Football fans rejoiced as Sunday evening rolled around, because the Pro Bowl was finally back! The moment everyone in the NFL had been waiting for all year long. J.J. Watt played wide receiver, Phil Dawson attempted a backwards onside kick, and Matthew Slater caught a pass. Yes, the 2013 edition of the Prow Bowl was quite memorable as the NFC crushed the AFC 62-35.
Certainly after last year's display we were expecting an elevated sense of competition, with the commissioner himself threatening to disband the entire event if the players didn't take it more seriously. Both sides looked like they were actually trying for the most part. Even London Fletcher said the guys were playing hard in a sideline interview.
The NFL allowed players to live-tweet from the game. Doug Martin seemed pretty happy to be there. A fun idea by the league to attempt to stir fans interest a bit more, but only a few players really cared about letting the Internet know what they were thinking mid-game.
Adrian Peterson fumbled right at the start of the game, but that turned out not to foreshadow events to come. A 7-7 ball game at the end of the first quarter got out of hand quickly, as the NFC headed into the locker room at halftime leading 31-14.
A.J. Green put in a fitting performance, catching seven passes for 119 yards and three touchdowns. His ridiculous 2012 season was capped off by yet another stellar outing. Kyle Rudolph finished with 122 yards receiving and won MVP in his first appearance in Hawaii.
Rookie Russell Wilson finished with three touchdown passes on eight completions, a solid ending to his first pro season. Overall the passing game from both sides clicked, but there was virtually no rushing attack. The two teams ended the day with 93 yards on the ground combined.
The AFC committed five turnovers, with Matt Schaub throwing two interceptions. Jason Pierre-Paul picked off the last pass of the game from Andrew Luck. The ball was intended for Watt, who saw a few reps at wideout to lighten the mood.
The aforementioned Watt lined up against Charles Tillman at wide receiver early on and ran a quick slant route from six yards out of the end zone. Peyton Manning tried to force the ball in, but Tillman wasn't going to hear any talk of a defensive end scoring on him for the rest of his life. Watt was seen bleeding shortly afterwards in an interview with Michele Tafoya, saying his injury proves everyone is taking the game seriously. Was it ploy? Some already believe so.
Ed Hochuli chimed in with some humor, telling the crowd, "Yes, there are penalties in the Pro Bowl," after a flag was finally thrown. Don't worry, he didn't smile.
Josh Cribbs scored a questionable 4-yard touchdown. According to Dawgs by Nature, Cribbs even playing a snap at wide receiver was more action than he saw all year at the position. What do you have to say for yourself now, Pat Shurmur?
Down the stretch players ultimately realized, 'Hey, it's the Pro Bowl,' but the action was rather captivating for the majority. We probably won't be hearing Roger Goodell talk about doing away with the annual trip to Honolulu, at least for the time being. The players made their case on the field that they do want the game to remain part of the schedule.