NFL General

The Pro Bowl Sucks

Even with the recent disastrous baseball all-star game that ended in a tie the NFL all-star game, the Pro Bowl is the worst all-star event in professional sports. The Pro Bowl is held in Hawaii the week after one of the best single sports events, the Super Bowl with the best available football stars in the game. The problem is that many of the best players are either unavailable or unwilling to risk an injury. Troy Aikman, six-time Pro Bowler and three-time Super Bowl champion, does not like the pro bowl and would get rid of it if he could.

“I know Paul Tagliabue isn’t going to want to hear this: Nobody wants to play in a Pro Bowl,” Aikman said last week while in Jacksonville for Super Bowl XXXIX. “Everybody wants to be voted in. Everybody wants to be in Hawaii. But nobody wants to play.”

Aikman passed on the Pro Bowl in 1996 after playing injured in the Super Bowl the week before. “This is something that, in no way, has hindered my ability to throw the football,” Aikman said. “It is, however, an injury that causes me discomfort and pain.

As of Thursday, 14 players selected to the 43-man AFC and NFC rosters pulled out of the game, citing injuries.

The bigger draw of the Pro bowl festivities is the skills challenge where the best players battle in skill specific drills. Wide Receivers test their hands; Quarterbacks test their accuracy, and the fan favorite, the fastest man competition where cornerbacks, wide receivers, and return specialists sprint out their fastest 40-yard times.

A change has to be made to this present state that make the Pro Bowl the worst all star game of any professional sport. An interesting rendition that could be made to increase support and enthusiasm to the game is by holding the Pro Bowl in the middle of the season.

This could substitute the random bye weeks or it could provide all NFL teams another bye week to heal injured players and game plan for their next opponent. This would also increase TV coverage since it would be the only NFL related sporting event offered in the middle of the season when interest is just starting to peak.

The NFL could highlight the best performers from the first half of the season with skills challenges and smaller non-contact sports events. The skills challenges and non-contact events would draw more interest because it would highlight exactly what makes the players involved the best in the league.

New events could be held, events like a three on three tournament featuring one quarterback two wide receivers, cornerbacks, or tight ends on each team. They could play short single elimination tournament that would be very appealing and the non-contact format would allow players to play competitively without worrying about injuries.

This kind of a tournament would have large appeal since it is similar to the type of football that average people play in their own time. Unless you are on an organized team there is rarely a time where there are enough people willing to play to a full-sided game.

The Pro Bowl has become a joke, a disaster. There is no excitement or interest from fans or players. The players are only interested in the free trip to Hawaii to lounge around after a long hard season. The risks involved in the non-guaranteed contacts in the NFL force players to protect themselves and their bodies since they can lose their contacts to an injury. The Pro Bowl has to be changed into a celebration of the best players in the league not a resort vacation reward.

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