Jets Pro Bowl Selections 2008-09
As far as February days go in New Jersey, I can't imagine it gets much better than Monday. With the sun out and the temperature in the low 50s, you couldn't help but think about spring and beyond.
But we're expecting snow showers the next couple of days and Randy Lange, our editor-in-chief, has thrown down his shovel. He boarded a plane this afternoon in Newark and is headed to Honolulu, Hawaii.
The National Football League will hold its annual all-star game Sunday and the Jets had a franchise-record and league-high seven players selected to play for the AFC. Brett Favre, who reportedly suffered a torn biceps tendon down the stretch of the season, won't make the trip but that hasn't stopped anyone from speculating about his future.
I can tell you that I'm pretty certain Randy isn't retiring (unless he takes up surfing and just can't put the board down). The team has sent RL to Hawaii for the next week and he'll spend some time covering the Jets' six-pack. Lange is scheduled to arrive to his off-mainland destination at 7:30 PM locally (or 12:30 AM EST).
He will begin reporting on the Jets players tomorrow and Flight Crew rep Ryann. Newyorkjets.com radio will also be in full swing during the week as I run the board from our FP Studios and Randy grabs players to appear on the "Drive."
I guess he'll be covering practices as well, but there isn't much strategy heading into Sunday's season finale at Aloha Stadium. After all, offenses cannot shift, motion or go to a trips formation and the defenses are required to line up in a traditional 4-3, can't blitz or play press coverage. There will be a tight end on the field every play and linebackers won't be subbed out for additional defensive backs (nickel or dime).
While more than a glorified pillow fight, this won't exactly be a death match either. But I'd love to be on the winning side in this one. In addition to an all expenses paid trip to paradise, members of last year's NFC winning squad took home $40,000 each. And the losers didn't fare too bad as they each received $20,000 checks. Maybe the game would lose some of its lovey-dovey feel if it was a winner-take all event, but I digress.
Last week, the NFL announced that the Pro Bowl would be blacked out locally in Hawaii if the remaining 5,000 tickets were not sold out sold 72 hours before kickoff. The state of the economy has resulted in a decline in tourism in Hawaii and that has a ripple effect. Last year's all-star battle resulted in an estimated $28 million in visitor spending and $2.5 million in state taxes.
The 2010 Pro Bowl will be played in Miami's Dolphin Stadium one week before the Super Bowl, but the NFL would like to continue to have Hawaii in its rotation. But no deal has been reached, so Aloha will mean goodbye at least temporarily.
Aloha will mean hello for Randy in a few hours. This guy's a workaholic, but we hear people like to take things slow in the Aloha State. He'll lodge at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa, so there could be worse places to rest and relax. It's a business trip but Randy, who's making his first trip to Hawaii, should work fast and then take some time to soak it all in.
There is a bit of irony to this week and it has to do with the coaching staffs. The Ravens, losers of the AFC Championship Game, and the Eagles, losers of the NFC Championship Game, will lead this weekend. But Rex Ryan, the Ravens defensive coordinator the past four seasons, flew north to Jersey and is hard at work on the Jets in early February.
Ryan's professional jump meant an extended stay in Jersey instead of a Hawaiian vacation. Snow showers on the way, but the Jets' forecast with Ryan on board looks promising nonetheless.