With there still being a little bit of time until the Super Bowl, that means there’s only one way we can get our professional football fix in the meantime — the Pro Bowl! As we await “Super Sunday,” let’s take a look at some of the more iconic Pro Bowl moments of all time!
To be clear, we’re not including moments from any of the skills competitions like the “Precision Passing” or “Gridiron Gauntlet,” although we’d love to include the time Jarvis Landry put on an absolute clinic during dodgeball in 2020. For this list, any moment, whether a play, performance, or emotional sendoff, has to come from the actual Pro Bowl game itself.
5. Brandon Marshall Carries the AFC to Victory in 2012
In what would turn out to be Brandon Marshall’s last game suiting up in a Miami Dolphins uniform, the wide receiver exploded for 176 yards and four touchdowns (two off from his regular season total of six). Not only did Marshall break the Pro Bowl touchdown record previously held by Jimmy Smith, but he also helped the AFC secure a comfortable 59-41 win. Marshall, who was named the game’s MVP, connected with three quarterbacks on the four scores, including a 47-yard pass from Andy Dalton that took *just a few* lucky bounces. Check it out for yourself!
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4. Marc Bulger Leads Comeback in Highest-Scoring Pro Bowl
Marc Bulger was the backup to future Hall of Famer Kurt Warner to begin the 2003 season, but assumed the starter’s role in Week 2. He ended up leading the St. Louis Rams to a 12-3 run down the stretch and, despite tossing 22 interceptions, made the Pro Bowl. The NFC was trailing 38-13 in the third quarter when Bulger came in. The then-26-year-old picked apart the AFC’s defense, throwing four touchdowns en route to a 55-52 NFC victory, making it the highest scoring Pro Bowl ever.
3. Jeff Saturday and Peyton Manning Share One Last Snap
Jeff Saturday and Peyton Manning, the Indianapolis Colts’ longtime center and quarterback duo, were winding down their careers by the time the 2013 Pro Bowl rolled around, as the pair played for a combined 26 years prior to the season. 2013 marked the first year in which Saturday and Manning were on new teams and, even further, separate conferences. Both found their way back onto the Pro Bowl roster, though, and were able to share one more snap together in a bittersweet moment.
After the one play and receiving the game ball from Manning, Saturday returned to the sidelines, effectively ending his playing career. In a mid-game interview, Saturday called it “something special I’ll always remember.”
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2. Sean Taylor’s Career-Defining Hit
Sean Taylor was one of the NFL’s hardest-hitting safeties and a ballhawk before his untimely death at the age of 24 in 2007. During his last full season as a professional, Taylor was elected to his first Pro Bowl and made the most of it, demolishing Buffalo Bills punter Brian Moorman on a fake punt attempt. The play, now considered to be the highlight of Taylor’s career and one of the hardest hits ever, was met with immediate shock and awe from both the announcers and crowd.
Honorable Mention: Randy Moss Breaks Pro Bowl Reception, Yard Records
We would be remiss in not mentioning Randy Moss’ offensive eruption at the 2000 Pro Bowl. The 1998 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year hauled in 212 receiving yards and nine receptions on the day; the latter of which was a Pro Bowl record until Victor Cruz caught 10 in 2013. Oh yeah, Moss also secured a touchdown in the final minute to bring the score to a dominant 51-31 win for the NFC.
Randy Moss put on an MVP performance at the Pro Bowl in 2000
212 yards (record)
(via @nflthrowback) pic.twitter.com/NLcBXkJkRT
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 27, 2019
1. Injured Jack Youngblood Suits up for Four Straight Weeks
This one isn’t strictly a Pro Bowl moment, but because of how admirable it is, we had to include it. Jack Youngblood, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2001, played the 1979 season at a torrid pace, accumulating a career-high 18 sacks and leading the Los Angeles Rams into the playoffs with a 9-7 record. Youngblood suffered a broken leg during that year’s divisional round against the Dallas Cowboys and, against his doctor’s orders, continued to play in the game and the remainder of the postseason.
After beating the Cowboys, the Rams also defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, advancing them to Super Bowl XIV against the Pittsburgh Steelers. While the Rams ultimately fell to the Steelers 31-19, Youngblood showed up to the Pro Bowl a week later, telling his NFC teammates, “Shut up, I’m not going to miss this party.” Youngblood’s efforts not only led the NFC to a 37-27 victory in the all-star affair, but also helped each player from his side take home a $5,000 prize. Now that’s the stuff of legends.