The Pro Bowl or Anti Bowl
Today, the National Football League will play its annual Pro Bowl. The Pro Bowl is the NFL’s version of an all-star game. It is supposed to be a match of the best players from the AFC against the best players from the NFC. While most others sports play their all-star game towards the middle of the season, the NFL opts to play its game almost at the very end, with the only game remaining being the Super Bowl. While the Pro Bowl is an all-star game and supposed to be exciting, it is a far cry from it.
First off, the best players aren’t even competing in the Pro Bowl. Since the best two teams have to play in the Super Bowl the next week, none of the players from either of those two teams can compete in the Pro Bowl. While it may not always hold true, you would figure that the best two teams in the league have some of the best players. That lowers the quality right off the bat because you are automatically eliminating players from two teams. Maybe if the Pro Bowl was moved to the very end of the season, all players would be able to compete, and it would be slightly more interesting.
Next, players can opt out of playing in the game. There are players who have been competing with a slight injury throughout the season and might not want to risk furthering their injury. Some players do not feel like making the trip all the way down to Hawaii to play, so they just decide not to compete. Still, other players choose to simply not play in the game for any various reason they want. There is no mandate to play, so some players have no motivation to since their season is already over.
One of the biggest reasons that the Pro Bowl is boring is for the rule changes. It’s not real football. In order to help prevent injuries and protect the players, there are some rule changes for the Pro Bowl. We all know that quarterbacks in the NFL are already babied enough, and it seems as if they can’t be hit. Well, the Pro Bowl takes it to a whole new level. Linebackers, safeties, and corners cannot even blitz the quarterback in the Pro Bowl. Where is the excitement in that? It doesn’t even seem like football because that takes an entire element away from the game.
So if all of this isn’t already bad enough, there is still the biggest reason of why people don’t care about the Pro Bowl. What game is next week? Oh yeah, the Super Bowl. The game that receives enormous television ratings. The game that people who don’t even like football watch. The game that some people even watch for the commercials. Yes, the Super Bowl kind of outweighs the Pro Bowl. Most people could care less about the Pro Bowl because they are looking forward to the next week.
If the NFL wanted to improve the Pro Bowl, they could make a few changes. For starters, they might as well put it at the very end of the season, so everyone can compete. If they keep the rules the same as the regular season, the game would resemble actual football. That could draw a few fans. Also, how about giving the players some incentive to play and actually compete. Major League Baseball made their all-star game count for something and that worked. The NFL is the lowest viewed all-star game of the major sports, and I would assume it will remain that way if nothing is done to improve it. I know that I won’t be watching it later, but you can knock yourself out (I might literally if I watch it).