Even in a blowout, the 2013 Pro Bowl showed enough that it should remain part of the NFL for many years to come.
This has been up for debate over the past year since commissioner Roger Goodell stated that he would consider dropping the event (via ESPN).
With little defense and even less fan attention, it is easy to understand the reasoning.
However, there was a lot of excitement that came from this year's version. Specifically, the younger stars truly shined on Sunday.
On one side of the field, rookie quarterback Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes and completed eight of his 10 attempts. On the other side, fellow rookie Andrew Luck passed for over 200 yards with two touchdowns.
Other rookies were able to take advantage of the spotlight, too, as running back Doug Martin had a 28-yard receiving touchdown and kicker Blair Walsh totaled 14 points.
In addition, a few second-year players were truly outstanding, like receiver A.J. Green and defensive end J.J. Watt.
While the Pro Bowl is meant to be a showcase of the best players in the game today, this one turned into much more. It showed fans the future of the NFL.
The NFL makes it easy to follow teams around the league, but not every fan has gotten a chance to see these players perform on a regular basis. Many performances are limited to a few highlight-reel plays.
In this game, the entire country can get a chance to finally watch the players they have been hearing about all season.
Who knows? Maybe next year these guys will be forced to miss the game due to the fact they will be in the Super Bowl.
Either way, they are fun to watch in real competition, and they showed that they are exciting even when the game means nothing.
If players like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers do not want to participate, it only leaves more room for the younger guys to show the world what they can do.
Obviously, this game is not going to be played seriously. J.J. Watt lined up at receiver at one point, while center Jeff Saturday played for both teams. However, this is what you can expect from an exhibition.
The best players in the league spent the entire season working hard; it is nice to give them a break in Hawaii while putting on a nice show for the fans.
Thanks to the young studs on both sidelines, this was more than just a good show. It was insight into the next 10 years of football.
Next year, the Pro Bowl might feature players that recently finished playing in college. If they put together a good enough season, they deserve a chance to represent their conference in the NFL All-Star game.
The same could be said about anyone who steps onto the football field during the year. Only a small percentage of players even reach the NFL, so accomplishing this feat is something that should be celebrated.
Regardless of ticket sales or ratings, the Pro Bowl must remain.
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