Last year the NFC outnumbered the AFC. Toss a poker chip, a chocolate coin. 50-50. Who would win this year (or season)? Broadcast on NBC, unfolding in Hawaii for the thirtieth straight year, the first quarter started with Cardinals’ Kurt Warner as quarterback for the NFC. The Colts’ Peyton Manning QB’ed for the AFC. Halfway through the quarter, Manning threw a touchdown catch to Tony Gonzalez (tight end for the Chiefs). AFC 7 and NFC 0. The Saints’ Drew Brees took to QB’ing next for the NFC. Colts defensive end Robert Mathis got his grip around the ball three minutes later. Manning was back out on the field as QB for the AFC…and was sacked by Panthers’ defensive end Julius Peppers three plays later. Brees was on as QB for the NFC with under two minutes left in the quarter.
The second quarter began with the Giants kicker John Carney put a thirty-seven yard field goal through the yellow prongs. AFC 7 and NFC 3. Manning and Brees continued as QBs through the rest of the quarter (well, mostly; Kerry Collins of the Titans went in as QB for the AFC with fifty-two seconds left). Texans tight end Owen Daniels made a TD catch with less than a minute left on the clock. Before the quarter was out, though, Cardinals’ wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald got the NFC another TD. AFC 14 and NFC 10.
The third quarter started with the AFC on offense and Kerry Collins as QB. Eli Manning went in for quarterbacking duties for the NFC. Towards the bottom of the quarter, Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield intercepted Collins. When the NFC got on the field in offense, the first play was Eli Manning throwing the ball twenty-six yards to Falcons wide receiver Roddy White. Two plays later, though, Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis made a one-handed interception in the end zone. He caught the ball with his right hand. Oh, but what next? No sooner did the AFC go back in offense, Vikings defensive end Jared Allen recovered Collins’s fumbled ball. When the NFC boys took to the field again, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson got the ball into the end zone. NFC 17 and AFC 14.
The fourth quarter waddled seven minutes down and Colts fullback Le’Ron McClain scrambled into the end zone to give the AFC the lead again. Jay Cutler of the Broncos was the QB. AFC 21 and NFC 17. With four minutes, thereabouts, left to play, Larry Fitzgerald made a leaping TD catch. NFC 24 and AFC 21. Going to two-and-a-half minutes, Julius Peppers intercepted Cutler in a move that compelled the commentators to reference his basketball skills. John Carney spat out a forty-eight yard field goal to give the NFC three more points. Carney went back on the field with thirty-five seconds left to seal the meal with a twenty-six yard field goal. Final score NFC 30 and AFC 21.
Observations & Miscellania:
1. Al Michaels (wearing a grayish-green, short-sleeved, button-down shirt) and Cris Collinsworth (in light blue) provided commentary.
2. David Archuleta sang the national anthem. Not too shabby. Je suppose.
3. The NFC uniforms consisted of blue pants and blue tops–save for the sleeves and the back. The AFC uniforms consisted of red socks, white pants, and red sleeves. The players wore their respective team helmets.
5. Enrique Iglesias and Ciara provided halftime entertainment. What in the ward was Enrique wearing? Dark denims and yellow short-sleeved shirt (with two white stripes on the sleeves) with the words “make it happen” on it. Oh, and a cap. The field was littered with dancers in multi-colored costumes. Bright colors: greens, magentas, corals, reds.
6. Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth joked during the bottom of the third quarter that the players will do anything for money; they’ll play so much harder for a cash prize.
7. Ronde Barber’s voice is lower than his brother Tiki’s. His face is also longer than Tiki’s.
8. Today was the tenth time that Tony Gonzalez and Peyton Manning have been to the Pro-Bowl.
Click here for the full roster.
Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.