Redskins Brian Orakpo, London Fletcher Play in the Super Bowl Prequel

Anthony BrownCorrespondent IJanuary 30, 2010

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 13:  Brian Orakpo #98 of the Washington Redskins looks on during a NFL preseason football game against the Baltimore Ravens on August 13, 2009 at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland.   (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Only two members of the Washington Redskins will carry the colors in Sunday's 2010 Pro Bowl Game in Miami.

Brian Orakpo made the second team roster as a rookie at linebacker. Some controversy attached to Orakpo at linebacker. He and his many fans preferred to play at defensive end where he could go for broke as a pass rusher. Former Skins defensive coordinator Greg Blache had Orakpo swing from DE to outside linebacker, depending on down and distance.

Although Orakpo struggled at OLB, he gradually got better and still managed 11 sacks.

How smart was that move? New Redskin defensive coordinator Jim Haslett  might install the 3-4 defensive alignment with Orakpo as a beast of an outside linebacker. Orakpo backs up the Cowboys' OLB DeMarcus Ware in the Pro Bowl and Ware is just the player Orakpo has the chance to emulate.

It's an awesome thought, but let's see how it plays out next fall.

London Fletcher-Baker make his Pro Bowl appearance, albeit through the back door. Fletcher was the No. 2 tackler in the NFL in 2009, but only made the Pro Bowl as the alternate for Jonathan Vilma was excused to play in the Super Bowl next weekend.

It's really inexcusable that the NFL keeps overlooking Fletcher for the honor. I hope he has a big game.

Lots of people are not happy that the Pro Bowl is played this weekend  as a prequel to the Super Bowl. It's an experiment I've wanted to see for a long time.

The two week gap between the conference championships and the NFL World Championship game made the 1970s when it took two weeks to manage the logistics of selling tickets and moving teams, media and fans to the Super Bowl site. Before the Internet, this was all done by snail mail and paper airline tickets.

The Pro Bowl was always anti-climatic, played as an exhibition game in far off Hawaii as a reward for better players. A lot of veteran players tried to get out of it if they were nursing injuries.

Today, the NFL could move the Super Bowl up to the week after the conference championships and still sell out the stadium and surrounding hotels. The Super Bowl is not, NOT , about filling the stadiums. It's about money the league makes for providing a venue for the two week long corporate party before the big game. So why not make the Pro Bowl the exhibition to the big dance?

Who can afford to fly off to for off Honolulu in these troubled times? It's tough for the common fan. It's tough for the high rollers whose company took government bail-out money last fall.

Miami is a lot closer and cheaper. Also cheaper are tickets to the game. Upper deck seats to Sunday's Pro Bowl were going for $70 on Stub Hub. Upper deck seats to the 2010 Super Bowl run from $1,588.00 per seat and up on Stub Hub.

So the NFL can give two weeks and two games with real people like you and me to hit the Pro Bowl and take in the festivities of Super Bowl Week, while keeping the big money happy with Super Bowl parties leading up to the big game.

Purist won't be happy , but Super Bowl Week is about money. Lots and lots of money.

I can't afford either, so I'll have the Pro Bowl on mostly for background noise. 


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