Pro Bowl 2009: From Eyes of a First-Timer
Every once in awhile, an opportunity comes along that some might call "an offer you can't refuse."
As a sports fan having grown up in New Jersey, the chance see pro athletes up close falls into that category for me.
I co-host a weekly sports-talk radio show called "The Sports Zoo," which airs Friday nights from 7-8 PM in Las Vegas on KLAV-1230AM.
My co-host Rich Perez is a former major leaguer with the Houston Astros and SF Giants and has been on the radio and Internet for over 15 years.
Perez was the originator of the "Best Damn Sports Show" concept now on television.
I met Perez last year when we were the broadcast team for Junior Golden Gloves Boxing in Mesquite, Nevada.
Last October, "The Sports Zoo" went on the air.
With Perez's coaxing, and a little help from family, I was able to attend the NFL Pro Bowl game this past February in Honolulu.
Now, on our show, we aren't exactly void of stars. I mean, Former Minnesota Vikings DB Joey Browner and Women's Boxing Champ Elena "Baby Doll" Reid are no slouches.
But the Pro Bowl was something special.
We did our show live from Niketown in Honolulu the Friday before the Pro Bowl. On Saturday, we were at Aloha Stadium, on the field, while the two teams practiced.
I was able to get some autographs and shake hands with some of the best in the NFL.
Then there was Sunday.
My credentials as a photographer allowed me to be on the field during the entire game, close to the players on the sidelines.
I was even in the end zone when Tony Gonzales scored the AFC's first touchdown (I immediately received a text message from my wife and daughters saying they spotted me on TV).
I was also in the end zone when Larry Fitzgerald caught the go-ahead touchdown that allowed the NFC to win the game.
I then waited on the field after the game and got more autographs and handshakes than I could have ever imagined.
Attached is a slideshow of my experiences when I accepted the "offer I couldn't refuse."
Deep down, I hope it is only the first of many that I can share with you.
So sit back and enjoy the pictures as much as I did taking them while on the field of Aloha Stadium.
Credentials for admission to all the fun!!!!
The keys to the candy store!
The first time I have stepped on a football field since my high school playing days over 25 years ago. What a rush to know that some of the greatest NFL players will be walking out onto this field at any moment.
Players, players and more players.
Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner.
Baltimore Ravens and AFC head coach, John Harbaugh.
Philadelphia Eagles and NFC head coach, Andy Reid (left) with Phil Kohen from The Sports Zoo sports talk show from Las Vegas, NV.
From the New York Giants, kicker John Carney (left) and punter Jeff Feagles.
Who is going to catch the passes?
Caronlina Panthers WR Steve Smith (right) with Rich Perez from The Sports Zoo sports talk show from Las Vegas, NV.
Tennesse Titan QB Kerry Collins.
The Sports Zoo cew from Las Vegas
From left to right: Former Minnesota Viking DB Joey Browner, The Sports Zoo co-host Rich Perez, Women's Boxing Champ and MMA Champ Elena "Baby Doll" Reid, and The Sports Zoo Co-Host Phil Kohen.
Well we had to work sometime....
The Sports Zoo crew live from Niketown in Honolulu, doing their show for the folks back in Las Vegas and for those who listen on the Web.
NFL 2009 Class of Hall of Fame Inductees
Former Minnesota Vikings great Randall McDaniel, and former Buffalo Bills great Bruce Smith.
Of course this also begs the question, "how can McDaniel get in before Joey Browner"?
2009 Hall of Fame Inductee
Former Pittsburgh Steelers DB Rod Woodson.
Peyton's little brother
Super Bowl XLII winner, New York Giants QB Eli Manning.
One of the greatest players to play tight end
Kansas City Chiefs TE Tony Gonzales
Even the cheerleaders have all-stars
A few of the lovely ladies representing their teams.
Smiles everybody, SMILES!
Tamp Bay Buccaneers cheerleader.
New York, New York
New York Jets cheerleader. At least she gave Jets fans something to smile about!
Fishing is good in Miami.
Representing the Miami Dolphins and home of the 2010 Pro Bowl, which will be played prior to the Super Bowl.
Who did this guy root for?
Former New Orleans Saints QB Archie Manning. Oh, and the father of Peyton & Eli.
Is this guy asking for a quarterback for his team?
Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson.
Hey ref, illegal use of the hands!
The next great receiver?
Arizona Cardinals WR and 2009 Pro Bowl MVP, Larry Fitzgerald, makes the winning catch for the NFC.
Another one signs the vest
NY Giants long-snapper Zac DeOssie signs my photographer vest during the game. The players were great about signing it during the game.
Thank you, Hawaii, for the time of my life.
A picture alone can truly be worth a 100 words. Awesome!