Players Love the Pro Bowl and Other NFL Bullets

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Players Love the Pro Bowl, Cardinals Head Coach Finalists, Back to the Polar Vortex, and Other NFL Bullets


It’ll be a slower day at Bleacher Nation NFL as I pack it up and head home this afternoon. But before I return to the polar vortex that is Chicago, let’s talk about the weekend that was. I caught Seahawks rookie cornerback Tariq Woolen and Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs doing the jersey swap in the locker room after the Pro Bowl on Sunday.

  • Funny story: I actually didn’t get the picture off in time, but Woolen was kind enough to put his jersey back down and rattle off a faux signature for the shot. That was the mood in the locker room, though. Happy and fun.
  • That’s important because I’ve long contested that the Pro Bowl stunk because the players weren’t interested in being there. Not this year, though. Woolen, Diggs, and every other player I spoke to said that they loved the new format.
  • Cee Dee Lamb said that it made the players more willing to compete and engage in the games. Packers corner Jaire Alexander called it the best thing the NFL has done.
  • Getting the players back on board with the event is the first step in making the product enjoyable again. There’s also the other dynamic: the NFL’s reimagining of the Pro Bowl is geared toward the youth demographic. Realizing that they will likely never win back a generation of fans that have lived through some real clunkers, it felt like the NFL was determined to gear this event toward their next generation of fans.
  • Don’t get me wrong. There are still things to iron out. I thought the Skills Competition on Thursday was a swing and a miss. The Raiders training facility in Henderson, where it was hosted, is enormous. They missed an opportunity to have more fans in attendance and do more things by not utilizing the three fields they have outside of the facility.
  • The best catch finale on Sunday was highly unentertaining. Still, I thought the scoring system that impacted the final game and the games themselves had a ton of potential to be fun in the future.
  • So, let’s take a look at some of the best moments from Sunday before we move on. Geno Smith was very good in the first game, but Kirk Cousins was the closer for the NFC. Eli Manning said that he did that on purpose. Justin Jefferson called it a great strategy. Cousins backed it up with a clutch performance. YOU LIKE THAT!?
  • Plus, this touchdown throw by Trevor Lawrence to Stefon Diggs was awesome!
  • But Diggs’ celebration was even better!
  • But we can’t forget about this play. The design was excellent. The execution? Not so much. Stefon Diggs was picked off by his brother Trevon near the goal line.
  • How’s that for conversation at the next family dinner?
  • So, with the Pro Bowl in the books, we turn our attention to the Super Bowl. And of course, the Cardinals and Colts finally figuring out what they’re going to do about their head coaching vacanies.
  • Last night, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that the Cardinals notified candidates who have been eliminated from consideration. Steelers assistant coach Brian Flores, Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, and Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo are three known finalists.
  • Seeing Brian Flores coach Kyler Murray would be next-level drama I’m here for. Maybe the Cardinals can be on Hard Knocks in-season again if that happens? I have no idea whether or not they can. But I would like to see it.
  • Fowler also reported that Cardinals’ DC Vance Joseph is not one of the finalists for the head coaching job.
  • The Panthers are hiring former Broncos DC Ejiro Evero as their new defensive coordinator:
  • So, that kind of lines Sean Desai up for the Vikings DC job at this point.
  • In case you missed it, Bears wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown helped his brother Amon-Ra win the best catch competition:
  • I’m just glad it wasn’t the Bulls:

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.