HONOLULU, HI — For the 31st time, the Pro Bowl returned to Hawaii but this time before the Super Bowl. Two years ago, the NFL decided to move the Pro Bowl to the week before the Super Bowl and rotate the game.
The NFC stars forced six turnovers in a 55-41 win. The NFC led 42-0 at one point and 42-7 at halftime. Vikings star Adrian Peterson ran for 80 yards, while Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald, Jr. scored a touchdown.
The winning NFC squad received $45,000 per player while the AFC players received $22,000. The Vikings had four players selected for the game: Peterson, Kevin Williams, Antione Winfield and E.J. Henderson.
Super Bowl Sunday
This week, I’ll be in Dallas for Super Bowl XLV. It’s the first time Dallas has hosted the Super Bowl, and this will by my 31st Super Bowl. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers will try to join Bart Star and Brett Favre as Packer Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks. The Packers are 3-1 in previous Super Bowls, while the Pittsburgh Steelers are 6-1 in Super Bowls.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is gunning for his third Super Bowl; if he wins Sunday he’ll join Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw, and Tom Brady as the only quarterbacks to win three or more Super Bowls.
Cowboys Stadium seats 100,000 fans; it’s been 24 years since a Super Bowl crowd was that large. I think the Steelers will win a hard-fought 21-17 battle over the favored Packers.
Kevin Durant a young rising NBA star
It’s no secret Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant is the real deal. Last year, he finished second to LeBron James for league MVP honors. He leads the NBA again in scoring at 28.3 points a game. Last year, Durant was All-NBA first team.
Along with teammate Russell Westbrook, they have the Thunder on top of the Northwest Division by two games over Utah. Durant has played in over 250 NBA games, and only Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James have scored more points faster. Durant was the youngest player in history to lead the league in scoring at 30.1 last year, and scored 30 points or more in 47 games.
Wednesday night in Minneapolis, Durant tied his career high with 47 points and 18 rebounds in a 118-117 overtime win over the Timberwolves. Kevin Love and Michael Beasley combined to score 61. Love had 31 with 21 rebounds, the 40th time he has had a double-double. Beasley scored 30 points with nine rebounds and seven assists.
The NBA announced the starters for the All-Star game to be held Feb. 19 in Los Angeles: East starters Amare Stoudemire (New York), LeBron James, Dwyane Wade (Miami), Dwight Howard (Orlando) and Derrick Rose (Chicago); West starters Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles), Chris Paul (New Orleans), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City), Carmelo Anthony (Denver) and Yao Ming (Houston).
Green Bay and the Lombardi legacy
It’s amazing how history seems to light a fuse! In New York on Broadway, there’s a play called Lombardi. It’s a smash hit. HBO produced a terrific sports film last year called Lombardi: the powerful story about the great ex-Green Bay Packers Head Coach Vince Lombardi — the legend, the myth, the man. And on cue, the Green Bay Packers become the first NFC Wild Card sixth-seeded team to reach the Super Bowl.
Fitz Notes & Quotes
TNT’s Charles Barkley stirred controversy worldwide for Nike when he said years ago that “athletes are not role models.” Recently when Auburn All-American QB Cam Newton was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, Barkley dropped another stunner: “If he [Newton] doesn’t win the Heisman Trophy, that should be investigated. That would be the biggest rip-off since we stole everything from the Indians.” We?
It’s been eight years in a row now that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has been named NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver. I thought Jimmy Johnson was the greatest ever, after winning his fifth straight chase NASCAR driving title. Earnhardt has not won a race in over two years. The Daytona 500 is coming up.
NBA rookie sensation Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers is averaging 22 points and 12 rebounds a game and is the leading candidate to be Rookie of the Year. The last rookie to be selected an NBA All-Star and Rookie of the Year? Tim Duncan of San Antonio.
It’s a busy week in sports with the NFL Pro Bowl game returning to Hawaii, the National Hockey League All-Star game and the Senior Bowl with all the top seniors in college football gathering in Mobile, Alabama. Along with all the top NFL general managers/head coaches, vice presidents Leslie Frazier and Rick Spielman of the Vikings are in Mobile for the Senior Bowl.
Tiger Woods is back with his first appearance of the year in San Diego at Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open. Woods has slipped to number three in the world rankings after not winning at all in 2010.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, and on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm; he also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.