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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old February 8th, 2007, 22:33 Thread Starter
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Pro-Bowl Hawaii/Jan 10-2007

NFC-AFC Preview

By JUSTIN EINHORN, STATS Senior Editor
February 8, 2007

The AFC was widely considered to be superior to the NFC this season, and the Super Bowl only further proved that. It's hard to say if the Pro Bowl will do the same, particularly considering how the Super Bowl MVP sounds.

"There won't be a lot of motivation going on out there," Peyton Manning said. "This will be a cruise-control kind of week."

Finally winning a title has made Manning take his seventh trip to Hawaii a lot less seriously, though he will add to many of his Pro Bowl records on Saturday as he returns as the AFC starter to cause more problems for an NFC defense.

Manning has more attempts, completions, passing yards and touchdown passes in this game than any other player in its 36-year history. The 2005 Pro Bowl MVP would often show up early on game day and work very hard in practice, but that might not be the case this time around.

He and four Indianapolis teammates were the last Pro Bowlers to arrive in Hawaii following their 29-17 win over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI. Manning was 25-of-38 for 247 yards and a touchdown as he and the Colts fought through a rainstorm, something that never seems to be a problem at Aloha Stadium.

"I wouldn't say I'm very well-rested, but it's the kind that you like," Manning said Wednesday, shortly after his flight during which the Colts watched their championship victory for the first time.

The man to coach Manning is the same one that lost to him in the AFC title game, with New England's Bill Belichick on the sidelines.

"Bill even said that -- as much as he hated to say it -- congratulations," Colts center Jeff Saturday said.

Belichick's Patriots were one of three AFC teams to go unbeaten in four inter-conference games this season, part of the AFC's 40-24 record versus the NFC. No NFC team went unbeaten against the AFC, and only Chicago had more than 10 regular-season victories.

All four AFC division champions won more than 10, led by a San Diego team that went 14-2 and has 10 Pro Bowlers -- not including injured quarterback Phillip Rivers.

Another reason many felt the AFC was so much better this season -- star power. The AFC passing game alone is impressive, with Manning joined by Colts wideouts Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, as well as Cincinnati standouts Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson, and the league's top tight ends in Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez.

The NFC does have MVP runner-up Drew Brees, but even he isn't so recognizable and the conference's wideouts besides Steve Smith certainly aren't -- Donald Driver, Anquan Boldin and Roy Williams. The backup quarterbacks are Marc Bulger and Tony Romo.

While the AFC's running backs include record-setter LaDainian Tomlinson and Larry Johnson, who finished 1-2 in the league in rushing, the NFC's only one not appearing in Hawaii for the first time is Tiki Barber.

This game serves as a final send-off for Barber, who announced earlier in the season he was retiring. Though San Francisco's Frank Gore is starting for the NFC, Barber is sure to see plenty of carries in his final game in uniform following a career in which he finished 17th all-time with 10,449 rushing yards.

"While I'll miss the season, the guys, the competition, coming out here and playing the Pro Bowl, I'm ready for (retirement)," Barber said. "So I'm not really sad. It's a celebration in many ways."

An added bonus for Barber is he's joined on the NFC roster by twin brother Ronde, the Tampa Bay cornerback.

Bucs teammate Derrick Brooks, the MVP of last year's Pro Bowl, will be making his 10th straight appearance. He only made the team as an injury replacement for Bears linebacker Lance Briggs, who joins teammates Brian Urlacher, Olin Kreutz and Tommie Harris as players who had to give up starting jobs for the NFC due to injuries.

Chicago, however, will still be well represented on Saints coach Sean Payton's squad, with three of the conference's five special teamers. That group includes Devin Hester, who returned the Super Bowl's opening kickoff for a touchdown.



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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old February 8th, 2007, 22:35 Thread Starter
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Barber plans to stay busy after retirement

By JAYMES SONG, AP Sports Writer
February 6, 2007

HONOLULU (AP) -- Tiki Barber will end his football career much like it began when he was 8 years old -- with a wide grin and as teammates with his twin brother.

The Pro Bowl on Saturday will be the final game for Barber, who is retiring after 10 seasons with the New York Giants. His brother Ronde, from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is a cornerback on the NFC team.

"It's like a family vacation paid for by the NFL," said Barber, who goes out as the NFL's 17th leading rusher with 10,449 yards.

Wearing a floral lei and looking out at the Waikiki skyline, Tiki Barber said he has no second thoughts about his decision to retire.

