HONOLULU (CBS4/AP) – Six Denver Broncos players are reaping the rewards of having good seasons. They are enjoying an all-expenses trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl.
The players all consider the experience a reward. It’s a relaxed atmosphere where they get to hang out with the best players in the game.
Last year the NFL actually played the game in Miami, but this year it’s back really where it belongs, and the players told CBS4’s Vic Lombardi they enjoy everything about the week and the game.
Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey is no stranger to the islands. Bailey is making his 11th trip to the Pro Bowl.
“A lot of people wouldn’t come to Hawaii if not for the Pro Bowl,” Bailey said. “It would be disappointing if they moved it, but I have no say in it. If I did, I would say keep it here because I love it here.”
Watch interviews with Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins in the video clip below:
League and Hawaii officials are negotiating a deal to keep the game in the islands, which is hosting it for the second straight year after it was played in Miami in 2010, breaking a 30-year run in Hawaii.
In Hawaii, the experience for the players is family oriented, relaxed and considered a reward for the hard work they put it during the season.
Players are treated to a beachside hotel to themselves. They sip on colorful, tropical drinks and lounge around the pool, golf or wade in one of the white-sand lagoons at Ko Olina Resort.
The Pro Bowl wasn’t born in Hawaii. It was hosted for years in Los Angeles before jumping around the country in the 1970s, going everywhere from the Kingdome in Seattle to the Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
The game was first played at Aloha Stadium in 1980 with New Orleans Saints running back Chuck Muncie leading the NFC to a 37-27 victory. The winners earned $5,000. On Sunday, the winners earn nearly 10 times that amount.
The state is paying the NFL $4 million per game for the rights to hold this year’s game.
Last year’s Pro Bowl attracted 17,000 visitors, generated $28.2 million in visitor spending and created $3.1 million in state taxes from people who traveled to attend the game.
Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO Mike McCartney said the agency is still in discussion with the NFL for the future of the Pro Bowl beyond 2012.
“We have enjoyed a wonderful partnership with the NFL and we look forward to continuing this relationship as well welcoming the NFL players, their families and all the fans for an exciting game on Sunday,” he said in a statement.
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