2013 NFL Pro Bowl: Why This Year's Pro Bowl Should Be the Last
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It was well known by players and fans that the 2013 NFL Pro Bowl could easily be the last ever and the players had one chance to prove that the game meant something to them.
Following the end of Sunday night's game, it was clear that both the players and coaches didn't do a good enough job to show that there should be a 2014 edition of the game.
There were some moments in the game that were ones you would only see in the Pro Bowl, such as Jeff Saturday, who was playing for the NFC squad, line up on the AFC offensive line and complete the last snap of his career to Peyton Manning, his former quarterback on the Indianapolis Colts.
Keep in mind that Saturday was benched by the Packers a week prior to being selected to the Pro Bowl.
Or when Texans defensive end J.J. Watt lining up at wide receiver, only for Manning to throw an incomplete pass at his feet in the end zone.
These were both moments that could only happen in the Pro Bowl, but they were moments that were unnecessary, and that were made into a joke, specifically Watt's who preceded to go over to the sideline only to tell a television camera that they were playing hard, likely speaking to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The game ended up being a blowout anyways, as the NFC won 62-35. The players that ended up making it to Honolulu under preformed during the game, and players who hardly played above average in the regular season lead major statistical categories.
One of the players who actually deserved to make the game and decided to not skip it was Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, the AFC's leading rusher who finished with a whopping three carries for 12 yards. The next leading rusher on the AFC was Houston quarterback Matt Schaub with 11 yards.
Oakland Raiders running back Marcel Reece even made an appearance in the game, carrying the ball once for one yards. It's amazing that Reece was even on the field, as he only ran for 271 yards in the regular season and didn't score a single touchdown.
On the NFC side of the ball, Vikings fullback Jerome Felton carried the ball four times for 18 yards and a touchdown. During the regular season, Felton didn't carry the ball once.
As soon as the game was over, both fans and the media had already forgotten about the game, instead focusing on a GIF that was produced of Browns' kicker Phil Dawson fake-kicking the ball backwards on a kickoff.
It just seems that the game is on a descent that no matter what the league tries to do and it won't be able to save the game.
Attendance of the game was at an all-time high in 2010, when 70,697 people attended the game, which for that year was located in Miami, Fla., rather than Honolulu.
When the game went back to Hawaii in 2011, only 49,338 people showed up, followed up by 48,423 in 2012. This year, the official attendance was 47,134. While the television ratings aren't out yet for this year's game, the ratings were down eight percent between 2011 and 2012.
There isn't much more that the league could do to make the game any more desirable for players to show up. Tom Brady declined his invitation to go, and it's not like the league can offer Brady any more money than he already has to show up to the game.
Instead, fans are getting players like Josh Cribbs, who ended up being the second-leading receiver for the AFC, who couldn't even lead the Cleveland Browns in receiving during the regular season. He was mainly at the game for kick returning purposes.
The league should still keep Pro Bowl voting around, so that players can use the accolade as a landmark and accomplishment in their careers, but there is no reason to keep a game around where the centers change sides and linebackers line up at wide receiver when that same roster has on it Andre Johnson and A.J. Green.
The players and coaches had their chance to prove they wanted to keep the game, and they didn't do a very convincing job. Instead, some of the best players chose to stay at home, while they watched players like Marcel Reece run the ball.
There's no point in keeping around a free vacation for these players, who don't truly appreciate the opportunity they have. Just keep the voting but take away the game that has become the punch line of jokes around the nation.
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