The Furey Factor: Pro Bowl


Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard had his head in the clouds when he was informed that he had an opportunity to play in the 2010 AFC Pro Bowl in Miami. What he didn’t know was he was picked last for kickball in the Pop Warner of the NFL.

 Garrard was selected alongside Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young as a backup for the Pro Bowl after Peyton Manning couldn’t play due to hitting it big in the Super Bowl and three other quarterbacks pulled out, including New England Patriot Tom Brady and Pittsburgh Steeler Ben Roethlisberger.

 In fact, according to Mike Florio of, Garrard was “at least the seventh choice for a roster spot” behind Manning, Brady, Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer, Matt Schaub and Vince Young. In fewer words, this basically means the Pro Bowl wasn’t a game of incredible NFL players but kind of, sort of good NFL players.

No offense to Garrard, I met him once at an event and interviewed him for a story. He’s a really nice guy, but I wouldn’t put money down on him if it came down to betting.

 Garrard did complete 60.9 percent of his passes for 3,597 yards and made 15 touchdowns in 2009, but he’s no Manning making his way to the Super Bowl. Manning completed 68.8 percent of his passes for the Indianapolis Colts this season, covering 4,500 yards and 33 touchdowns.

 Garrard is going to have to step it up if he wants the Jaguars to be playoff contenders in the future. Maybe we should learn a few lessons from the New Orleans Saints.

 Now that the Saints are heading to a Super Bowl, the Jacksonville Jaguars are one of only four teams left in the NFL who have yet to reach the ultimate championship football game. We are in the lonely company of the Houston Texans, the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions, whose record was 2-14 this season.

 The long list of embarrassments doesn’t seem to end for the Jaguars.

 Football fans all across the nation have been blistering Internet message boards and writing blogs with unfavorable comments about the lackluster Pro Bowl roster. But even with a lack of enthusiasm coming from the NFL fan base, Garrard was still psyched for the experience, even if he was the seventh pick.

 “It’s so awesome,” Garrard said after the playing in the Pro Bowl Sunday night. “One of my goals coming into the game was to just be relevant and show all the people who said, ‘What is he doing in there? The Pro Bowl has dropped off a few pegs,’ that I do belong.”

 Garrard was so excited when he was invited to participate in the 2010 AFC Pro Bowl that he even ended a family vacation at a lake house in North Carolina early. It didn’t even matter that the game was in Miami instead of its usual location of 30 years in Hawaii.

 The location change is probably why so many big-time quarterbacks pulled out. I mean, why would they want to go to a downgraded version of Hawaii? Either that or they don’t think the game matters in the first place.

I got some advice for Garrard: You should have stayed in North Carolina.

He did throw a 48-yard catch and a third-quarter touchdown in the Jan. 31 game, but my guess is that not too many people saw it. If they even bothered to turn on the game at all, I’m sure most people switched to the Grammy Awards after the first fifteen minutes.