

In an interview, Smith said not having any Packers does leave his NFC squad short, “but I really do believe the Super Bowl should be the last game of the season and be the climax of the season.”

Smith’s top-seeded Falcons lost in the playoffs to the Super Bowl-bound Packers, 48-21. The Falcons have the most players on the NFC team with nine selections, and the New England Patriots lead the AFC with eight.

Buy the Super Bowl XLV program on NFLShop.com:

“It’s a pleasure to be here in Hawaii,” Smith said. “I know I speak for our coaching staff: There’s no better place on earth than to be in Honolulu this week.”

Smith probably would have traded his ticket to the Aloha State for one to the Lone Star State.

His AFC counterpart, Patriots coach Bill Belichick, was nowhere to be found at the Pro Bowl’s news conference Tuesday in which the NFL showed off its new trophy and a few cheerleaders.

Belichick had trouble flying into Hawaii and was expected to arrive late Tuesday, one day before practices start. He also had a difficult end to the season. The Patriots were 14-2 heading into the playoffs, but they lost to the New York Jets, 28-21.

Joining Smith and Belichick will be two college coaches from Japan.

Both teams will have Japanese coaches as the NFL and Hawaii tries to broaden the game’s appeal in Asia. Ritsumeikan University coach Akira Yonekura will be on the NFC sideline, and Waseda University offensive line coach Hiroyuki Yabe will be on the AFC’s coaching staff.

Football is played at some colleges in Japan, but it lags far behind in popularity to sports such as baseball, soccer and sumo.

Yabe was just eager to meet his new boss, Belichick, and learn how to “put together a strong team and win.”

“(When I heard it was Belichick) I started foaming at the mouth. I didn’t know what to say,” Yabe said through a translator. “He is one of the top coaches in the NFL. This is a fantastic opportunity.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fair Use Notice This website may at times present copyrighted material, the use of which might not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available in an effort to advance understandings of democratic, economic, environmental, human rights, political, scientific, and social justice issues, among others. The author believes that this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U. S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the articles published on this website are distributed without profit for research and informational purposes. In most instances a link is placed to originator of Article and it is never expressly mentioned as written by, we use published by certain entities who write or publish for this said Blog..

Tell Us What's On Your Mind (0)




WP-SpamFree by Pole Position Marketing

REMEMBERING A LEGEND!

LATEST SEAHAWKS NEWS

dumb ass denver donkeys

Denver columnist blames coin flip for Broncos loss

The Denver Broncos defense showed improvement in their overtime loss to Seattle, but they were run over in ...
140922-wilson-lynch-round-660

Game at a glance: Seahawks 26, Broncos 20 OT

After surrendering a six-play, 80-yard drive that allowed the Broncos to tie the game at the end of ...
140921wilson660a

Overtime proved to be Russell Wilson time

After the Broncos rallied behind Peyton Manning to tie the score in regulation, Russell Wilson led the Seahawks ...
62KR2.AuSt.5

Hawk secondary has rare off day

Chargers receiver Kennan Allen leveled a shot at Seattle’s All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, contending “he’s just a normal ...
20140915mmm660

Philip Rivers’ performance puts Seahawks defense in redemption mode

Monday metatarsal musings: What Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates were able to do on Sunday just doesn’t happen ...
Z3pJa.AuSt.5

Seahawks’ defense can’t get off field, Seattle loses at San Diego, 30-21

The team bus is leaving Qualcomm Stadium. It only seems like the Seahawks’ defense is still on that ...
20140911harvin660

Unleashing Percy Harvin on the jet sweep

The jet sweep is nothing new, even with Percy Harvin running it as dynamically as he did in ...
1ffZ5G.AuSt.5

Pete Carroll meets with Seahawks about domestic violence

Real life is intersecting with the Seahawks and the rest of the NFL. As with everything else surrounding the ...

Shop for 2014 Seahawks Gameday Gear at NFLShop.com

Shop for 2014 Seahawks Gameday Gear at NFLShop.com

lat-noise-wre0011368363-20130915

WELCOME TO THE SEAHAWKS 12TH MAN ARMY.

WE TAKE PRIDE IN GIVING SEAHAWKS FANS AROUND THE CLOCK UPDATES,  ALL SEAHAWKS ALL THE TIME. SO IF YOU WANT THE LATEST SEAHAWKS NEWS DELIVERED FOR FREE RIGHT TO YOUR EMAIL BOX ONCE A WEEK, SIGN UP AND ENJOY!

WE HAVE BEEN PROUDLY SERVING DIEHARD SEAHAWKS FANS SINCE 2004.

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz