Nobody wants to go to the Pro Bowl. Yet, everyone also wants to go.
It’s a terrible inconsistent dynamic, but thankfully it’s not all that complicated.
The players strive to be the best at their position, to be recognized for their performance amongst the league’s best. But there is a part of them that knows if they continue to win, and claim a Super Bowl berth, that the trip to Hawaii can be rescheduled.
“These guys all had great seasons and to represent their conference and their positions, being voted on by their peers, coaches and fans around country,” Broncos head coach John Fox admitted. Denver was the highest AFC team eliminated during the Divisional Round of the playoffs so Fox and his staff were chosen to coach in the Pro Bowl. “I think everyone here would rather be going to New Orleans than Honolulu but there is only one happy camper at the end of this, unfortunately it wasn’t us this.”
The sunshine, mid-seventies is considered mild in Hawaii in January, and a cool Pacific Ocean breeze isn't necessarily a getaway for a football player focused in on the ultimate prize, a Super Bowl. Paradise can wait.
“I don’t really think about coming here. What I think about is playing great, one week at a time. If you break the game down like that you can have a lot of success because you can’t look too far ahead,” eluded 12-time Pro Bowler Champ Bailey. “This is just a bonus for what I did throughout the season, and that’s all it is.”
The best players come to the islands for a well-earn vacation, with a little football mixed in. The best players on the best teams are headed to the big stage for the whole world to see. And it can be hard for some players to differentiate the two other can truly understand the worth of their selection and, ultimately, their participation.
“I had a veteran tell me a long time ago, ‘If you willing stop coming, you stop coming.’ Anytime I’m invited to do something this special I’m coming,” Bailey said.
The destination, despite its most obvious and glamorous perks, may not be the spot they had wished to be, but a trip to the Pro Bowl is a tribute nonetheless.