Pro Bowl 2014 Nap Time

What should have been a rollicking, light-hearted good time celebrating the best players in the league during the first ever NFL Pro Bowl draft instead turned out to be an overblown three hours of filler and nervous hosts afraid of letting players go off-script even for a second. When Mario Williams was finally “assigned” by default to Team Sanders in the 34 round two hours into the draft, he took to the stage as a man short on patience. Williams grabbed the mic from host Chris Rose to issue a warning to Team Rice caption Drew Brees for passing on him, Rose quickly reminded him “We’re live, you know.” Perhaps it was just a Richard Sherman hangover, but the air quickly left the stage when Rose took the microphone away from Williams and soon the draft was back to just calling names every two minutes. (It’s worth noting the smack talk was so mild that Brees was not even paying attention to Williams, and the threat had to issued a second time.) Even when Terrell Suggs tried to put some energy back into the crowd by saying Mai Tais were on him, producers quickly cut away to the next graphic and away from anything that resembled fun.

Instead entertainment was limited to players photo bombing each other’s interviews, Philip Rivers being annoyed about rule that said the final two picks had be quarterbacks (oddly enough, Rivers was the third to last pick and will back up his former teammate Drew Brees), and a very, very relaxed Eric Weddle saying he didn’t mind falling so far in the draft because come the fourth quarter on Sunday he’d be, “ready to wreck shop.”

Team Sanders followed a strict plan of drafting young players while Team Rice (obviously being steered by Brees) drafted every single Saints player available as to presumably avoid teammates being forced to play against each other and thus negating the whole point of no longer dividing the teams by conferences. The unintended result was painfully watching players like Larry Fitzgerald slide all the way to the “assigned” slots and while special teams players being selected by future Hall of Famers. As one fan so aptly put it on Twitter:


Still, some people managed to have some fun despite being in the beaches of Hawaii and not drinking rum out of a pineapple — hint to the NFL, what has propelled the Golden Globes ratings to ten year highs are hosts willing to let the honorees be silly and lots and lots of booze — as players spoke into confessional cameras back stage à la “The Real World” and posted their own slightly unfiltered thoughts on Twitter and Instagram.

Of course Gerald McCoy, Dez Bryant and Trent Williams would be masters of the selfies.

And of course fellow Saint Cameron Jordan is going to have the best photo bomb of Jimmy Graham’s interview. (Graham frankly deserved some mocking after being selected second in the draft by Team Rice to be paired with Drew Brees. Who takes a tight end second in a draft and how do I get them in one of my money leagues?)


Then there are those just happy to be there, like long snapper Matt Overton who is just fighting the good fight to have long snappers be recognized all around the world, even if it is exhausting.


Don’t we all, Matt. Hard to believe we all sat through an event that possibly ran longer than the actual game will in Sunday. Better make it two beers. No, three. Just bring over an entire handle of Jameson.

2014 Pro Bowl

And if that wasn’t enough Pro Bowl excitement, did you know the Pro Bowl cheerleaders actually had their own draft to see which women would dance on which team? There is even a nice video of their day, which would have been much more interesting than watching Jason Witten pretending not to be bored by the entire circus.

See you guys Sunday though, because hey. There is only two football games left until September and that sounds like a long ways away.

(Photo via Justin Houston)