When the Pro Bowl kicks off Sunday in Honolulu, the temperature is expected to be a heavenly 75 degrees, and the sun is supposed to be out.
Simultaneously, some 4,950 miles away in East Rutherford, N.J., site of Super Bowl XLVIII, it’s going to be nighttime and about 60 degrees colder.
The Saints voted to the Pro Bowl made it no secret which climate they’d prefer to be in. As first-time Pro Bowl defensive end Cam Jordan memorably put it after one practice in late December, “I’d rather be freezing in (New Jersey) than getting lei’d in Hawaii.”
Yet after Jordan and his fellow Saints honorees processed the disappointment of losing their NFC divisional playoff game to Super Bowl-bound Seattle, coach Sean Payton assured they’d find the excursion to the Aloha State worthwhile.
“It’s a great honor for us to send players to that game,” said Payton, who coached in the Pro Bowl in 2006. “It’s a great time for them but just as important ... they have a chance to bring their coaches from high school, their family, and really celebrate the type of season they had.”
Joining Jordan in Hawaii are quarterback Drew Brees, left guard Ben Grubbs, right guard Jahri Evans and tight end Jimmy Graham, who’ve all been to more than one Pro Bowl. But for all of them, this was the first Pro Bowl in which participants were not split into an NFC team and an AFC one.
Instead, they were selected without regard to conference and divvied up via a schoolyard-style draft overseen by a pair of Hall of Famers: receiver Jerry Rice and cornerback Deion Sanders.
Brees was one of two player-captains for Rice’s team, and he ensured all of the Saints Pro Bowlers ended up on his squad. NBC will televise the Pro Bowl, which starts locally at 6:30 p.m.
The bad news: Jordan wasn’t drafted until the second day of selections, and he was the last Saint picked. He jokingly made his displeasure known: He published a photo on Twitter of himself holding up a white jersey with “Rice” and the number 1 on it but wrote, “ironic since I got drafted on day 2.”
The good news: eliminated was the bizarre possibility that Brees might be sacked by Jordan, who was fifth in the NFL with 12.5 quarterback takedowns. And, if his tweets are to be believed, Jordan is proving that Payton’s assurance was spot on.
Jordan informed his Twitter followers that, as an anniversary gift, he purchased first-class plane tickets to Hawaii for his mom — Anita — and dad, Steve, a former Minnesota Vikings tight end and a six-time Pro Bowler.
Cameron and his brother, Geoffrey, flew in first class, too.
In Hawaii, Jordan inserted himself into the background of a Jimmy Graham interview and made a silly expression at the camera — that is, he video-bombed it. “Nobody’s safe,” Jordan tweeted.
He also took a photo overlooking waves crashing onto a beach. In the accompanying caption, he wrote, “Thanks to pops I’ve been (to) Hawaii, ... across the (U.S.) & even (to) a few countries but this (time) I’m grown ...
“(I’m) on my time.”