NFL: NFC wins Pro Bowl 62-35
Honolulu • A handful of shenanigans and plenty of points yet still another ho-hum Pro Bowl.
Whether the NFL's all-star game will return next season is a something the league will ponder the next few months after the NFC's 62-35 blowout of the AFC on Sunday.
"It's been an unbelievable week," Seattle rookie QB Russell Wilson said, "And the thing was, if you watched us, everybody was competing today and it was really awesome."
Wilson at least got the crowd pumped up in the second half with some nifty scrambles and three passing touchdowns. There was also Houston's sack-happy defensive end J.J. Watt going out for a couple of passes as a receiver, and retiring Green Bay center Jeff Saturday snapping to two Mannings on opposite teams.
But while the NFC appeared unstoppable on offense, with nearly each player putting up fantasy-worthy lines in limited play, the AFC committed five turnovers and scored most of its points well after the game was no longer competitive.
Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph was voted the game's MVP with five catches for 122 yards and a touchdown.
"Guys were competing, guys wanted to win and guys want to keep the game here," Rudolph insisted. "That was the point before the game. We want to keep this game rolling for future Pro Bowlers."
Roger Goodell has said the Pro Bowl won't be played again if play didn't improve this year. Last year, fans in Hawaii booed as linemen were clearly not trying.
If players were coasting this time around, it was less obvious. The AFC just played poorly. And fans didn't boo much the stands were relatively empty even though the game sold enough tickets to lift a local television blackout.
Saturday, retiring at the end of this season, played for both teams, though he came representing the NFC. He lined up on one play for the AFC to snap the ball one last time to Manning, his longtime former Colts teammate.
Saturday said it meant a lot to him that the Broncos quarterback, whom Saturday called a true friend, orchestrated the stunt. "He's got a little more pull than I got," Saturday said. "He got it all set up and timed up for me, so it was really nice of him to do that."
NFL officials said earlier in the week that the league wants to decide the future of the Pro Bowl by the time next season's schedule is released in April.
"We understood exactly what (Goodell) wanted, guys were making plays all over the field," said Giants receiver Victor Cruz, who finished with a Pro Bowl record 10 receptions. "There was a little bit more high intensity than in years past, and we were excited to play."
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