Gone, for now at least, are the days when the NFC and AFC top teams are pitted against one another on the Sunday before the Super Bowl from sunny Hawaii. Aloha Stadium in Honolulu is still the location of tonight's 2014 Pro Bowl, but the teams taking the field have been hand picked by Deon Sanders and Jerry Rice in what amounts to a nationally televised fantasy football game.
Sanders and Rice essentially drafted their respective Pro Bowl teams over the past week. Let's start with Team Rice who will throw out Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and Alex Smith at quarterback, three mostly pocket passers who are not afraid to work the ball down the field. Throwing to Larry Fitzgerald and Brandon Marshall will be a treat for this trio, and handing the ball to LeSean McCoy should spring some long carries.
The other two receivers Rice picked are no slouches either in Josh Gordon and Alshon Jeffery. In fact, there's a pattern amongst Rice's wideouts as all are big physical receivers that enjoy punishing defenses by delivering their own blows. Speaking of big targets, Tony Gonzalez and Jimmy Graham at tight end in single coverage are any quarterback's dream. Watch 2014 NFL Pro Bowl online stream live free on NBC Live Extra tonight to see which receiver gets the most looks.
Team Sanders will put out Nick Foles, Andrew Luck and Cam Newton at quarterback, with Foles and Luck the deep threat pocket passers while Newton will be quick to take off running should a hole open up. Their running backs are Jamaal Charles, Eddie Lacy and Alfred Morris, all of which are considered amongst the tops in the NFL and can give any defense fits in trying to stop.
These quarterbacks have some incredible receivers of their own to target including Antonio Brown, AJ Green, Dez Bryant and DeSean Jackson. It's tough to pick a favorite group but if I had to, I would give the edge to Team Rice's receiving corps over Team Sanders if only by a hair. The tight ends for Team Sanders are Jordan Cameron and Jason Witten.
Tonight's 2014 Pro Bowl and its experimental new format will kick-off at a start time of 7:30pm EST / 4:30pm PST, with pre-game coverage starting about a half hour earlier and stiff competition in the form of tonight's Grammy Awards. The game will be televised live in HD over the air on NBC, so check your local listings to find what channel number NBC is where you live.
Don't worry if you don't have TV access to tonight's 2014 NFL Pro Bowl as NBC has set up a location on their website to watch the Pro Bowl online via streaming. Simply go here to NBC Live Extra and you'll be good to go on phones, tablets, iPads and other devices.
My prediction for tonight's 2014 Pro Bowl final score is that Team Rice pulls off the win by a final score of 45-41 with LeSean McCoy being handed the MVP trophy after scoring a pair of touchdowns and racking up over 150 yards running and receiving.