POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jan 31, 2011
DeAngelo Hall figured it was time something good came back around.
Hall, a Washington Redskins cornerback, received Pro Bowl MVP honors after he sparked the NFC to a 55-41 win over the AFC with two big defensive plays in the first half yesterday at Aloha Stadium.
In the first quarter, the six-year NFL veteran intercepted a Philip Rivers deep ball intended for Brandon Lloyd in the end zone. In the second, Hall wrapped up Wes Welker and stripped him of the football. Not content with the moderate glory of diving on the ball for the turnover, Hall instead collected it off the turf and ran it back 34 yards for a touchdown and 28-0 NFC lead.
Seeing Washington teammate London Fletcher get the first of their squad's five picks got him going.
"Just really focusing more about the team than myself. I think when stuff like that happens, you make plays," the 5-foot-10, 192-pound Hall said. "When you go out there not looking to make a play, it kind of happens. You go out there more in tune to a couple of your teammates make plays, I just think of it like karma. Good karma. It'll come back to you."
Besides the $45,000 winners' check — handy for covering expenses for the 30 people he flew to the islands to see the game — Hall got a spiffy SUV.
It was a resurgent year for Hall, in his third Pro Bowl and first since 2007. Hall forced two fumbles during the season with a career-high 95 tackles. His six interceptions was tied for fifth among all NFL players in 2010. Of the six, four picks came against Chicago, tying a league record.
It was less of a glorious season for the Redskins. They went 6-10, including 1-5 to close the season. Four of those losses were by four points or fewer. The Washington defense was particularly suspect, ranking 31st in the NFL in yards allowed. Still, he became the Redskins' first Pro Bowl cornerback since 2003.
Amid the postgame chaos, Fletcher beamed as Hall hoisted the MVP trophy on the dais at midfield.
Fletcher, a 13-year NFL player and second-time Pro Bowler, said of Hall, "It was just him being him." He was particularly pleased by the strip on Welker and fumble-return TD, a similar play to one Hall made against Dallas in the 2010 season opener.
"That's a hat trick," the linebacker said, chuckling. "It's great, man. I haven't gotten a hat trick yet. But it was great for him to do that."
A botched fake handoff on a reversal between Hall and Chicago's Devin Hester early in the third quarter, leading to an AFC touchdown, did little to take luster off his MVP candidacy.
Pro Bowl MVPs are entitled to mistakes when your team nearly has the game won by halftime; the NFC led 42-7 at the break.
The 27-year-old looks forward to a return trip. He said he took his first two Pro Bowl appearances for granted.
"Everybody loves it over here, man," Hall said. "Miami or any other city (on the mainland) is just not the same. ... You'd like to go across the water."