Welcome to the 2011 Professional Football Fans Convention

Sunday, January 30, 2011

No, it wasn't much of a game. The NFC racked up 42 unanswered points and never had to look back as they marched to a 55-41 victory.

But the game was incidental. The Pro Bowl was really a gathering of professional football fans to celebrate their love for all things pigskin. And enjoy some Hawaii weather.

But that was almost not to be. Thick, dark clouds parked above us and unleashed a downpour that sent tailgaters everywhere running for shelter. Fortunately it lasted only a half hour and made the day comparatively cool in the 70s.

The vibe was wildly festive. Beer flowed, and the (very large) extended family of NFL fans bickered good-naturedly at each other about their favorite teams. The cheeseheads and Steeler Nation were particularly amped and ready for next week. An NFC fan stood and addressed his section comprised of mainly AFC fans: "The NFC. It's almost too easy!" Fans crowded close to the field calling to the pros and mascots for pictures and autographs. Yes, the game was awful, but no one was having an awful time.

The kickoff and halftime entertainment were primo, and they didn't shirk on fireworks. Anuhea and her band spotlighted her great island-style music at the half, but we needed more Sheila E! She drummed powerfully for 45 seconds and disappeared just as everyone was dusting off their popping moves. Remember, NFL: When it comes to Sheila E, more is more.

The highlight had to be the fourth quarter streakers: There were three of them I think. I can't say for certain because I was on the field when one launched over the railing right next to me, broke a security tackle and ran free onto the field. Evidently there were others though; two were escorted out near me (see photos). I could hear the boos when police finally brought them down. Sure, it's exciting when you've got back-to-back interceptions, or interceptions for touchdowns (two of those) — but when the outcome is not in question, it's time to send in the streakers. Even if they were clothed.

Regardless, it was great having the Pro Bowl back in Honolulu and we look forward to their return next year — in a, hopefully, more competitive game.

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