Barkley and his NFC teammates won the 2019 Pro Bowl Skills Showdown Thursday night. The competition included a friendly game of dodgeball in which Barkley was the last man standing for the NFC. He showed off some of the moves that helped him set franchise records in rushing yards (1,307), rushing touchdowns (11), and most touchdowns by a rookie (15).
At one point before his NFC teammates were eliminated, Barkley juked out of the way of three throws. He used his trademark elusiveness to avoid seven more throws. The commentators were in such awe of Barkley’s freakish athleticism they called him The Matrix during the telecast.
The normally reserved Barkley even engaged in a little friendly trash talking with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ James Connor. Barkley and Connor got to know each when they played collegiately at in-state rivals Penn State and Pittsburgh respectively.
Barkley had a chance to reflect on his rookie season. In addition to the franchise records, he also set NFL records for most games with at least 100 yards from scrimmage (12) and most receptions by a rookie running back (91). In spite of his record-setting year, the Giants finished 5-11 and missed the postseason for the sixth time since winning Super Bowl XLVI. He plans on watching film of every play he was involved in this past season.
“Something that helps me a lot and is also one of my downfalls, I’m an overthinker. I overthink a lot. I overanalyze a lot,” Barkley said. “I normally go back and watch every single play that I had; watch every single time I had the ball in my hands and just see what I could have done better.
“I think that’s where you can grow the most, when you are your biggest critic and when you’re honest with yourself. When you can look at film and say, ‘I messed up there’ and ‘I have to be better there’. When you learn from mistakes and you (fix) them, it’s going to make you a better player.”
The Giants are hoping this will be the first of many Pro Bowl appearances for Barkley, who will turn 22 on Feb. 9. The 2019 Pro Bowl will be played Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 PM EST. The game will be broadcast on ESPN with a simulcast on ABC.