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For the better part of a decade, it has been the media and fans (despite top viewing numbers among All-Star games) complaining about the quality of the Pro Bowl.
Players were fine lolly-gagging around in the sun for a week and giving half the effort once the Pro Bowl actually kicked off. Could you blame them?
That thinking changed somewhat last season, however.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers openly questioned the effort of some players, going as far as calling the showing embarrassing.
From ESPN NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert, who quoted Rodgers' radio appearance on ESPN 540:
I'll be honest with you, I was a little bit disappointed. I felt like some of the guys on the NFC side embarrassed themselves...I was just surprised that some of the guys either didn't want to play or when they were in there didn't put any effort into it.
Rodgers wasn't the only one voicing their opinion on the Pro Bowl. Most weren't shy in telling the world why the game is so poorly played.
From Matt Light, via Seifert's linked piece above:
You're going to give a little effort, but you're not going to get out of control. Some guys are free agents over there. You get hurt in a Pro Bowl and it's going to affect that contract with another team. Who would want to get hurt in a Pro Bowl and not be able to play the next season?
And from Vince Wilfork, also from Seifert's piece:
Guys play a full season, they play physical through a full season, and you get rewarded. The last thing you want to do is go out in a game like that and hurt yourself. That is not good for the individual or for the organization.
Brett Keisel even mentioned that the Pro Bowl should be played with flags, as the game is nothing more than a glorified walkthrough.
When players start speaking out against the Pro Bowl's quality in such mass, it's an obvious problem. When the same things happen again next January, don't be surprised to hear comments exactly like these from the participants.
Most know the game is embarrassing to watch, but there's no incentive for the players to change how they approach the Pro Bowl without wide-scale changes. This kind of dissension should have been the driving point for the NFL to axe this lazy game.