by Amy Lignor
There are still many things about the Pro Bowl that are hard to understand. One of the first being, why is it even played? Especially before the Super Bowl has been played?
When the Pro Bowl came after everything else was set in stone, it seemed fine. A mini-vacation for the best in the league and one more game for the TV audience who was going to be stuck with basketball, tennis and other ridiculously boring sports for months on end before September arrived once again and brought back the power and enjoyment of the gridiron.
It was also far better to hold the Pro Bowl after the Super Bowl because there were serious rivalries that were always fun to see. Knowing that you did not have to stay uninjured because you were playing in the big game next week, allowed teams that were beaten in the NFC and AFC Championships, as well as players who simply didn’t like other players, to go all out and provide a good, hard-hitting game of football. But if you’re in the Super Bowl now, those hard hits can not be made or taken…just in case.
Now the Pro Bowl this year was even more odd than ever before. In fact, the entire format was changed. The uniforms were new, although no more safe than they were before, which means players heading to the Super Bowl still couldn’t give it their all last night.
There are also new rules, including having no kickoffs. And THEN, for those who did not know and tuned in last night anyway, the AFC against the NFC was no longer what the Pro Bowl was about. The game actually pitted two teams selected in a Pro Bowl Draft held on January 22nd. Say what?
Even the NFLPA president Domonique Foxworth announced yesterday that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell almost canceled the Pro Bowl completely.
It’s hugely expensive and there’s basically no value in the game whatsoever. It was only, supposedly, the desire of NFL players to play in the Pro Bowl that made last night’s game happen at all.
Of course they want it to happen. When a season comes to an end the last thing any player wants to do is sit on the sidelines until September. One more game – anything – is better than nothing.
But…when it came to the viewers, watching a Pro Bowl where each team always begins on the 25-yard-line because kickoffs are now out, not to mention dealing with a two-minute warning at the end of each quarter to give QB’s a chance to execute two-minute drills – may not have made anyone too excited to come back and watch it in 2015.
And with the so-called ‘draft’ being the way players were chosen, than an AFC player can end up having to tackle his own teammate who was ‘drawn’ for the other team. The last thing any player in the NFL wants to do is take the chance at injuring their own QB, when they actually need the guy in September to lead them to the Super Bowl.
As a matter of opinion only, of course, I must say that watching the Pro Bowl last night was not exactly a highlight to the season. Being an avid football fan, the rules made it seem a little dim-witted. You root for your team, not your players. You want to see the (insert your favorite team here) kick their rival’s butts. You do not want to see them turn against each other and kick their own.
If it does come down to canceling the Pro Bowl in the future, I really don’t think the decision will have much effect at all.
Bring on the Super Bowl!