We mentioned a few weeks ago that the Pro Bowl was going to be moving from Hawaii to the mainland starting next year, with the 2010 game being played in Miami. At the time, we speculated that the players would be thrilled with moving the game to Miami as part of the expected rotation of sites for a variety of reasons, including the South Beach nightlife, easier travel and better facilities.
(This guy is the voice of reason. Seriously.)
But the factor we didn’t consider was that having the game in Hawaii protects the players from their own worst enemy: themselves. At least that’s the opinion of Redskins Pro Bowler Clinton Portis, who told the ASSOCIATED PRESS that moving the game to Miami is apparently a recipe for disaster:
Portis said in Miami, “there’s too much to get into,” especially with places like South Beach and Fort Lauderdale.
“There’s going to be people getting DUIs, people getting suspended, so I think coming out here is much nicer,” he said. “[Being in Miami], I don’t think it will have the same feel. They don’t have any leis in Miami. They don’t have flower shorts to walk around in.”
So what Portis is saying is that you can’t trust NFL players to play an exhibition game in Miami, especially without the regimented schedule an NFL team goes through in a normal game week. And I suppose he has a point: with its family-friendly resorts and golf courses, there’s really not a lot of problems a player can get into in Hawaii. Unless someone gets passes out in their poi at a luau or gets hammered and urinates on a statue of Don Ho.
And it’s not just people who call themselves Dolemite Jenkins who don’t want to see the game in Miami: acquitted murders feel the same way too! Ray Lewis says he probably wouldn’t play in the Pro Bowl next year in Miami if selected, because moving the game makes it less special.
“That’s no vacation,” he said. “That’s what we regularly do. You don’t want to go to the Pro Bowl and do what you regularly do. You want to come over and do something different. You want to tour the islands and bring the kids over here to see something different.”
The story also quotes Peyton Manning as not wanting to leave Hawaii. But then again, he doesn’t represent the average NFL player: he would have a hard time getting in trouble during a weekend trip to Vegas with Tony Montana, much less hanging out in his hotel room watching game film to prepare for Pro Bowl (and you just know he does this).
I suspect that a lot of players are secretly thrilled with moving the game to Miami precisely because of all the trouble they can get into. But how bad could it be? I mean, the NBA had an All-Star game in Las Vegas, and that turned out … um, never mind.