HONOLULU — The Single Marine & Sailor Program joined with Pearl Harbor’s Liberty Program were given the opportunity to attend the 2014 National Football League Pro Bowl and hold a tailgate across the street from the Aloha Stadium, Jan. 26, 2014.
The Pro Bowl is an all-star game for the National Football League and features players from the National Football Conference and the American Football Conference who were voted into the game by coaches, players and fans, according to http://www.sportingcharts.com.
Fifty passes were available to any single Marine or sailor that included transportation, a tailgate barbecue and Pro Bowl admission.
“There was a lot of food and a lot of games to keep us entertained while we waited for the (Pro Bowl) to start,” said Sgt. Ruben Diaz, truck master with Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay.
The SM&SP served hamburgers, hot dogs, steak, potatoes and macaroni and cheese. Members played games of football and cornhole while waiting for kick off.
“They could play games, eat and just hang out,” said Karley Peterson, SM&SP coordinator. “They were free to leave and walk over to the stadium whenever they wanted.”
This year the NFL chose teams Fantasy Football style instead of the usual NFC versus the AFC. Retired NFL Hall of Famers and Pro Bowl veterans Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice were selected as coaches and drafted their teams from a list of available players. Team Rice wore grey and green while Team Sanders wore white and orange.
A cheerleader from each NFL team was chosen to appear at the Pro Bowl in a joint cheer squad. “The weather was crappy but I had a good time with my friends,” Diaz said. “We ended up getting a better view as people ran from the rain.”
Before the game began, service members from every branch marched out onto the field for the singing of the national anthem. The halftime show was a short concert by musical guest Fall Out Boy and a dance by the Pro Bowl cheerleaders.
The final score of the game was Team Rice 22, Team Sanders 21. Sanders was in the lead until the last two minutes of the fourth quarter when Team Rice dominated with a final touchdown and a successful two-point conversion.
“This is the fourth year we’ve done this,” Peterson explained. “It was a great turnout. The guys love the opportunity that is exclusive to Hawaii. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing for some of them while they are stationed here.”