Pro Bowl Teams Thank U.S. Troops Stationed Overseas

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

GLENDALE, Arizona, Jan. 27, 2015 - The National Football League continued its tradition of honoring America's troops Jan. 25, as participants in the 2015 NFL Pro Bowl expressed their appreciation to service members serving overseas.

The Pro Bowl serves as a celebratory all-star game for NFL players voted to the game by fans, their peers and coaches. This year's game, in front of a sellout crowd of 63,225 people, included many nods to U.S. service members.


Spectators enjoyed a flyover from F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighters from nearby Luke Air Force Base, while Arizona-based service members unfurled a football field-length flag for the national anthem and the Arizona National Guard served as the color guard before the start of the game.

Led by team captains and Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receivers Cris Carter and Michael Irvin, Pro Bowl players expressed their thanks to troops stationed abroad for their service and wished them well as they watch Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1.

*'You're the Real Heroes'*

"U.S. troops, we're praying for you," Carter said. "We believe in you. You're the real heroes. Even though you're watching some great athletes -- watching a great game -- believe me, everyone back here on the mainland, we know who the real heroes are.

"They're you," he continued. "God bless each and every one of your families, and we appreciate what you do upholding what we call our USA. Thank you very much. God Bless each and every one of you. Enjoy the Super Bowl."

Irvin also provided a passionate thanks to all service members, whom he dubbed as really being "America's team."

"I can't tell you how much and how many times I have heard, as I travel this country, people say, 'Michael, you play for America's team,' talking about the Dallas Cowboys," he said. "Yeah, that's all cool, but the true understanding of America's team -- that's you guys. We appreciate you being America's team. Because of you, we get to enjoy games like this, because we know we're protected.

"I can't tell you enough -- thank you," he added. "We love you, man. We appreciate each and every one of you. Enjoy the Super Bowl."

*More Shoutouts*

Pro Bowl players were equally expansive in expressing their gratitude for U.S. troops' service.

"Thanks for your service. Enjoy the Super Bowl," Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett said. "Watch for my brother Michael of the Seahawks. I appreciate you all."

Baltimore Ravens players Justin Forsett and C.J. Mosley also offered their appreciation and some advice.

"Godspeed," Forsett said. "We appreciate all that you guys do for us serving this country. Much respect."

"Thank you for serving," Mosley said. "We appreciate everything you're doing, and good luck over there. Don't get too hot."

Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders gave his "shoutout" to the troops after the game.

"Shoutout to the troops overseas," he said. "Love ya'll. Thank ya'll for what ya'll do. Enjoy watching the Super Bowl."

Oakland Raiders tight end Marcel Reese capped off the night, also encouraging troops overseas to enjoy their time watching the NFL's championship game.

"To all the troops watching the Super Bowl," he said, "enjoy it. Thank you for all your service."