Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice contributed to making the 2014 Pro Bowl a success by serving as alumni team captains.
The most important part of their role was drafting teams to compete in the newly unconferenced NFL all-star game. With the popularity of fantasy football, having a draft to select the teams made perfect sense for the league.
Although, the NHL beat them to the idea.
Sanders and Rice were the perfect pair for the inaugural game with the new format. They are Hall of Famers, competed against each other and won a Super Bowl together with the San Francisco 49ers.
The duo added to the entertainment value of the game and created some buzz leading up to it.
They engaged in some friendly trash talk over social media leading up to the game. Sanders went as far as saying that he would be on the field to help his team win.
Ladies and Gentlemen I am officially announcing "I WILL SUIT UP IN HAWAII" Please let @JerryRice know that a real captain leads by example!— DeionSanders (@DeionSanders) January 13, 2014
Deion I would beat you down like the old days! We can suit up but it would be very painful for you!— Jerry Rice (@JerryRice) January 14, 2014
Although they never took the field against each other in the 2014 Pro Bowl, the battle between Team Sanders and Team Rice had moments that felt like a real football game, unlike previous years. They will certainly be a tough act to follow.
If the NFL decides to keep the format for the 2015 Pro Bowl, they will have some big captain shoes to fill. There are a lot of big-name former players they could choose, though there is some criteria they should maintain.
Former players should be in the Hall of Fame, still be visible to the average fan and retired after the year 2000.
The retirement year is important.
Players that retired before 2000 will have been away from the football field for over 15 years by the time next year’s Pro Bowl comes around. It is important that the captains are relevant to the widest age range of fans.
Terry Bradshaw against Roger Staubach might be intriguing to some NFL fans, though most young fans would need to use a search engine to know what teams they played for.
Here are 10 players that should be considered to serve as the alumni captains for the 2015 Pro Bowl.