About an hour and a half before kickoff, as the NBC-tuned TVs in Aloha Stadium aired a Stanley Cup rematch on ice between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings, fans began to fill the sun-drenched stadium to island-themed music by Bob Marley. NFC QBs Eli Manning and Drew Brees, dressed in shorts and t-shirts, warmed up briefly in the sun along side NFC punter Jeff Feagles and long snapper Zak DeOssie, who were in full uniform.
As Peyton Manning came out to warm-up a few minutes later, he briefly greeted his brother, who was still standing in the end zone on his way back to the locker room.
Back on the NFC side of the field, Giants kicker John Carney sent a good field goal through the uprights and over the heads of the game officials as they posed for their Pro Bowl team photo in the end zone.
Not to be outdone, New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski nailed a 53-yarder at the other end of the field. But no one was watching Gostkowski’s feat, as the Pro Bowl cheerleaders, pom poms held high, were just making their way into the stadium (the Cowboys’ representatives got the biggest cheer when they were introduced to the crowd before the game).
By the time all the players had gathered on the field to warm up, the island-themed music had morphed into a mix of hip-hop and rock, and the stadium operator turned it up to 11.
Following brief ceremonies honoring the Hawaii football coach of year and teacher of the year and player introductions (Crowd favorites: the Cowboys, Adrian Peterson, Eli Manning, Larry Fitzgerald, Kurt Warner, Peyton Manning, the Steelers), American Idol runner-up David Archuleta sang the Star Spangled Banner, and the 2009 Pro Bowl was underway.
Game time conditions: 79 degrees, partly cloudy, winds From NNE at 16 mph (thanks, weather.com)