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NFL Update - Pro Bowl Edition


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NFL Update – Pro Bowl Edition

 

Hello and good evening one and all, welcome to the Pro Bowl edition of NFL Update. This week the Update includes a review of the Pro Bowl, a run-down of the four inductees to the Hall Of Fame, and Jets Talk makes a short return to proceedings. Enjoy!

 

Pro Bowl Focus – NFC Vs AFC

 

The Pro Bowl this year was number 26 in the series, and after the NFC’s amazing comeback and ultimate 3-point victory last season, the AFC team were looking to set the record straight as to who was the dominant conference. This year the AFC were playing in red, whilst the NFC had a white strip.

The AFC team began with possession, and they were starting with Peyton Manning at quarterback. They didn’t take long to go big, as the first play was an attempted 60-yard pass, however Chad Johnson couldn’t hold on to it. They threw another incomplete and put the team in a punt situation, but Coach Bill Cowher had a few tricks up his sleeve, and he called a punt fake. The ball was snapped to Larry Izzo who then ran 28 yards for the first down. After Manning was sacked the AFC couldn’t convert on 3rd and 18 and decided to punt. This time it was a punt, and the NFC offence hit the field led by Donovan McNabb. After Tiki Barber began the game with a 22 yard run the NFC failed to make another 10 yards and had to punt. The AFC fumbled the punt return, and the ball was recovered by the NFC at the AFC 16-yard line. The following play saw McNabb get sacked for a 16 yard loss, and after nearly getting picked off they sent on David Akers and the kicking team to attempt a 43 yard FG. The ball sailed wide right, and handed possession back to the AFC. On the second play of the drive Manning threw a 25-yard pass to Marvin Harrison who then ran another 45 yards into the end zone for the first score of the game. Along with a 30 yard kickoff return the NFC’s offence relied on the rushing of Barber which carried them into the AFC red zone. But McNabb had a pass intercepted by Joey Porter, who moved to his own 30 before going down and bringing the AFC offence back on the field. A 45-yard pass from Manning to Hines Ward gave the AFC a quick touchdown and a 14-point lead, and then Daunte Culpepper led the NFC offence back on as the quarter ended.

Musim Mohamed opened the quarter with a 23-yard reception, and Daunte Culpepper led the NFC to within the AFC 10-yard line. From their Brian Westbrook entered the game, and on his first carry ran the ball in for a touchdown. The deficit was 7, and the NFC attempted an onside kick, however the AFC were ready for it, and Hines Ward picked the ball out of the air and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown. This was the first time in Pro Bowl history a kickoff has been returned for a touchdown! Culpepper and the NFC offence returned to the field, however they failed to make an impact before Daunte was intercepted. The AFC moved quickly into the red zone, but faced a horrid prospect of 3rd and 19. However on the following play a flag was thrown against the NFC, giving the AFC a fresh set of downs to move ten yards. Peyton then threw a pass to Antonio Gates for the touchdown, giving the AFC a 28-7 lead. Two plays in it seemed that the AFC had recovered a fumble from the NFC, however a flag was down, and Culpepper kept the drive alive. They did their best to capitalise on that call, as the NFC moved into the red zone. With 1:45 left Akers returned to the field to attempt a 33-yard FG, this time it was good, putting the score at 28-10. Drew Brees led the AFC offence onto the field, but they failed to recover from Brees getting sacked, giving the NFC possession with 11 seconds left. The half closed with no significant movement from the NFC.

The NFC began the half with possession, and Michael Vick was the one leading the offence. They took just under 4 minutes to move to the AFC 27, where Vick threw to Torry Holt for a much-needed NFC touchdown. That brought the score to 28-17 as the AFC offense returned to the field, this time led by Tom Brady. He threw for two quick first downs, but was picked off shortly after by Lito Shepherd giving the ball back to the NFC. The combination of some long passing from Vick and a decent run from Westbrook took them to the AFC 2 yard line, and from there Vick ran the ball in for a touchdown and taking the game within 4. Brady was nearly picked off again as the AFC came back to the field, but after a 4th down conversion from Jerome Bettis the AFC kept on powering forward as the period ended.

The fourth quarter began with a 3 and out, resulting in a 44-yard FG attempt from Adam Vinatieri. The attempt was successful and returned the gap on the scoreboard to 7 before the NFC offence returned to the field. Their first play was a fan selected one, however it was not as productive as last years touchdown play as they failed to gain anything. Vick completed a couple of big passes to regain the momentum of the drive, but they ended up in a 3rd and 10 situation that they failed to convert. Akers came on and kicked a FG for three vital points and bring the game back within 4. The AFC’s fan selected play moved them into NFC territory successfully, and after Gonzalez caught his first of the game at the NFC 10, Tomlinson ran the ball in for a touchdown. The score was now 38-27 with just over 5 minutes left, and the pressure was on the NFC team. An unsuccessful 4th down conversion gave the AFC the ball back, who attempted a 41-yard FG which failed. The NFC was intercepted early on in the resulting possession, and the AFC then took knees to close out the game.

The Pro Bowl is always a huge game, and this one was great to watch for fans of either conference. A great win for the AFC brings the NFL Season to a close.

 

Hall Of Fame 2005

 

One day before last weeks Superbowl the 2005 inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame were announced, these being halfback Fritz Pollard and quarterbacks Benny Friedman, Steve Young and Dan Marino.

Pollard was a football pioneer as one of just two African-American players in the NFL during its infancy. He also gained recognition as the first African-American coach in NFL history.

Friedman was the NFL’s first great passer. His first four seasons were legendary as he threw an NFL record 11 touchdowns as a rookie with the Cleveland Bulldogs in 1927, and he set another record in 1929 with 20 touchdown passes as a quarterback for the New York Giants.

Young won a record tying 6 NFL passing titles during his NFL career. Still ranked as the top rated passer of all time, Young was also a potent threat when he ran with the ball. In total Young was selected into 7 Pro Bowls!

Marino, a first round pick in 1983, became one of the most prolific passers in NFL history. He is the games all-time leader in attempts (8,358), completions (4,967), yards (61, 361), and touchdowns (420).

With this year’s class, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has 229 footballing greats permanently honoured within it.

 

Jets Talk

 

That’s right, Jets Talk has made a quick return to this the final edition of NFL Update. No game news obviously, however there are some snippets concerning coaches and players within the Jets family.

First of all news of a coaching change with Gang Green, Jeremy Bates has joined the franchise as the new quarterback coach. He has been coaching various aspect of the offence at Tampa Bay for the past three years. His predecessor, Pep Hamilton, has been promoted to the position of Wide Receivers coach after two years with the franchise.

Chad Pennington has undergone surgery on his right shoulder, which was injured during the season. The operation was a success, and it was performed by Dr James Andrews t his facility in Birmingham, Alabama. The doctor is “cautiously optimistic” that Chad will be ready to return to action by the beginning of training camp.

The Jets have signed wide receiver Terrance Stubbs, cornerback Andrew Davison and running back Little John Flowers to future contracts. All three players were members of the Jets 2004 practice squad.

 

Wrap Up

 

It has been an emotional few months for all involved in the NFL, teams doing well, teams doing crap and all the other events that occur in and around the league. I have done my best to keep you the reader up to date with the entire goings on in the NFL, and I think I have done that fairly well. This is the final edition of NFL Update for the 2004 season, but all being well I hope to be back here next year with a new set of NFL Updates. Thank you for taking the time to read this every week and post your thoughts, I have enjoyed it and I hope you have too. See you all at pre-season, and until then remember those three all-important letters N F L.

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