The capacity crowd at Aloha Stadium was enthusiastic and into the game. And judging from the tailgate parties, you would think that it was a regular season NFL game at nearly any stadium in America. Well, outside of Oakland because there weren't any fights. And certainly not St. Louis because there were actually fans.
One of the biggest surprises was the large number of people who actually travel to Hawaii for the game. And if you think about it, if you are a big football fan and want to plan a trip to Hawaii, the Pro Bowl seems pretty logical.
Which means that it would be pretty illogical for the NFL to move the game out of the Aloha State. The NFL has kicked around the idea of holding the Pro Bowl on a rotating basis which would be horrible. You can hardly get players to show up now, good luck getting them to an Indianapolis Pro Bowl. There also is a possibility that the Pro Bowl could be held a week prior to the Super Bowl at the host site, filling that dead Sunday.
Another brilliant idea.
You get the suspicion that the NFL is trying to strong-arm Hawaii into building a new stadium. Aloha State is pretty cool, but too basic to the fat-cats of the NFL and the spoiled media who is used to valet media parking. (Maybe they should get back to their roots and string a couple of high school games to get some perspective.) But it would figure that the NFL would stoop to stumping for a new stadium for a game they play once a year.
The players are in favor keeping it in Hawaii. Fred Taylor said after the game that he would have been disappointed if his one trip to the Pro Bowl would have been anywhere else buy Hawaii. Jeff Garcia said the same thing. Hawaii has the tradition, and sure, some players such as Brett Favre and Tom Brady might skip out, but (expletive) them. You didn't hear any complaints from the guys who showed up.
Keeping the game in Hawaii seems like the right thing to do. So look for the NFL to do the opposite.
Here are some random notes, though many of my brilliant thoughts were erased by a serious of beers consumed in the Pacific Ocean while getting a sun burn.
- Chad Johnson made big news by shoving an NFL PR guy on Thursday. Thankfully the NFL PR guy was a huge douche bag so it was justified. Trust me.
- The traffic in Hawaii can be pretty maddening. Like a freeway system was a mere afterthought. But nobody seems to give you much sympathy.
- Being in Hawaii is like being a foreign country. There was nearly no coverage of Super Tuesday or the Shaq trade. Somebody asked me how Bob Dole was doing in the primaries. And most of them voted for Clinton, thinking that it was Bill.
- Nearly every NFL player marveled at the athleticism of Antonio Cromartie. Well, expect for Gomer. Let's just say he wasn't really talkative when it came to Cromartie. He only acts funny in his television ads.
- Garcia is pretty cordial with reporters, but you could tell that he didn't want to talk about his touchdown pass to Terrell Owens. He would have probably wanted to throw that to anybody else. Who says these guys don't want to win.
- Holy hell, NFL cheerleaders wear a lot of makeup. Even the broads at the topless bar in Barstow feel that they cake on too much foundation.
- Jared Allen was filming a PSA with a huge dip in his mouth. But he said it was cool because he smokes cigarettes in front of children, too. You can never really trust a man who doesn't drink, but Allen seems like an exception.
- Believe it or not, but NFL players are actually less impressive when you see them in person. It's true.
- Is Browns quarterback Derek Anderson going to become the NFL's version of Atlee Hammaker of the NFL? Nice performance. Remember this when he gets benched for Brady Quinn next year.
- Norv Turner again relied on the field goal way too much. Turner turned into Marty in Hawaii and really worked his team to death. Mike McCarthy had a bunch of brief practices. No wonder the AFC seemed to mail it in at the end.
- The coolest thing of the week, besides stepping on that sea urchin, was floating in the water on raft, drinking beers, and using a five-foot turtle as a table. Even one of the player's posse had to marvel at ability to take slacking to its highest level. Although the lesson for next time, bring a cooler with you.