GLENDALE, Ariz. – The six Eagles at the 2015 Pro Bowl played their part in Sunday's game, represented the team well and enjoyed every bit of the game and the week that was, an experience to cherish as they look back on their careers.
"It's been great. The game was a lot of fun and the week here in Arizona was pretty fun and the thing I appreciate the most is the most is that you play against these guys week in and week out, you really don't get to know them on a personal level so to get to know them and find out what good human beings they are, that's what you really take from it," center Jason Kelce said. "The game was a good one. Both teams wanted to win and the tempo was pretty good.
The game itself? Fun, pretty competitive and a good show for the sellout crowd at University of Phoenix Stadium and the millions watching on television. The NFL's all-star game is showtime, and the league put on quite a show as the teams combined for nearly 1,100 yards of offense in Team Irvin's 32-28 victory over Team Carter.
As for the Eagles, they did very well. Darren Sproles had 11 touches and produced a game-most 129 all-purpose yards for Team Irvin. Long snapper Jon Dorenbos snapped on PATs and field goals for Team Irvin. The Eagles on Team Carter were involved, too. Linebacker Connor Barwin registered 5 tackles, including one of Sproles on a Sproles catch and run that gained 17 yards on the second play from scrimmage and another later in the game on Sproles. Kelce and left guard Evan Mathis played side by side on the offensive line for Team Carter. Placekicker Cody Parkey was perfect on his two 35-yard PATs throw uprights that were 4 ½ feet more narrow than regulation.
Left tackle Jason Peters, running back LeSean McCoy and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin weren't able to make the game.
"I wish we would have won, because it would have meant more money, but we didn't and I enjoyed it," Barwin said. "I played linebacker in a 4-3, something I've not done in the NFL, and it was a good experience."
Barwin made sure to take care when tackling Sproles, who played at his usual high tempo and was clearly the quickest player on the field.
"He's my teammate and obviously I wasn't going all out there. I gave up some ground until he decided to go down," Barwin said. "The one time I kind of caught him in the helmet. It was fun to go against him. I had gone against him before he was a member of the Eagles and I was well aware of how talented he is and how quick he is and how hard he is to tackle."
Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro is on-site in sunny Arizona to bring you behind-the-scenes access from the Pro Bowl ...
Sproles enjoyed the week supremely. His first Pro Bowl in his 10-year career was one to savor, and he did just that. Sproles was a beast, as usual, and his big plays helped make the difference. He had a 30-yard run on the final Team Irvin drive that led to a Matt Ryan touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham that proved to be the winning points.
Twice Sproles closed in on the end zone – he was tackled at the 2-yard line after a 9-yard run in the second quarter and was tackled at the 3-yard line after a 5-yard reception on that final drive. Scoring a touchdown would have been sweet for Sproles, but he still had a dynamite night.
"It was great. I loved it," he said. "I wanted to score so much, but it didn't happen. It was fun to win, fun to be out here with all of these great players all week. It was everything I thought it would be, all week."
The Pro Bowl isn't played, of course, at the tempo of a regular-season game, but that's not the point. It's an all-star game. It's a showcase event. It's a reward for the best of the best in the league. Every player would have rather been preparing for Sunday's Super Bowl, but they were here for the Pro Bowl, and they made the most of their time.
"It was awesome the entire week. I will have a lot of good memories about this experience," Parkey said. "To end my rookie season in the Pro Bowl is still sinking in. I'm going to use this and get some rest and then come back better for next season."