Through the Jaguars, my dad and I were fortunate enough to win a contest where we got to attend the Pro Bowl after explaining in 100 words why we deserved to attend. The trip included hotel accommodations, tickets to the game and a meet and greet with Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew who was there for his first ever Pro Bowl selection. This along with a part one that has already been posted originally appeared on Jaguars.com.
Yesterday was game day and my dad and I had another awesome experience.
In the morning we visited South Beach. ESPN and the NFL Network had their temporary stages set up but not much was going on then. We walked around and took a few pictures before heading back to Ft. Lauderdale.
At the player hotel I ended up meeting Jared Allen, Logan Mankins, La’Ron McClain, Josh Cribbs, Johnny Knox and Mike Jenkins. Jenkins and I talked about USF as that is one of the colleges I am considering and he is the school’s first ever representative at the Pro Bowl.
The player busses left around 4:30 PM and we headed to the stadium as well. It is a good thing we headed out early as the traffic around the stadium for parking was terrible. Eventually we along with many others parked at a dog track that was a “nice” walk from the stadium. Crowd control was also a hassle as everyone had to walk through a huge serpentine line in order to get to the security checkpoint. This was a huge wake up call from the easy access we have at Jaguar games.
Around 20 minutes before kickoff, we eventually made it to our seats and they were awesome. They were on the 50 yard line 15 rows behind the NFC bench. After player introductions and an F-18 flyover the game was underway.
The scoring started right away as three minutes in Texans quarterback Matt Schaub found his favorite regular season target Andre Johnson wide open in the corner of the end zone. Later on in the quarter Schaub hit Brandon Marshall for a touchdown which gave the AFC a 14-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.
At the half the score was all tied at 17 and the Bethune Cookman marching band performed. They have played at Jaguars games before and they always put on a great show for the fans.
David Garrard and Maurice Jones-Drew made most of their contributions in the second half. Garrard played very well as he was distributing the ball downfield and was hitting receivers in stride. This was evident on his 48 yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson as he found him over the middle and Jackson did the rest. While there wasn’t much running in the game, Jones-Drew made the most of his opportunities running for 30 yards and a touchdown. While he still hadn’t decided what end zone celebration he would do in the game when we met with him, Maurice ended up going with the “crying Mariucci”. For those who didn’t know he was spoofing NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci’s reaction to each Brett Favre retirement.
Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson is one of my favorite players but after seeing him play in person for the first time, I came away even more impressed. He scored in each half on a wide receiver screen play and attempted a long pass as well. He’s a threat to score every time he touches the ball and Jaguars fans are in for a treat when he comes to town next year.
The AFC ended up winning the game 41-34 and Schaub was the game’s MVP. Overall my dad and I had a great time at the game and had a father son experience that we will never forget.