Pro Bowl Snubs and London Fletcher: Why Do We Care?
The Pro Bowl is an interesting event to me. It now occurs the weekend before the Super Bowl in some ill-advised attempt to boost ratings. It regularly attracts the best second-tier players from both conferences, as the best players are either playing in the Super Bowl—and are therefore exempt from such nonsense—or are nursing some nagging "injury."
Regularly, the games are totally void of defense, despite both teams containing the best defensive players the NFL has to offer. It occurs in Hawaii, the natural place for football to be played. The locale also allows us to regularly see Chris Berman in a Hawaiian shirt.
None of these qualities are that good, and they have made the Pro Bowl the worst of the four major sports' All-Star events. The game regularly attracts minimal media attention, and the average football fan is likely to tune in for 15 minutes, get distracted by his or her dog, then follow the dog out of the room, leaving the Pro Bowl to serve an audience of no one.
The annual indifference to the event in late January always makes me surprised to see people getting mad over Pro Bowl snubs. The outrage over London Fletcher's absence has caused small riots and Fletcher himself to get all angry over Twitter.
Granted, Fletcher probably deserves to be there (he leads the NFL in tackles, which isn't totally impressive because tackles are the RBI of the NFL—a stat that depends on everyone else more than it does on the person benefiting from the statistic. That said, Fletcher has other impressive stats, and deserves to be there), but this exasperation seems to be nothing more than meaningless bonhomie toward Fletcher, a sedative to stop him from being mad about such a stupid honor.
If the media has any sense, Fletcher will get All-Pro nods, an honor much greater than a Pro Bowl nomination. When a player retires, no one cares about the amount of Pro Bowls they went to, because it's such a meaningless game and is regularly flubbed by those involved with the process.
I hate to be heartless, but if Fletcher wants to go to Hawaii so badly, he can fly himself there. He's a professional athlete—I am sure he has enough money to do so.
We get all up in arms when players get "snubbed" from a ceremony in which half of the players playing the game look like they don't want to be there. Fletcher will probably get in once someone gets "hurt," as is bound to happen.
We'll get mad about this for a few days, then go on living our lives. Such is the case when the Pro Bowl is involved.
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