So, THE TICKET radio station in Dallas has been celebrating their 25th anniversary (came on the air Jan 24, 1994) the past few days. They do something they call “TicketStock” every Winter, and they timed it this year to coincide with their anniversary.
As part of the festivities, they organized several “Round Tables” with various members of their veteran on-air talent, and select guests, to just talk about various subjects over the 25 years. Every year, they have had one special "Headliner’ guest; this year, it was Troy Aikman and he sat down for a Round Table with a few of the Ticket personalities, and he was joined by his Tight End back in the day, Jay Novacek.
The discussion wound around to concussions and the longer-term affect of them. As you can imagine, there was a lot of sober and very interesting conversation about this topic. However, there was a lighter moment when Troy chided Novacek about the one time that he went to the defensive huddle instead of his own.
Jay said it was in a Pro Bowl game. He said no one is supposed to blitz in those games, but that the AFC “cheated” on this one. They were putting a lot of pressure on the QB (not sure if it was Troy or someone else) and Novacek was the “hot” receiver. He said he caught the ball running in the flat and expected to turn upfield into open spaces. Instead, he said “there was Atwater”, who ear-holed him. Afterwards, groggy, he got up and went over to the defensive huddle.
“But he (Atwater) was a real gentleman about it” Novacek said dryly. “He took me right over to the offensive huddle.”
You would have to be insane to go all out in a Pro Bowl these days. Destroy a multi-million dollar career for a meaningless exhibition? No thanks. In the old days when NFL player salaries were such that players had to get offseason jobs, the winners’ share for a Pro Bowl participant was a big deal for his finances and he had reason to go all out to win. Now? Nah.
An all star game is about the most unimportant game in sports. If Jay Novacek career was shortened because of an obvious concussion, who benefits from this? But Atwater was a tough guy? Big freakin deal.
Ray Fosse was not the same after the famous Pete Rose collision. Pete Rose missed multiple games after the collision. How did this help either one of them?
It’s one thing to lay in on the line when games count and you are being paid. Everybody know the consequences.
If I was a player, I would never play in an All Star game where something stupid like this could happen.
I was at a pro-bowl in Honolulu one year when Aikman was playing. Around the start of the 4th quarter I saw him leave the field and go to the locker room. Later I heard they the coach called on him to play but couldn’t find him. He left early because he had a plane to catch and didn’t tell anyone. That shows you how serious they take the pro-bowl.