- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Earlier Wednesday, I had a chance to catch up with San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers to discuss him being a finalist for the NFL Man of the Year award.
We also had a chance to talk about a current league issue that Rivers was involved in Sunday. Tuesday, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers caused a stir when he said he was embarrassed for some of his NFC teammates because of the lack of effort they displayed in a 59-41 AFC win Sunday in the Pro Bowl.
Rodgers wasn’t the only person to question some of the players' efforts Sunday. The crowd in Honolulu booed some of the early-game play.
Rivers was one of the quarterbacks for the victorious AFC team. He said he understands some of the complaints and he thinks the competitive nature of the game has appeared to decline some over the past 10 years.
Still, Rivers said the Pro Bowl dispute presents a “fine line” and he thinks the current format is attractive to some players.
“In general, maybe the whole week should be up for discussion,” said Rivers, who would like to see the skill challenges be part of the weekly festivities again. “But I know there are guys in the game whose contracts may be up and they don’t want to get hurt and things like that. Still, we have to think of the fans and try to stay true to the game and not make a joke or a mockery out of the game.”
Rivers did say he thought the AFC “cranked it up in the second half” and he was impressed by the efforts of several of his teammates, including San Diego teammate Vincent Jackson and Miami receiver Brandon Marshall (who was named the game’s MVP) for giving strong efforts.
Still, Rivers also said he’s not sure the Pro Bowl will ever see the intensity of a regular-season NFL game.
“Again, it’s the fine line,” Rivers said. “You want to see effort, but if those big ole boys like Jared Allen or Justin Smith kept coming hard at me, I might be like 'easy, slow down, slow down' (laughing). … In the end, I think it can be adjusted some, but it’s a great week for everyone involved and it’s a positive experience for the fans over in Hawaii.”
6dEric D. Williams