The NFC lost in the Pro Bowl by a 59-41 count Sunday despite three touchdown receptions by Larry Fitzgerald.
Consider it a sign of the times.
Thirty-three years earlier, Seattle's Steve Largent tied what was then a Pro Bowl record with five catches. Not five touchdown catches, but five catches of any kind. The NFC won that game, 13-7 -- the sixth consecutive Pro Bowl in which the losing team failed to exceed 20 points.
On Sunday, Fitzgerald's three scoring receptions weren't even the highest total for the game. The AFC's Brandon Marshall caught four.
The game doesn't really matter, of course. Players love the Pro Bowl because they love hanging out with their peers in Hawaii, without any pressure.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com breaks down Fitzgerald's contributions while noting that rookie Patrick Peterson also made an impact.
Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic explains why he does not expect Peyton Manning to play for the Cardinals. Bickley: "Assuming he becomes available, courting the future Hall of Fame quarterback will require breathtaking entrepreneurial spirit. Serious pursuit will be fraught with risk. It will require a ton of guaranteed money going out the door with no guarantees that Manning will last another season in the NFL. Sorry, that just doesn't sound like the Cardinals. This franchise hasn't changed that much. I welcome them to prove me wrong." Noted: The Cardinals would have a window in which to make a decision. The Colts have until March 8 to exercise a $28 million option on Manning. The $7 million bonus Arizona owes Kevin Kolb does not come due til March 17. The gap between those dates would give the Cardinals flexibility.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic has this to say about the Cardinals' refusal to let receivers coach John McNulty interview with Tampa Bay for the Bucs' offensive coordinator position: "McNulty is under contract, so the Cardinals can prevent him from interviewing for any job other than a head coaching position. That doesn't seem fair, as many of you have pointed out, but it's common in the NFL. A year ago, the Cardinals requested permission to interview Steelers' linebackers coach Keith Butler for a coordinator's position. They were denied."
Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times revisits the Seahawks' apparent aversion to selecting quarterbacks in first rounds of drafts over the last nearly two decades. O'Neil: "There have been 208 quarterbacks drafted into the NFL since then, 44 of them chosen in the first round of the draft. Washington has picked three quarterbacks in the first round in that time. So have the Oilers-turned-Titans. But the Seahawks are one of four teams who have not chosen a quarterback in the first round of any draft since 1993. The Cowboys, Saints and the Patriots -- who picked Drew Bledsoe in the slot before Seattle took Rick Mirer -- are the other three."
Brady Henderson of 710ESPN Seattle says Red Bryant wants to become a better all-around player. Henderson: "Along with emerging as a dominant run defender, Bryant has blocked four kicks and intercepted two passes, including one he returned for a score. Of course, defensive ends are supposed to rush the passer, and Bryant hasn't done much of that since moving over from defensive tackle following the 2009 season." Noted: The Seahawks value Bryant for his strength against the run. Rushing the passer has not been a priority for him.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times updates where St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke stands among other bidders to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers. Leo Hindery and Tom Barrack have put together an offer. Shaikin: "Hindery and fellow New York financier Marc Utay lead one of at least eight groups that survived Friday's first cut among the bidders. That group had been one of the two prospective buyers known to remain in the bidding without a significant tie to Los Angeles. The other, St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, has a residence in Malibu and could move the Rams back to Los Angeles as soon as 2015, depending on whether the football team and its St. Louis landlord can agree on stadium renovations." Noted: Whether or not Kroenke succeeds in purchasing the Dodgers, his flirtation with Los Angeles remains newsworthy amid the Rams' uncertain future.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers would be more apt to use the franchise tag on Dashon Goldson than Carlos Rogers if the team were unable to strike long-term deals with them. Maiocco: "The franchise tag for safeties is expected to be $6.2 million for one year. The tag for cornerbacks will be around $10.6 million. So it would cost more than $4 million extra for the 49ers to franchise Rogers over Goldson. Plus, the 49ers have nobody behind Goldson to take his spot. The 49ers' third safety this past season was Reggie Smith, who is also scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent."
Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News makes the case for former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo as a Pro Football Hall of Famer. Purdy: "DeBartolo doesn't belong in the Hall simply because the 49ers won five Super Bowls under his ownership, though that certainly gives him a leg up. DeBartolo also belongs because in the 1980s, he and coach Bill Walsh virtually invented the modern way of doing NFL business in terms of upgrading every aspect of an organization to eliminate excuses and promote winning. In that respect, I've always said, DeBartolo was the perfect fans' owner. The setup was perfect. Walsh would strategize and DeBartolo would authorize -- whether that meant implementing the latest scouting technology, or deciding to charter roomier jumbo jets, or traveling to eastern road games a day earlier for better time-zone adjustment. In exchange, DeBartolo expected victory. Period. It created a magnificent dynamic of creative tension under pressure." Noted: DeBartolo deserves tremendous credit for weathering a rough start as owner, growing into the role and identifying Walsh as the man to lead the franchise. Walsh's success reflects well on DeBartolo to an extent. Walsh was so good, however, that others don't always get as much credit. As for DeBartolo and the Hall, choosing worthy candidates is the easy part. Deciding which finalists to leave off the final ballot is the hard part when reducing to five modern-era candidates on the final vote.