It was a familiar scene, at least for fans of the New York Football Giants.
Eli Manning connected with Victor Cruz on a 9-yard touchdown toss that put the NFC ahead of the AFC 17-14 in the 2nd quarter at the 2013 NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. In typical Cruz-fashion, the first-time Pro Bowler, celebrated his TD grab with his patented end zone salsa dance.
On the day, the speedy wide receiver from UMass hauled in 10 passes for 96 yards as the NFC scored early and often in a 62-35 rout of the AFC in the league's annual all-star game in Hawaii. Incidentally, Cruz's 10 catches set a Pro Bowl record, not that many were counting, as the stands were mostly empty.
But the competition was a little stiffer this year than in previous years. On NBC television, Cruz said, "We understood exactly what (Goodell) wanted, guys were making plays all over the field. There was a little bit more high intensity than in years past and we were excited to play."
The only major indication that this was an exhibition game was when Green Bay Packer's center Jeff Saturday switched sides, in order to snap the ball to his long-time quarterback Peyton Manning, who represented the AFC with the Denver Broncos. This week, Saturday announced that he would be retiring, so this was the veteran center's final game.
Other than the ceremonial end to Saturday's career, Houston Texans' defensive lineman JJ Watt was used offensively as a tight end, which is not unlike other sport's all-star games, where participants play positions they don't normally.
Meanwhile, Manning showed NFL fans his patented fade toss, as he hit Minnesota Vikings' tight end Kyle Rudolph with a perfectly thrown 3-yard touchdown pass. Rudolph would garner the game's MVP award by collecting 5 catches for 122 yards and 1 touchdown catch.
Big Blue had two other Pro Bowl representatives: offensive guard Chris Snee and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. Snee put off surgery on his ailing hip in order to participate in Honolulu, while Pierre-Pierre showed off his athleticism with a leaping end zone interception of an Andrew Luck pass that was intended for the Texans' Watt, who was split out as a receiver on the goal line.
Manning was 16/23 for 191 yards and 2 touchdowns, but the Giants' signal-caller was intercepted for a pick-six by the Kansas City Chiefs' Derrick Johnson for a 42-yard return.