"It's exciting, really, because I had a great career and it ended on my terms," he said. "I wasn't carried off the field on a stretcher. I didn't sustain a major injury that prevented me from doing what I love to do. Now I get to do something else."

His only regret is not being able to win a Super Bowl. He played in the game in 2001 when the Giants were beaten by the Baltimore Ravens.

"My fear, which ultimately came true, is I wouldn't get a chance to try again," he said. "That's the NFL and the unpredictable nature of team sports. There's been a lot of greats that never got a chance to even play."

The 31-year-old halfback said he still has some game left in him. He proved it this past season by running for 1,662 yards, his fifth straight 1,000-yard season and the second-highest total of his career.

Barber rushed for 371 yards in the final two games alone, including a team-record 234 yards in a win over Washington that earned the Giants a playoff berth.

"I like the saying, 'Always leave them wanting more. Leave too early rather than too late,"' he said.

This past season, Barber joined Marshall Faulk and Marcus Allen as the only NFL players with 10,000 yards rushing and 5,000 yards receiving. And the weekly punishment on his 5-foot-10, 205-pound frame has taken its toll.

He specifically remembers the second game of the season against the Philadelphia Eagles, who later defeated the Giants in the playoffs on a last-second field goal.

"Jeremiah Trotter. I think he hit me every play," Barber said. "I only rushed for 40 yards or so and we ended up coming back and winning the game but physically, I took a pounding."

Unlike previous years, it took until about Friday for Barber to recover.

"You start to realize this is a young man's game. This is for guys who can get hit, knocked up, beat up and be fine on Tuesday," he said.

Barber, one of the NFL's most personable players, nearly retired after the 2005 season when he ran for a team-record 1,860 yards. He returned for another year because he thought the team was talented enough to win the Super Bowl.

While the Giants showed signs of being a Super Bowl contender by opening 6-2, they struggled with off-field bickering and team chemistry while stumbling into the postseason with an 8-8 record.

"The circumstances of getting beat up, losing the passion a little bit for it, told me it was time to do something else," he said.

Barber will keep busy.

He's already building a career in TV broadcasting. He plans to spend more time with his two young sons, A.J. and Chason, and write more children's books, with one targeted at adolescents scheduled to be released this year.

He's also working on a personal memoir, and is an investor in a company that makes a fruit-infused drink called "O Water."

"I'm in temporary retirement," Barber said. "I'm not sitting on a hammock for the rest of my life."

In Honolulu, he's surrounded by the warm sunshine, teammates and family. He knows this is the perfect time to hang up his No. 21 jersey for good.

"I got off the plane. Got a lei. Got a kiss. And I knew the next 10 days of my life would be beautiful," he said. "While I'll miss the season, the guys, the competition, coming out here and playing the Pro Bowl, I'm ready for it.

"So I'm not really sad. It's a celebration in many ways."

There's one immediate benefit of being a retiree. He gets to try new things he never would've before, like surfing.

"Now that I'm retiring and I can afford hurting myself, I may attempt it," he said.


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old February 8th, 2007, 22:38 Thread Starter
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Ronde Barber, left, of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tiki Barber of the New York Giants smile as they stand together during an NFC practice for the upcoming Pro Bowl football game, at the Ihilani Resort in Kapolei, Hawaii, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2007.
(AP Photo/Ronen Zilberman)

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old February 11th, 2007, 11:33 Thread Starter
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AFC 31, NFC 28

By GREG BEACHAM, AP Sports Writer
February 10, 2007



HONOLULU (AP) -- Even while the star-studded AFC cruised to a comfortable lead in the Pro Bowl, Carson Palmer could sense a wacky finish lurking just beyond everybody's control.

"With this much talent, anybody could change the game at any time," the Cincinnati quarterback said. "You've got to expect something crazy to happen, because it will."

Palmer's hunch proved correct in the improbable final minutes -- but thanks to Palmer's poise and a costly NFC penalty, the AFC's Hawaiian vacation ended with another win.

Nate Kaeding kicked a 21-yard field goal as time expired to cap another strong drive led by Palmer, the MVP of the AFC's 31-28 victory Saturday in the 57th edition of the NFL's all-star game.

The NFC trailed 28-14 with 3 minutes to play before injecting a little drama into this normally mellow exhibition. Steven Jackson scored on a fourth-down TD run, and Ronde Barber recovered an onside kick to set up Anquan Boldin's 47-yard TD catch from Tony Romo with 1:48 left -- followed by a tying 2-point conversion catch by Carolina's Steve Smith.

Suddenly, the AFC's $40,000 bonuses for winning the game were in doubt. But just as quickly as the NFC's playmakers got back in the game, the AFC got it together again.

