The stars turn out in Orlando for the 2019 Pro Bowl

Patrick Mahomes

If it’s late January, it must be time for a little Pro Bowl fever. For NFL fans caught in the limbo week between the conference championships and the Super Bowl, the only prudent thing to do is catch it.

Airing Sunday, Jan. 27, on ABC and ESPN, from Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla., the NFL’s annual all-star game features top players as determined by a fan vote playing in an AFC vs. NFC format, with no kickoffs and every quarter having a two-minute warning.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes will start for the AFC and lead an offense that includes running backs Andy Sherman of the Chiefs and James Conner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, wide receivers Tyreek Hill of the Chiefs and DeAndre Hopkins of the Houston Texans, and at tight end, the Chiefs’ Travis Kelce.

The ageless Drew Brees of the New Orleans will take the initial snaps for the NFC, and among the weapons he will have at his disposal are runners Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams and Kyle Juszczyk of the San Francisco 49ers, pass catchers Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons and the Saints’ Michael Thomas, and tight end Zach Ertz of the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Monday Night Football broadcast team of Joe Tessitore and Jason Witten will be on the call for ABC/ESPN.

•Those who don’t mind getting up in the wee hours of Sunday morning will hopefully be rewarded with stellar tennis as the year’s first Grand Slam tournament culminates with the men’s final of the Australian Open.

ESPN will have the live telecast as the winners of the previous Friday’s semifinals go at it in the Aussie summer heat on the Plexicushion court of Melbourne Park. Last year, Swiss Roger Federer successfully defended his title in defeating Croatia’s Marin Cilic, 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in the final. The win gave the ageless Federer, at 36, his 20th Slam championship and sixth downunder, thus tying him with Roy Emerson and Novak Djokovic.

And for those who prefer their tennis at a saner hour, ESPN and ESPN2 will run the replay of the match in its entirety in mid-morning.

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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