- Associated Press - Sunday, January 30, 2011

HONOLULU — A tropical rainstorm moved in from the Pacific and cleared just before the Pro Bowl began on Sunday. What followed was a sloppy show that was not exactly riveting entertainment a week in advance of the Super Bowl.

The NFC’s 55-41 victory, a game not nearly as interesting as that score would indicate, did nothing to repair the tattered image of the NFL’s all-star contest.

New England’s Bill Belichick, the AFC coach and a man of even fewer words than usual, might have come closest to summing up the game with his mumbled cliche, “It is what it is.”

MVP DeAngelo Hall had one of his team’s five interceptions and returned a fumble 34 yards for a touchdown to help the NFC match a Pro Bowl scoring record in a 55-41 victory over turnover-prone AFC. He gets a new Cadillac for his efforts.

“I was just about to buy another SUV,” the Washington Redskins cornerback said, “so to come out here and grab one for free, I like that.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says the league may consider dropping the Pro Bowl if the level of play doesn't improve. (Associated Press)
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says the league may consider dropping the Pro ... more >

AFC quarterbacks Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning and Matt Cassel each threw first-half interceptions to help the NFC blow open a 42-0 lead in a performance ugly even by the historically low standards of this game.

Fittingly for this strange contest, center Alex Mack of Cleveland scored the final touchdown on a 67-yard pass play that featured two laterals with 16 seconds left.

Carolina’s Jon Beason returned the fifth interception thrown by the AFC, and second by Matt Cassel, 59 yards for the NFC’s final touchdown to match the single-team scoring record set in the NFC’s 55-52 victory in 2004.

“It feels amazing. It was a lot of fun,” Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson said. “We came out and put up a bunch of points and had some fun doing it, so it was a good day.”

Belichick, after his Super Bowl favorite Patriots lost to the New York Jets in the divisional playoffs, had to watch his AFC squad muddle through a first half that ended 42-7.

Pro Bowls are, by their nature, laid-back affairs, seemingly played at half speed by players whose biggest concern is to get on the plane home without injury.

The AFC, though, took that attitude to an uncomfortable extreme early on before coming back to outscore the NFC 41-13.

The NFC led 42-0 after Steven Jackson waltzed through the AFC defense for a 21-yard touchdown — and there still was 4½ minutes left in the second quarter.

Rivers, starting in place of injured Tom Brady, was picked off twice in the first quarter, the second by Hall.

“You underthrow one just a hair and they intercept it,” Rivers said. “You get a deflection for an interception. … They had all the breaks early.”

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