HONOLULU — The first-ever non-conference Pro Bowl number 34 in Hawaii was won by Team Rice 22-21 in the lowest scoring Pro Bowl since 2006 when defense took center stage. The game was played in a steady rain in 70-degree temperatures.
Because of the rain, there were eight turnovers, six interceptions and nine sacks. Players had a tough time getting a grip on the ball. The game was a turnover fest, but it was one of the most competitive Pro Bowls in recent years.
The Pro Bowl teams were spilt up by NFL greats Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders. Team Sanders had a 21-14 lead with just 41 seconds left when Dallas star De Marco Murray took a pass from Alex Smith and raced 20 yards for a touchdown, and Mike Tolbert scored the two-point conversion to give team Rice the dramatic 22-21 win.
I have crossed the Pacific Ocean and will cover my 34th Super Bowl on the banks of the Atlantic Ocean. The Pro Bowl sets the stage for Super Bowl XLVIII Sunday, February 2, at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey.
This will be the first-ever Super Bowl held in New York-New Jersey and the first to be played outdoors in a cold-weather climate. Met Life Stadium is the only NFL Stadium to be home to two NFL teams, the New York Giants and Jets.
This is also the first Super Bowl featuring two teams from cities where marijuana smoking is legal. This is the fourth-ever cold-weather site of a Super Bowl; after Pontiac, Michigan in 1982, the big chill returned in 1992 in Minneapolis and Detroit in 2006. Game-time temperature in the mid-20s is expected. Already the New York-New Jersey area has been dumped with 15 inches of snow and cold with more expected before kickoff Sunday at 6:30 pm ET.
The 15-3 Denver Broncos are the early, slight two-point favorite over 15-3 Seattle; both are No.1 seeds. However, the Seahawks have the look of a title team. They are first in the NFL in pass defense, total defense and scoring defense.
The Broncos are the highest scoring team in NFL history with 606 total points scored in the regular season. They were first in pass scoring and total offense, led by MVP quarterback Peyton Manning. What a remarkable season: 55 touchdown passes for 4,477 yards. Denver likes to get on top and force the tempo of the game.
Manning is attempting to become the first quarterback to win Super Bowls with two different teams after leading Indianapolis to victory in Super Bowl XLI 29-17 over Chicago. Seattle’s QB, Russell Wilson, in just his second NFL season holds the NFL mark for most wins, 27, by a quarterback in his first two seasons.
Denver scored 40 points or more six times; they were 6-0 in those games. Seattle is rugged on defense, allowing only one team to score 30 points all season when they lost 34-28 at Indianapolis. They led the league with 28 interceptions and have the most talented and deepest secondary in football led by All-Pro corner back Richard Sherman.
The weather will likely dictate this game. If it’s cold and blustery it will be tough to throw, a perfect fit for a tough, physical, power running Seahawk team that will fight Denver all the way. I like Seattle 20-17 because they have the power running (beast) Marshawn Lynch.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to [email protected], or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.