During Sunday's Pro Bowl game in Hawaii you'll see the sideline guys from Fox interviewing players as they come off the field, something you'd never see in a regular season game as players normally huddle immediately together with their coaches to make adjustments. NFL officials will likely keep that detested yellow flag mostly in their pockets in this one, and you'll also see more players busting out celebrations Ocho-Cincolike. In fact the normally unassuming 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis said he's even got a little something up his sleeve.
"I'm just going to make this a fun game and I'm going to do some stuff that I wouldn't normally do," said Willis. "I'm going to have some fun and that's what it's about. All week they've been telling me, 'Have fun. This is the Pro Bowl. This is a great experience.' I'm going to do some things I wouldn't normally do, but not in a bad way. Just watch. Tune in to the game, you'll see."
But all of the fun and games go out the window right about when the game slips into the fourth quarter when the players start adding up their expenses of the week and realize the extra money allotted to the winners sure could come in handy.
"When you watch it on television it is very relaxed and calm for the first three quarters," said first-time Pro Bowl Browns wide receiver Braylen Edwards. "But, around that fourth quarter guys start thinking about winning and the extra money and I think it gets pretty serious."
Former 49ers linebacker Julian Peterson has a few Pro Bowls under his belt and said that sometimes the tempo even changes much earlier in the game.
"In the beginning we all say 'Hello. How you doing,' but then, somebody violates the tempo. Once somebody breaks up the tempo, that's when people start building up the intensity and start tackling a little bit harder," said Peterson. "You see it get a little more competitive towards the end anyhow, but once the tempo is violated, that's when all that 'let's get after it' really happens."
One candidate who just can't seem to ever turn off his competitive nature and thus likely to violate that tempo early is Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.
"It's been a fun week of practice but I think once Sunday rolls around that's over with," said Manning. "The competitive juices start flowing, you are playing for your respective conferences and your team and so everyone's pride comes into play and they'll be some healthy competition out there."
Regardless of the course this game takes, Willis and punter Andy Lee are ready to go.
"It's just been a great week all the way around but it's exciting that the game is almost here and I'm looking forward to the competition," said Lee.
Willis' excitement received an extra boost after Saturday's open practice at Aloha Stadium.
"I can't wait to get out here and perform for all of the fans out here," said Willis. "They are ready to see an all-star game. I don't know how it is going to go because this is my first one but I'm sure we'll give them a show."
Things to Watch For…
Cowboys safety Roy Williams is apparently on the radar for a few of the guys on the AFC squad including Peyton Manning and Kellen Winslow.
"I look out here and there's Roy Williams. I've always wanted to play against Shawne Merriman back in practice, but on Sunday, I'm looking for Roy Williams," said Winslow. "I want Roy Williams."
"There are many great players over here, but there are a couple of guys like Roy Williams who is over here every year and I've always got to watch him roaming over there in the secondary," said Manning.
Bengals wide receiver said he's most looking forward to the one on one battles with Packers corner Al Harris.
"I'm really looking forward to going against Al Harris," said Johnson. "I haven't seen him in a long time. I think we haven't played against one another in two, maybe three years so it's going to be a fun time."
There are a few players over here because of their special team prowess, but 11 are needed so expect to see guys playing on special teams who have never before had to do so.
"We just make fun of these guys a little bit," said Browns return specialist Joshua Cribbs. "Braylon Edwards has to be on the punt team. He was calling the positions the wrong names and we were just laughing at him because he's not a special teams guy. You know, it takes a lot to be a 'special' player and play on special teams. We're proud that those guys can share our world here in the Pro Bowl."
Browns quarterback Derek Anderson was a late add-on after Tom Brady dropped out, and apparently his rush order jersey was a little rushed. As of picture day on Friday, Anderson's Browns helmet on each shoulder were upside down.
Both teams practiced some trick plays throughout the week, one which features Andy Lee.