The Oakland Raiders were well represented for the 2016-17 NFL Pro Bowl, with seven selections on their roster. Upon their best season since 2002, the Raiders truly stepped to the plate behind head coach Jack Del Rio on their return to greatness.
However, of the seven selections the Raiders received, only three players ended up playing in the actual game. Firstly, quarterback Derek Carr was an obvious decline, as he recovers from his surgery and prepares for next season, but three other Raiders respectfully declined.
Amari Cooper, Donald Penn and Khalil Mack all elected to skip out on the Pro Bowl, just as many other players around the NFL do. With just a limited amount of time before the next season begins, some players want to truly enjoy their offseason and plan accordingly with their families.
With those four players missing out, it left Reggie Nelson, Kelechi Osemele and Rodney Hudson to participate and represent the Raiders, and that they did. All three players were awarded starts for the AFC squad, which obtained a 20-13 victory over the NFC squad.
In a low-scoring affair, the first three quarters some the typical relaxed action, as the intensity of play deflated at certain times. However, the fourth quarter brought about a different tone, with the game on the line.
While players usually don’t have an incentive to play all out and risk injuring themselves, the award from the Pro Bowl was enough to ramp up the intensity. Players and coaches are given $32,000 for showing up the game, while the winning team is roughly given an extra $34,000, according to Statista.com.
With all three Raiders players starting, it certainly provided more pride to the fan base, which is currently dealing with the situation regarding Oakland and Las Vegas.
In his second Pro Bowl game, Nelson recorded just one solo tackle, as that was the only in-game action he sought. In the relaxed environment, the Pro Bowl is more so about building friendships and having a good time, compared to actually going for the victory.
Osemele and Hudson received a bulk of the line duties in their first Pro Bowl, alongside the other noted stars on the offensive line. While the Pro Bowl is a noted game, Osemele and Hudson also put on plenty of philanthropic events throughout the week, choosing to participate in helping out the community of Florida.
While the Super Bowl still remains a week away, it was a great sight to witness the Raiders have one final say in the 2016-17 NFL season.