By Doug Halberstadt
Usually, football fans have a down week between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl. That’s not the case this season.
The 2010 Pro Bowl will fill that void. The annual contest between the AFC’s and NFC’s best will take place this Sunday, Jan. 31, at Dolphin Stadium in south Florida. The game will start at 6:30 p.m. local time, and will be televised on ESPN.
This is the first time ever the Pro Bowl will be played prior to the Super Bowl. It is also the first time in nearly 30 years it will be played some place other than Honolulu, Hawaii. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is chiefly responsible for the changes.
“We are looking at alternatives to strengthen the Pro Bowl,” said Goodell. “We will continue to work with the players to make it a great event, and will evaluate this concept after the 2010 Pro Bowl.”
The current AFC-NFC Pro Bowl format, which began in 1971, rotated annually between host sites until 1980, when it moved to Honolulu. The 2010 game also won’t be south Florida’s first Pro Bowl: the 1975 game took place in Miami’s Orange Bowl. The game has been held in Tampa, Seattle, Dallas, Kansas City, New Orleans and Los Angeles on three occasions.
Lance Briggs, the Chicago Bears’ lone representative in this year’s Pro-Bowl, won’t play in the game because of an injury. The Green Bay Packers have four players going to the game: Nick Collins, free safety; Clay Matthews, outside linebacker; Aaron Rodgers, quarterback; and Charles Woodson, cornerback. Like Briggs, Woodson will be unavailable because of an injury.
In an effort to avoid injuries, rosters for the AFC and NFC teams will not be allowed to include any players from the teams that will be playing in this year’s Super Bowl.
The NFC has won the last two contests. I think they’ll make it three in a row. I say the NFC by two touchdowns.
From the Jan. 27-Feb 2, 2010