C.J. Stroud reveals what Baker Mayfield told him as they went head-to-head at the Pro Bowl…

The 2023 season unfolded, with Baker Mayfield and C.J. Stroud facing vastly different expectations. Stroud was heralded as the future of the Houston Texans, while Mayfield was seen as a transitional quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers until they found a franchise signal-caller. However, as the season progressed, the narrative shifted, revealing surprising parallels between the two quarterbacks.

Stroud delivered an exceptional rookie season, orchestrating a remarkable turnaround for the 3-13-1 Texans, guiding them to AFC South Champions with a 10-7 regular-season record. In the Wild Card Round, Stroud and his team put up an impressive 45 points against the formidable Cleveland Browns, showcasing their offensive prowess. Although their playoff journey fell short in the Divisional Round against the Baltimore Ravens, the Texans left an indelible mark.

The Buccaneers, too, defied expectations during the season. Despite a gradual build-up, they clinched the NFC South title with a 9-8 record. Mayfield led the charge with an upset victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card Round. Similar to the Texans, their postseason aspirations were thwarted one game away from the NFC Championship.

Recognizing their accomplishments, Stroud and Mayfield earned Pro Bowl alternate status, stepping in as other quarterbacks opted out. The Pro Bowl Games commenced on February 1, 2024, in Orlando, Florida, featuring a series of skill-based competitions.

Thursday night’s events included precision passing, best catch, closest to the pin, high stakes, dodgeball, and tic-tac-toe games. Stroud, alongside Gardner Minshew and Tua Tagovailoa, represented the AFC in precision passing, where he outshone with 26 points, surpassing Tagovailoa’s 16 and Minshew’s 21. Mayfield led the NFC with 24 points in the same competition.

In the ultimate face-off, Mayfield and Stroud competed for the grand prize of 3 points for their respective conferences. Alternating throws with six opportunities to hit a target, Mayfield seized an early advantage when Stroud missed his first target. Despite Stroud continuously leveling the score, Mayfield secured victory when Stroud missed the 10-point target on his final throw, following advice from AFC Pro Bowl coach Peyton Manning.

As the Pro Bowl Games Championship approaches on Sunday, the NFC holds a commanding 12-6 lead, setting the stage for a thrilling culmination.

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