The 2011 NFL Pro Bowl featured some of the National Football League’s elite players, but it appears the National Football Conference (NFC) has the edge in talent at least for this year, blasting the American Football Conference (AFC) 55-41 Jan . 30 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The AFC roster included a pair of the best quarterbacks in the NFL: Indianapolis Colt Peyton Manning and San Diego Charger Philip Rivers. With relaxed defense rules applicable only in the Pro Bowl, both passers were expected to boost the scoreboard with touchdowns.

Instead, Rivers tossed two interceptions, while Manning tossed one. And neither big-armed quarterbacks threw a first-half touchdown. First time AFC Pro Bowl passer Matt Cassell (Kansas City Chiefs) tossed two touchdowns, but also added two more interceptions to make it a total of five picks tossed by the AFC’s best quarterbacks.

For the NFC, two Washington Redskins–cornerback DeAngelo Hall and linebacker London Fletcher–along with Carolina Panther linebacker Jon Beason, Minnesota Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield, and Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes snatched interceptions away from the AFC, helping their conference create a 42-7 lead at halftime.

The NFC’s offense featured Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick, New Orleans Saints Drew Brees and Atlanta Falcons Matt Ryan at quarterback. Ryan threw his conference’s only touchdown passes (2), along with a team-high 118 passing yards, while NFC running backs Adrian Peterson of Minnesota, Stephen Jackson of St. Louis and Ovi Mugheli of Atlanta combined for three touchdown runs.

Peterson, a former Pro Bowl MVP, finished with a game-high 80 yards in rushing. Rivers finished with a game-high 192 passing yards with two touchdowns, while first-time pro bowl running back Arian Foster of the Houston Texans rushed for a AFC-high 72 yards and a touchdown in the loss.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor