As obscure as the NFL Pro Bowl has become, UCF fans can still look forward to the fact that two of UCF’s premier football stars will be taking the field next Sunday. Asante Samuel and Brandon Marshall are UCF alumni and standouts at their respective positions.
Samuel owns the UCF records for most pass deflections, 38, and finished his UCF career with 127 tackles, 8 picks and 63 punt returns for a total of 673 yards, giving him him an average of 10.7 yards per return. Marshall finished his UCF career with 112 receptions, 1,674 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. He was named the 2005 Hawaii Bowl MVP and also played safety in the 2004 season due to an injury ravaged secondary. Samuel was drafted in 2003 by the New England Patriots, while Marshall was drafted in 2006 by his current team, the Denver Broncos.
In the NFL, both have accomplished impressive feats in a short time span. Samuel has won two Super Bowls with the Patriots (XXXVIII and XXXIX), has been named to three Pro Bowls (2007, 2008, 2009) and was a First Team All-Pro selection in 2007. He signed a six-year, 56 million dollar contract with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2008 and is tied for the most picks in a single season in Eagles history with Don Burroughs.
Marshall has been equally impressive, being named to two Pro-Bowls (2008, 2009), owning the single game reception record (21), having the most receptions over a 5 game span (55), and is only the third second-year player in NFL history to have at least 100 receptions in a single season. Although he has been successful on the field, off the field Marshall has had his share of problems- being arrested four times for issues such as domestic violence towards his fiancee (twice) and an issue on the UCF campus, which included disorderly conduct, resisting an officer, refusal to obey and assaulting an officer. Due to disputes with the Broncos coaching staff, Marshall was suspended for a total of three games last season and reports say he will not be back with Denver next season.
As for the rest of the Pro Bowl rosters, there have been multiple changes due to injuries, players playing in the Super Bowl (which is a tad bit more important mind you) or players just not wanting to play. It’s pretty bad when David Garrard and Vince Young, who have a combined 15 touchdowns to 17 interceptions statistic, are your second and third option to Matt Schaub. None of the premier quarterbacks are playing, and we all know America has a love affair with the position, as does the NFL. I guess the one plus is that Chris Johnson will be playing, as will Adrian Peterson. But still, with more injuries then the Giants’ defense this season, I can’t see how this game is going to entertaining.
The Mid-Summer Classic in baseball at least has the Word Series home field advantage at stake and features, at minimum, one player from every team. And the NBA All-Star Game reinforces the fact that no defense is ever played in professional basketball. This year’s Pro Bowl just furthers the stereotype that this is the worst all-star game in relevant sports and needs a complete overhaul — or just needs to be scrapped completely.
No one wants to pay to see David Garrard flail around in the pocket- I mean even Jags fans don’t want to see their team play. Why would anyone else want to? And as much as Vince Young’s trying to run the option with Ray Rice sounds like fun, I think I’ll pass. But thanks. One plus is that Darrelle Revis can go one-on-one with Larry Fitzgerald. Oh, wait, Fitz is injured. Nevermind then.