The coaches were Norm Van Brocklin of Minnesota Vikings for the West and Allie Sherman of the New York Giants for the East. The 1961 Pro Bowl is considered one of the best competitive games in history. Unitas drove the West to the 12-yard line then hit the Ram's Jon Arnett in the end zone for the game winning touchdown on the final play of the game. Arnett was on his knees when he made the catch. The extra point gave the West the victory, 31–30 with no time remaining on the clock.
Detroit Lions linebacker Joe Schmidt had his helmet wired for sound and to measure the shock of tackles in conjunction with a study by Northwestern University to help establish performance standards for headgear. The safety study was considered quite remarkable in that day and the specially adapted helmet cost $5,000.