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Gannon steals show as AFC steals Pro Bowl

Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2002

HONOLULU (AP) -- Tom Brady could only watch as Rich Gannon stole the show in the Pro Bowl.

Six days after leading the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl win, the 24-year-old star was a third-string quarterback in the AFC's 38-30 victory over the NFC on Saturday.

Instead, it was Gannon of Oakland who threw two touchdown passes in just more than a quarter as the AFC starter, including a 55-yard strike to Marvin Harrison for the squad's first score after trailing 10-0. Gannon was selected the player of the game for the second straight year, becoming the first two-time winner. He completed 8 of 10 passes for 137 yards as the teams combined for 34 first-quarter points, the most points in a Pro Bowl quarter.

Brady, the Super Bowl MVP, waited patiently on the sideline for his turn, tucking the football under his left arm, then shifting it to his right hand.

Brady sat alone on the end of the bench minutes before halftime, his eyes fixed on the highlights of the Patriots' victory over St. Louis last Sunday showing on the big screen. His hat was on straight for a while, then he turned it backward.

Brady finally got his chance with 14:16 left, with the AFC well on its way to winning its fifth Pro Bowl in six years.

A human rainbow of red, white and blue covered the field in a patriotic pregame ceremony that featured a bald eagle soaring through the stadium and a flyover by Hawaii Air National Guard F-15s. The temperature at kickoff was 74 degrees and the sun came out a day after both teams canceled practice because of a downpour.

Brady finished 2-of-5 for 22 yards and an interception to Washington's Champ Bailey that led to an NFC touchdown. He hadn't been picked off since a divisional playoff game against the Raiders in the snow.

One member of the Super Bowl champions did dazzle. Ty Law intercepted Donovan McNabb's pass late in the game and ran 31 yards before pitching the ball to Ray Lewis, who went 13 yards for the AFC's final touchdown.

It's not just the pretty plays that make a Pro Bowl.

Gannon raised his throwing arm into the air to celebrate an ugly 30-yard completion to Troy Brown in the first quarter. Gannon handed off to Priest Holmes, who pitched the ball back to Gannon and he threw a wobbly pass downfield that was so underthrown that Brown had to run several yards back toward the line of scrimmage to haul it in. Holmes went on to score on the drive.

Green Bay's Ahman Green quickly became part of Pro Bowl history in his first appearance. His 2-yard touchdown run for the NFC 27 seconds into the game was the fastest score in the game's existence.

Philadelphia kicker David Akers made field goals of 41 and 49 yards before missing short on a 62-yard attempt in the fourth quarter.

The winning AFC players earned $30,000, while the NFC took home $15,000.



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