Cronkite Header

Cronkite News has moved to a new home at Use this site to search archives from 2011 to May 2015. You can search the new site for current stories.

Valley crowd, environment impress Pro Bowl players

Email this story
Print this story

If the NFL was hoping to use the 2015 Pro Bowl as an audition for future games in Arizona, it’s safe to say University of Phoenix Stadium will be getting a callback. At least if you ask the players.

“A great crowd, a beautiful field, a great stadium,” Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck said. “It’s great to see all the fan support.”

Players nearly unanimously said they enjoyed the experience and were surprised with the atmosphere inside the stadium. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said he couldn’t even tell it was an exhibition game.

“The turnout here at the stadium is just like an NFL game,” Romo said. “It’s just a great thing to see. They’ve got a lot of passionate fans.”

Those fans were put on display every time one of the hometown Arizona Cardinals was featured. They all received raucous cheers during pregame introductions and when the rival Seattle Seahawks were interviewed on the big screen the boos were deafening to the point that the announcer over the public address system was inaudible.

“I definitely noticed that,” Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson said with a grin. “Thank you.”

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. dominated the game but some Cardinals shared the spotlight.

Cardinals special-teamer Justin Bethel came within inches of blocking a field goal in the first quarter and Peterson and Antonio Cromartie provided a classic bit when Cromartie stepped in front of Peterson and dropped an interception late in the game. The ball bounced to Peterson, who picked it up and chucked it at Cromartie, who dropped it again.

“He definitely took one away from me,” Peterson said. “It kind of messed up my MVP hopes.”

Light, fun moments like that define the Pro Bowl, whether it was Watt dancing on the big screen before a play or San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle making good on his beard’s guarantee of a victory.

Next season the Pro Bowl will be back in Hawaii but it would surprise no one if Arizona’s first Pro Bowl proved not to be its last.

“Getting acclimated with Hawaii, this year was a little bit different but at the same time it was a lot of fun,” Peterson said. “It’s definitely getting more fans engaged
in the game.”