HONOLULU (AP) — NFL great Jerry Rice is already bucking conventional fantasy football wisdom in a new Pro Bowl format inspired by the popular hobby.
Rice picked New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees and St. Louis defensive end Robert Quinn to anchor his Pro Bowl team on Tuesday, opting for a passer over a runner.
Rice made the selections in Hawaii after winning a coin toss against Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders. Rice called tails.
The decision prompted Sanders to select Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles and Houston defensive end J.J. Watt for Sunday's game.
"Don't think we forget Jerry picked them first," Watt said when asked whether the new schoolyard-style format would leave players with bruised egos.
The toss and selections started a new process for the NFL in selecting this year's Pro Bowl teams. Rice and Sanders are serving as captains and general managers in charge of divvying up the NFL stars.
"I'm so pumped — I'm ready to run some routes," Rice said at a news conference after winning the toss, picking his players and embracing them as active player captains.
"That's exactly how I thought it was going to go," Sanders said.
The toss gave Sanders and Rice another chance for good-natured trash talk in a game that's become as much about showcasing their personalities as celebrating the accomplishments of the NFL's best.
Rice and Sanders split up interior lineman, punters, fullbacks and special teamers during the first part of the draft, with the 22 picks announced on a tape-delayed show. Rice and Sanders went position by position, skipping the usual fantasy strategy of prioritizing positions — an element that will be in play Wednesday when the rest of the 60 players are divvied up.
Continue reading this story on the...