The NFL notebook …
HONOLULU ó After a week of practices about as stressful as a Hawaiian sunset, players shifted to Aloha Stadium for their final workouts before todayís Pro Bowl.
Workout, in this case, is a highly dubious description. The most work done in their brief on-field appearances on Saturday was signing autographs for the fans who showed up in the dazzling island sunshine and everyone involved seemed thrilled that this game is back in Hawaii.
Say what you want about the laid-back irrelevence of this mostly defenseless game a week in advance of the hyper intensity of the Super Bowl, there is no lacking of star power.
WELCOME TO DALLAS
DALLAS ó The Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers will really know they’re in Texas when they get to their hotels and see the handmade saddles waiting for them, made especially to mark their visit.
“They can go to Miami, they can go to New Orleans and have Super Bowls,” said Mark Dunlap, general manager of M.L. Leddy’s, the saddle maker. “What, if any, object speaks about those communities any better than a saddle that represents Fort Worth and Texas? I can’t think of a better thing to put up.”
The two saddles ó an AFC one and another for the NFC ó will be just one of the Texas touches evident when the teams, fans and media arrive for the NFL championship being played in the Dallas Cowboys’ new $1.3 billion home next Sunday.
There also will be the annual World’s Original Indoor Rodeo, the twice daily cattle drives and a rental car lot the size of Rhode Island. Well, not really, but it seems like it.
Organizers say they’re prepared for all weather contingencies. And they’re counting on the warmth of more than 10,000 friendly faces ó mostly Texans ó greeting guests with a smile.
“That’s what we’re known for in Texas,” said Tara Green, vice president of the host committee. “We don’t have a beach. We have warm, friendly people, so we want to roll out the Texas red carpet.”
GREEN BAY, Wis. ó Linebacker Desmond Bishop says the Packers began preparing for Ben Roethlisberger by watching video of how not to bring down the Steelers’ big quarterback.
The lowlight package put together by Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers featured other teams, but it also could have included the Packers as they work toward their matchup with Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl.
“I’m sure it could have lasted longer,” Bishop said of the video. “A lot of guys are going for his pump fakes or not wrapping up fully when they have him.
“It’s just a mental or a subliminal note that when you get your opportunity to get him, you got to hit, you got to wrap up and bring all your technique and all your weight with you, because he’s definitely a big guy to bring down.”
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