"I had a feeling they were going to have one more shot," Jackson said. "These games are all about who lands the last punch, and Carson is a great player."

Palmer, who passed for 190 yards and two touchdowns, calmly got the AFC across midfield -- and then Arizona's Adrian Wilson, mistakenly believing Palmer's long pass had been tipped, leveled Chad Johnson at the goal line before the throw reached them.

The 39-yard pass-interference penalty put the ball near the goal line. San Diego's Kaeding easily made his field goal, setting off fireworks at sold-out Aloha Stadium for the talent-rich AFC's eighth win in the last 11 Pro Bowls.

Palmer threw a 42-yard TD pass to Johnson and a 72-yarder to Reggie Wayne, and Baltimore's Ed Reed intercepted two passes before the frantic finish. Palmer, who took over for Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning after just two series, went 8-for-17 in his first Pro Bowl appearance after missing last season's game with a knee injury.

"This is all just a fun game," said Reed, who tied the Pro Bowl record for interceptions. "Carson made two great throws, and those guys made great catches. We needed those points."

League MVP LaDainian Tomlinson also ran for a score as the AFC underlined its regular-season superiority -- but until things got tight, neither side cared much about the result in the league's annual postseason showcase.

Instead, they welcomed new stars such as Vince Young -- the first rookie quarterback here since Dan Marino in 1984 -- and said goodbye to older pros who won't be back.

Tiki Barber, the New York Giants' running back who's retiring after a 10-year career, scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter. Kansas City guard Will Shields, who appeared in his record-tying 12th Pro Bowl, also is contemplating retirement.

Baltimore's Adalius Thomas returned Marc Bulger's fumble 70 yards for a confusing score in the first half, but there was no confusion about the game's best play: Sean Taylor, the maverick Washington safety, broke the unwritten rule about hard hits in an exhibition when he viciously leveled Buffalo punter Brian Moorman on an attempted fake in the third quarter.

"Believe it or not, it wasn't as bad as it looked," Moorman said. "It was just hard. It took me a second to realize that it didn't hurt so bad, so I got right back up."

Tiki Barber threw an interception and rushed for just 4 yards on seven carries, but the veteran scored the game's first touchdown. He got a standing ovation from the crowd and his fellow players when a video tribute to his career was shown on the scoreboard with 1:58 to play.

"I've been ready for this for a while, and I've been expecting it," Barber said. "I'm excited. I'm not sad and upset that it's over. I'm just real happy that it happened the way that it did, and I achieved all that I have, and get to go out on my terms."

Romo passed for 156 yards in the second half, and San Francisco's Frank Gore made an early TD run. The crowd actually booed Romo in the second half as the NFC's early comeback attempt stalled, but the Dallas quarterback led three strong final drives.

He was stopped on a fourth-down quarterback keeper on the first drive, but after Young fumbled, Jackson made a gutsy scoring run on another fourth down with 2:54 to play. The NFC tried a fake on the conversion attempt, but Romo -- who had no trouble holding for kicks after his infamous flub in a playoff loss to Seattle -- couldn't find an open receiver.

Manning capped his week of tropical relaxation with 67 yards passing in just two series as the AFC's starting quarterback. NFC starter Drew Brees also played just two series before dislocating his left elbow -- a scary moment for Sean Payton, his coach with both the Saints and the NFC squad, but one that's unlikely to affect next season.



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Que la chupen., y la sigan chupando !!!!

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old February 11th, 2007, 16:22
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Carson Palmer is that dam good
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old February 11th, 2007, 17:37
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this thing still goes on??? without a doubt the worst All Star game in all sports...
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old February 12th, 2007, 21:00 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambis
this thing still goes on??? without a doubt the worst All Star game in all sports...
Man C'Mon....the MLS wins that Division by a frikken M I L E !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chairman of the BORED © !!!!!& MASTER BAITER ©

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Que la chupen., y la sigan chupando !!!!

National Champions. 83 87 89 91 and 2001

Xtratime is FULL of BULLIES, and not enough Indians.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old February 13th, 2007, 02:25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colocolo
Man C'Mon....the MLS wins that Division by a frikken M I L E !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Actually i enjoyed the MLS All Star game last year since we got to see Chelsea lose and this year i get to see one of my favorite teams in Celtic.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old February 13th, 2007, 08:40 Thread Starter
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I still think the Major League Shennannigans and all their affairs is just that...a frikken circus !!!!

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Que la chupen., y la sigan chupando !!!!

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