The 2011 Pro Bowl kicks of this evening at 7pm on FOX and also makes its return to Hawaii. The Aloha state had long been the home of the pro bowl, but last year when the NFL decided to move the game to the week before the Superbowl as opposed to the week after, and the game was played in Miami. After last year's pro bowl was the highest rated of all time, they've decided to keep it the week before the Superbowl, but have moved the game back to Honolulu.
Moving the game back to Hawaii seems to have pleased the players, who have always seen the game as mostly a free vacation. Having to play the game in the Superbowl host city like Dallas or Indianapolis sounds more like a chore than relaxing in sunny Hawaii. Although to be fair, last year's Superbowl was in Miami... so it wasn't so bad for the players.
"There's no better place [Hawaii] to have it," Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning said.
Falcons FB Ovie Mughelli: "Nothing against Florida, but Hawaii is Hawaii. For guys who worked hard through minicamp, training camp, the offseason and go through bumps and bruises, I feel Hawaii is so much a better way to reward them than just going down to Miami."
Adrian Peterson: "We can go to Miami any time. Going to Hawaii, over the water, is special."
Cameron Wake: "For them to have the Pro Bowl in Miami, I just got to drive down the street. That isn't as much fun as coming out here and getting away to this beautiful city. The views are amazing. The people have been so accommodating and so pleasant. I put in a vote for Hawaii. My vote is in."
"This is like heaven," Arian Foster said. "I'll die and go to Hawaii. That's all right with me."
The NFC's starting QB Michael Vick got VIP treatment this week when the NFL rented him out the 4,200 square foot president suite at the game's official hotel. While he's been enjoying Hawaii, he says you won't see him out surfing.
"I don't surf," Vick said. "I watch National Geographic too much, and I've seen too many catastrophic situations."