Pro Bowl Fantasy Draft 2014: Full Reaction to Team Rice vs. Team Sanders Lineups

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIJanuary 23, 2014

Jan 22, 2014; Ko'Olina, HI, USA; Chris Rose (center) interviews Deion Sanders (left) and Jerry Rice at the Pro Bowl draft at the J.W. Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The teams are set for the NFL Pro Bowl in Hawaii. NFL Hall of Famers Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice selected their squads. It's hard to say which team will have the edge, or if there will be any defense played, but hopefully it'll be better than previous years.

Here's a look at the rosters:

Team SandersPositionTeam Rice
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis ColtsQBPhilip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Cam Newton, Carolina PanthersQBAlex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
Nick Foles, Philadelphia EaglesQBDrew Brees, New Orleans Saints
RBLeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
Eddie Lacy, Green Bay PackersRBMatt Forte, Chicago Bears
Alfred Morris, Washington RedskinsRBDeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys
A.J. Green, Cincinnati BengalsWRBrandon Marshall, Chicago Bears
Dez Bryant, Dallas CowboysWRJosh Gordon, Cleveland Browns
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh SteelersWRAlshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia EaglesWRLarry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Jordan Cameron, Cleveland BrownsTEJimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
Jason Witten, Dallas CowboysTETony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons
Branden Albert, Kansas City ChiefsOTJoe Thomas, Cleveland Browns
Trent Williams, Washington RedskinsOTTyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys
Duane Brown, Houston TexansOTJordan Gross, Carolina Panthers
Mario Williams, Buffalo BillsDECameron Jordan, New Orleans Saints
Greg Hardy, Carolina PanthersDECameron Wake, Miami Dolphins
J.J. Watt, Houston TexansDE
Tamba Hali, Kansas City ChiefsOLBJustin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs
Brian Orakpo, Washington Redskins (via trade)OLBJohn Abraham, Arizona Cardinals
Terrell Suggs, Baltimore RavensOLBRobert Mathis, Indianapolis Colts (via trade)
Luke Kuechly, Carolina PanthersILBVontaze Burfict, Cincinnati Bengals
Paul Posluszny, Jacksonville JaguarsILBDerrick Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs
Tim Jennings, Chicago BearsCBAlterraun Verner, Tennessee Titans
Patrick Peterson, Arizona CardinalsCBJoe Haden, Cleveland Browns
Darrelle Revis, Tampa Bay BuccaneersCBBrandon Flowers, Kansas City Chiefs
Brent Grimes, Miami DolphinsCBAntonio Cromartie, New York Jets
T.J. Ward, Cleveland BrownsSAntrel Rolle, New York Giants
Eric Berry, Kansas City ChiefsSJairus Byrd, Buffalo Bills
Eric Weddle, San Diego ChargersSEric Reid, San Francisco 49ers
Justin Tucker, Baltimore RavensKStephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots
Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota VikingsPRDexter McCluster, Kansas City Chiefs
NFL.com

The early reaction from media and fans wasn't overwhelmingly favorable for the Pro Bowl draft. It was a bit long, and even the players seemed to lose interest at some point. Rice kept asking if the audience in attendance was having fun.

Those people were in Hawaii, so it's only natural that their response was "yes!!" Matt Hickey was one of those lucky fans in attendance. He tweeted this pic:

In contrast, fans watching from their living rooms were probably yelling the opposite at their television sets. It's funny how a sunny day changes someone's opinion about a less-than-ideal experience.

 

The Twitter Reaction

The Positives...Sort of

Marco Garcia/Associated Press

In all honesty, it was difficult finding anyone with good things to say about the Pro Bowl draft. However, through due diligence, there were a few that offered their stamp of approval.

Consider This from MichaelWortham.com doesn't think this new idea was a bad one.

He also spoke about the noticeable angst on the face of the players that were selected late in the process. More on that later.

Team Sanders captain, and Houston Texans stud defensive end, J.J. Watt seemingly got bored and started snapping pics of Prime Time in between selections.

JJ Zachiariason of Number Fire was one of the few without a backhanded compliment for the process.

Did this new idea capture the attention of the masses? 

D.J. M'Bewe likes the draft, but he still worries about the game itself.

Fanfare and star power are awesome, but if players don't compete on the field, the game will still lack the "it" factor that makes it compelling for fans. Statements like this one from the Cincinnati Bengals' Vontaze Burfict doesn't paint a competitive picture for Sunday.

He said this to Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com. 

 

The Negatives

Marco Garcia/Associated Press

John Kincade of CBS Sports bashed the process from the beginning. He feels the Pro Bowl is damaging an otherwise solid NFL product. 

The guys from Awful Announcing didn't cut it any slack either.

While everything about the NFL isn't successful, the majority of it is. Continuing to try and prop this concept up doesn't seem to be working. Usually, successful businesses cut their losses after a while.

Christopher Hansen of Bleacher Report asks the Twitterverse to fill in the blank.

Hmm, let's see. It was longer than two episodes of Law and Order: SVU. It was longer than Argo, the film that won Best Picture at the 85th Academy Awards. We could go on forever.

The point is, it was pretty friggin' long.

Will Brinson of CBS Sports said it felt like a celebrity sporting event. 

Was that really the feel the NFL was shooting for? Probably not.

Perhaps something like an old Rock 'n' Jock event would be more compelling than the current concept. You gotta wonder if Burfict would just let Justin Bieber go if he caught a pass over the middle.

The NFL is trying to make fans care about this event. It's a big deal to honor the best in a sport, but there is still a long way to go to change the minds of guys like Mikey from the Morning Freak Show on Pittsburgh's 96.1 KISS FM.

 

The Best Way to Fix This

The fact is, football is a physical and grueling sport. Players don't want to get hurt. Don't believe it? Just ask the Detroit Lions' Glover Quin.

Because of this, players just aren't going to go hard in the game. The NFL knows this, and that's the reason it is trying to create an attraction around the game itself. This idea was a bad one.

It got boring, the players who weren't selected early seemed genuinely insulted in a venue where they should be getting honored. 

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith endured rejection in San Francisco. He was traded to Kansas City where he had a great season in 2013.

On Wednesday, he gets slapped in the face by being "Mr. Not-So-Irrelevant" at the Pro Bowl? That's insane.

The NFL should listen to Quin and fans everywhere. Make a skills competition of some sort centered around the titles that the players actually care about.

Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Here are a few suggestions: the fastest man, strongest arm, most accurate passer, highest vertical leap, strongest man, etc. 

Those competitions would get the fans' attention.

Combine the NFL Honors ceremony to make it a humongous weekend for the NFL. Last but not least, push it back behind the Super Bowl.

AJ Mast/Associated Press

There's no reason players from the two best teams in the NFL should be automatic exclusions from a weekend designed to honor the league's best.

 

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