Baker Mayfield tops C.J. Stroud in a battle of Pro Bowl alternates

Rightful Pro Bowlers Baker Mayfield and C.J. Stroud squared off in the finals of the Precision Passer contest

Feb 1, 2024; Orlando, FL, USA;  Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) participates in
Feb 1, 2024; Orlando, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) participates in / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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Two of the best quarterback-related stories this season in the NFL involved the Houston Texans' rookie phenom, C.J. Stroud, leading his team to the divisional title and the playoffs, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reviving the career of Baker Mayfield, who led his team to the division title and the playoffs as well.

Both men were highly accurate, didn't turn the ball over that much, and threw a lot of touchdowns, but neither man was initially selected to the Pro Bowl, despite their Pro Bowl-caliber seasons. That all changed for Stroud when Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes made the Super Bowl. Players who make the Pro Bowl but go on to play in the Super Bowl have to be replaced, and so Stroud replaced Mahomes.

As for Mayfield, he was the backup selection to the NFL quarterbacks and when the NFC announced their quarterbacks, it looked like Mayfield got left out. But Brock Purdy, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, is off to the Super Bowl like Mahomes, so Jalen Hurtz came in to replace him. Then Dak Prescott, one of the other two NFC picks for the Pro Bowl at the position, got hurt, so Mayfield was tapped to replace Prescott. The other player, Matthew Stafford was replaced by Gardner Minshew.

Now both Stroud and Mayfield are Pro Bowlers and since the Pro Bowl isn't about an on-field game but more along the line of Olympic-type competitions, we get to see different sides to these players.

The quarterbacks competed in an accuracy competition, which saw Mayfield and Stroud finish second and first respectively in the knockout round, sending both men to the next level. There, Mayfield topped Stroud nine points to eight, to win the competition.

While it sucks that all but one of the six quarterbacks picked initially, the fact that Mayfield and Stroud were overlooked in the first place was a travesty. It's good to see such things righted.

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