Pros’ make the bowl worth watching

HONOLULU — It’s no secret why people love to take in the Pro Bowl festivities. It’s the pros, and their welcoming demeanor, that draw the sellout crowds. Out of 26 Pro Bowls played in Hawai’i, 25 have been sellout games.

No one really seems to care who wins the contest, but just in case you were wondering, the AFC leads the all-time series, 18 games to 17. The Pro Bowl has been around since 1971, and came to Honolulu for the first time in 1980.

Erik Moon, a resident of Wisconsin, made his 12th consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl. He mentioned that it’s the only opportunity he gets to see so many of his favorite NFL stars in one area. And because the game is played in Hawai’i, it makes the trip a lot easier.

“I can’t get enough of this experience. My family enjoys the festivities and we plan on coming back as long as it’s in Hawai’i,” Moon said.

Kailua resident Jackie Wataya has purchased a ticket for the Pro Bowl for 17 years and she remembers a lot of changes, but for the most part, everything has stayed the same, she says.

“It’s a must-see event for me. I just can’t describe how excited I get when February comes around,” Wataya said.

The Pro Bowl kicks off today at 1 p.m., but the festivities have been going on for about a week.

“I go to the game and that’s definitely the main reason why I’m interested in the Pro Bowl, but I like the other events too,” Wataya said.

Last year, the AFC edged the NFC, 38-27, led by Peyton Manning, who scooped up the MVP award.

The NFL Pro Bowl enters play in Honolulu for its 27th year. The state and the NFL agreed to bring the game back to Honolulu until at least 2009.

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