*This year, in his seventh NFL season, guard Marco Rivera became the first Packers offensive lineman to be voted to the Pro Bowl since Larry McCarren in 1983.
The all-star selection was a much-deserved reward for Rivera, who started all 17 games -- including post-season play -- despite tearing the medial collateral ligaments in both knees.
In addition to protecting Brett Favre, Rivera and his fellow offensive linemen opened holes for the Packers' best rushing season in 17 years.
Sunday, February 2, Rivera will join Packers wide receiver Donald Driver, tight end Bubba Franks, safety Darren Sharper and the rest of the all-stars at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, for the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl (Brett Favre and Ahman Green both were voted into the all-star game, but will not participate because of injuries).
Making his first trip to Hawaii, Rivera offered to share his Pro Bowl experience in an online diary exclusive to Packers.com.*
Pro Bowl Diary, Part II - January 28, 2003
Greetings from the godforsaken heat of Hawaii!
Only kidding. It's beautiful here, just like I always imagined.
What you see in the commercials on TV, that's Hawaii. The ocean and the beaches are incredible and the people are warm and friendly. There's just an amazing atmosphere here. I've never seen anything like it!
My wife and I flew in Sunday, which means I only saw the last two quarters of the Super Bowl.
We turned on the TV at halftime and when I saw the score, I wasn't surprised. Tampa Bay is a heck of a football team.
You have to give them credit. They played an outstanding game and they deserve to be champions.
Oakland is a great team, too, but they fell behind early. Rich Gannon tried to step up, take some chances and make things happen because that's what great quarterbacks do when their team is trailing, but it's hard to come back against Tampa.
When you take chances, that's when the Bucs' defense hurts you. That's what they're waiting for.
This morning the NFC players had our first practice for the Pro Bowl.
The offense we're running is similar to what we do in Green Bay, so that's nice. The terminology is a little different, but I'm comfortable with it.
I spent a lot of time this morning just getting to know the other Pro Bowlers. Everyone is really motivated and excited to be here, and that's the way it should be.
I talked to Philadelphia Eagles Hugh Douglas and Donovan McNabb about the NFC Championship game and about what we all need to do to beat Tampa next year.
The Buccaneers players aren't here yet, so all of us are plotting behind their backs.
As for Hawaii, yesterday my wife and I enjoyed the sun on the beach and thought about all our friends and loved ones in the snow and freezing temperatures in Green Bay.
Then we walked around a few of the local shops. I bought some grass skirts, which they actually make in size 3XLT.
Today we're going to take a helicopter tour of the island and later tonight I'm taking my wife to a nice dinner in Waikiki.
Tomorrow we're going to go on a short cruise that's going to take us out to see some huge whales!
I'll tell you how that goes, and how the NFC all-star team is looking, when I check in again Friday.