NFL 2008-2009 Pro Bowl Recap

Today is the Pro Bowl. Many football fans consider this game to be anti-climactic. They need to shut up. The Pro Bowl helps me delay the agony of the offseason by one week.

I could care less who wins. I just want the game to be played. After today, I will spend my Sundays sobbing in front of the television, furiously clicking the remote in the hopes that the game will come on.

Sure, I could go outside and do things, but if I wanted to do things I would not have bought a big screen.

So after today, life is terrible until September.

Yes, the Draft and the schedule release are fun, but nothing compares to the game itself. Pre-season does not count.

In 2006 and 2007, I went to the Pro Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii. I had a fabulous time. In 2008 I skipped the Pro Bowl only because I went to the Super Bowl.

I wanted to go to one more Pro Bowl, and 2009 was supposed to be it. Yet due to a series of bad luck circumstances, I will be watching the game at home in front of the television.

To make matters worse, in 2010 the NFL is moving the game from Hawaii to Miami. I love Miami, but this is a terrible move.I do hope they move it back to Honolulu.

Anyway, once the game is over, football season will be over. I wil, find the strength to get out of bed on Monday, but it will be a struggle.

Every offseason gets tougher for me. As one of my friends said to me, “I don’t know how you get through it.” I don’t know either.

Anyway, for those that love football, cherish the Pro Bowl not because of its significance, but because it really is all we leatherheads have left.

With that, below is the recap of the AFC vs NFC Pro Bowl.

In a game designed to allow maximum amounts of scoring, Kurt Warner (Cardinals) started out for the NFC and the team did not move the ball. Jeff Feagles (Giants) punted 61 yards, forcing the AFC to start at their own 3 yard line. Peyton Manning (Colts) started for the Colts, and quickly fired passes of 20 yard to Brandon Marshall (Broncos) and 18 yards to Andre Johnson (Texans). On 3rd and 7, Manning hit Tony Gonzalez (Chiefs) for 22 yards to the NFC 33. Manning hit Gonzalez for the 19 yard touchdown to put the AFC up 7-0.

Apparently one series was enough for Warner, as Drew Brees (Saints) took over for the NFC. Brees did hit Steve Smith (Panthers) for a 16 yard gain, but on 4th and 4 from the AFC 38, Brees was hit, causing a fumble. Robert Mathis (Colts) recovered at the AFC 45. Manning immediately hit Reggie Wayne (Colts) for a 22 yard gain. Ye back to back sacks of Manning by Julius Peppers (Panthers) and Justin Tuck (Giants) ended the drive. Shane Lechler, one of two Raiders playing in the game, punted.

The NFC took over at their own 12, and as the game entered the second quarter, Brees hit Smith for a 20 yard gain. Eventually, Lawrence Tynes (Giants) nailed a 37 yard field goal to get the NFC within 7-3.

Manning brought the AFC right back, with a critical 4th and 1 at the NFC 28. Marshawn Lynch (Bills) ran into a brick wall, and on a 4th or 5th effort, somehow converted. On the next play the AFC tried the halfback option pass, but the trick play was blown up in the backfield when Ronnie Brown (Dolphins) couldn’t get the pass off. Yet Manning came right back and hit Gonzalez for a 1st down at the NFC 15. The drive reached a critical 4th and goal at the 1. The 16 play drive took 10:42 off of the clock, yet only covered 59 yards. More importantly, with just over 2 minutes left in the half, the 4th down pass from Manning to Marshall was juggled and dropped incomplete.

The NFC could not move the ball, but the AFC got the ball back. Kerry Collins (Titans) took over for Manning, and from the NFC 30, hit a strike to Owen Daniels (Texans) down to the 7. On the next play Collins hit Daniels for the touchdown to put the AFC up 14-3 with seconds left in the half. Yet a defensive game featured a thrilling final minute of the half. The last play was a Hail Mary from Brees, and Larry Fitzgerald (Cardinals) came down with the 55 yard bomb to get the NFC within 14-10 at intermission.

The third quarter was a stalemate. The AFC went nowhere, and Eli Manning came in for the NFC to play the entire second half. Manning completed a couple of passes, but then went for the long ball. He was intercepted in the end zone. Durrell Revis (Jets) made a gorgeous one handed pick. However, the NFC got the ball right back when Jared Allen (Vikings) came around the blind side and brought the one hand chop down on Collins. Allen recovered the fumble at the AFC 10 yard line. On the next play, Adrian Peterson (Vikings) ran it in to put the NFC up 17-14 with a little over 2 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Jay Cutler (Broncos) took over for Collins and led a 13 play, 89 yard drive for the AFC. With 7 minutes remaining in the game, the AFC had reached the NFC. At this point, a play occurred that would only happen in the Pro Bowl, where style points are more important than the substance of the game. Like the NBA Slam Dunk Competition, showboating is rewarded. Cutler, before the snap, placed the ball between the legs of Ron McClain (Ravens) before the snap. McClain took the hidden ball and ran it in to put the AFC up 21-17.

A 55 yard kickoff return had the NFC in business past midfield. From the AFC 45, Eli Manning hit Anquon Boldin (Cardinals) at the 20 yard line. The NFC was actually called for illegal defense, which is not only a basketball foul. In the Pro Bowl, zone defense is not allowed. Double coverage is not allowed either, so top receivers only have to outleap one defender. This moved the ball to the 10. On 3rd and goal from the 3, Manning threw up a fade route to Fitzgerald, who just did what he does. The NFC led 24-21 with 4 minutes remaining.

From the AFC 45, with 2 1/2 minutes remaining, Cutler threw an off balance pass under pressure that was deflected and intercepted by Julius Peppers. The defense held, but Carney nailed a 48 yard field goal to give the NFC the 6 point lead. After the kickoff, the AFC took over at their own 17 with 1:55 left and 2 timeouts. After 4 incomplete passes and 0 net yards, the NFC took over. Despite the AFC having 2 timeouts, Eli Manning decided to take a knee. This was because the NFC was already in chip shot field goal range anyway. Yet on second down, the AFC decided not to stop the clock. Since it is illegal in this game to try and block kicks, the defense felt the game was over. As I said, this really is a pick up game.

With 42 seconds remaining, on 3rd and 1 from the 8, Peterson slipped. 35 seconds remained. A blocked field goal returned for a touchdown would give the AFC a shocking 28-27 win. However, only allowing 3 rushers led to the anti-climax. Carney nailed the 26 yarder, his 3rd of the game. The NFC had the 9 point victory. Walrus Lite Andy Reid (Eagles) was the winning coach, defeating John Harbaugh (Ravens). Larry Fitzgerald was the MVP.

The score is less important than the fact that the long offseason now begins. Only 2 1/2 months remain until the 2009 schedule comes out and the NFL Draft takes place. The action will shift from Honolulu to New York City. Then in August comes the Hall of Fame Game from Canton, Ohio.

Oh well. Another NFL Season has come to a close.

30-21 NFC


3 Responses to “NFL 2008-2009 Pro Bowl Recap”

  1. REWHBLCAIN says:

    Eric, You sound like a little crying school girl, get over it.

    Also the Pro Bowl should be moved every year to a dif place.


  2. REWHBLCAIN says:

    Eric, just messing with you man. All us football fans feel the same way at the end of every season. Great play by play by the way. First time Ive seen a kick off and then the lateral pass on the same play. (that I can remember anyway) Thought they might get the touch back for a minute there.


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