The executives that make up commissioner Roger Goodell's front office staff surely have to realize, even with the changing of the game's date from the weekend after the Super Bowl to the weekend before, that the Pro Bowl is the most meaningless all-star game in sports. It has no representation of what the NFL season is all about and it dampers what has been a great playoff January. Quite frankly, it may be more meaningless than preseason games, which is a shocking truth.
There is no blitzing, no defensive alignments allowed besides the basic 4-3, no more than two wide receivers lined up on one side, no attempting to block punts or field goals, no offensive shifts or movement on the offensive line prior to a snap. Even intentional grounding is legal. It actually could be considered a whole other game with the lack of NFL attributes and intensity. It is like a two-hand touch game in your backyard on Thanksgiving. This game truly shows the lack of effort that we see in the preseason and are lucky enough to not see the rest of the season.
And not only us fans think this. In 2010, a record 29 players skipped the game. There is no extra payment or necessity for these players to feel obligated to go.They have to change the purpose, if that's what it takes. Because at this point, it serves none. It is a game of attempted entertainment, yet with the lack of purpose or effort, the game has no meaning or point in watching.
If you listen to players, though, you will see that they truly respect and hope for the Pro-Bowl honors. It is what they work for in a personal sense. At the end of their careers, it is something that they can look back to and feel proud of. Going to Hawaii in January dignifies their hard work and nonstop efforts throughout the season and rewards them with the label "elite". They have worked for countless hours, day after day, to achieve this prestigious honor and it seems worth it, until they get to Hawaii and are captured by the less-than-amazing atmosphere of the weekend, from the practices to the dreadful game.
Goodell has made countless reforms and harsh changes to the NFL since he became commissioner, and this is another one that has to be made. This awful display of, excuse my language, half-ass football has been a disgrace to this prestigious league for so long that reforming the game may be out of reach. Therefore, this game should be bulldozed down and be changed into a weekend of fun events and celebration of these fantastic athletes. A suggestion may be to do what other sports do transformed into football, with dunk contests, home run derbies and other skilled competitions.
The NFL is probably the most watched and talked about sport in the country, and this is the culmination of all players who we love the most. They should be showcased in more than just a game of catch and tag in a warm place. Goodell and his crew of suits need to realize the problem with this weekend of boredom, and fix it or eliminate it, but regardless, things need to change.
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