The 2014 Pro Bowl included several changes this year and it resulted in perhaps the most competitive game that has been played in years as Team Rice knocked off Team Sanders 22-21 at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii.
Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith with less than a minute to play in regulation and Carolina Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert plunged into the end zone for a two-point conversion to give Jerry Rice a win over Deion Sanders in the first ever unconferenced Pro Bowl game.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles was named offensive MVP of the game and Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson won the defensive MVP award. Foles was 7-of-10 passing in the game for 89 yards and a touchdown to Cleveland Browns tight end Jordan Cameron in the loss.
The game this year featured a lot more effort and included quarterbacks being sacked a total of nine times. The 43 total points scored in the game was the lowest amount dating back to 2005 when the NFC beat the AFC 23-17.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown only had one catch in the game as he beat Browns cornerback Joe Haden down the right sideline with a double move to haul in a pass from Foles for 39 yards. That reception led to a touchdown just two plays later and it gave Team Sanders the lead with 4:49 left in the fourth quarter.
While I'm still not a fan of the Pro Bowl being unconferenced and including a draft, the product was much better this year. The players appeared to like the format and their effort showed it.
We will see what the final television ratings come in at, but I think it is safe to say that the Pro Bowl has been saved from extinction.