GLENDALE, Ariz. — With the NFL’s Pro Bowl being played at University of Phoenix Stadium, you had to figure Arizona Cardinals Patrick Peterson, Antonio Cromartie, Calais Campbell and Justin Bethel would receive more than their share of applause, which they did.
But for the very reason the four Cardinals received so many cheers Sunday, members of the Seattle Seahawks heard a chorus of boos every time they were announced to the crowd.
The fans even booed their cheerleader.
But most of their wrath was saved for the middle of the first quarter, when five Seahawks players — who were elected to the game but not participating due to their team playing in next Sunday’s Super Bowl — were interviewed during the game.
It was shown on the videoboard, and if you were in the stadium, chances are you could not hear any of what was said when sideline host Willie McGinist was talking to a group comprised of Kam Chancellor, Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Bobby Wagner.
The boos were loud. Really, really loud.
“I definitely noticed that,” Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson said. “Thank you.”
If nothing else, it was another sign that the Seahawks have become the Cardinals’ primary rival, at least among the fans. Sure, there were some jeers for representatives of the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, but the majority of the vitriol was reserved for the defending Super Bowl champs.
Of course, it was just more than one month ago that the Seahawks, in the very same stadium, knocked off the Cardinals 35-6 on national television. That game allowed the Seattle to overtake Arizona in the NFC West standings.
Arizona cornerback Antonio Cromartie noticed the boos, but has nothing but respect for his division rival.
“Yeah, it’s a lot of boos, but at the end of the day you’ve got to respect what they do,” he said. “They go out and win games. They’re here for the second time in two years competing for the world championship.”
But really, it comes as no surprise that the fans were in no mood to celebrate anyone from the great northwest.
“That’s loyalty, I love it,” Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel said. “I love it.”