The NFL Pro Bowl has historically been a vehicle to reward those NFL players that have earned the respect of the NFL nation. It’s all about holding up individual players to the scrutiny and comparison of the rest of the players in that same position.
In some cases it will always be a popularity contest, but I would say 80 percent of the time those that are picked are the right ones. The New England Patriots only have two horses in the race this week: Logan Mankins and Vince Wilfork.
That brings me back to the history of the game. In years past, the Pro Bowl game is usually played after the NFL season is over and the victor of the Super Bowl has been determined. In other words, it was one more game for those NFL fans that were still jonesing for more football.
The Pro Bowl was always a meaningless event, meant only for showcasing those superlative NFL players to their fans one more time. It gave those addicted NFL fans one more week of football before their withdrawal.
The NFL is attempting to change the Pro Bowl game this year. This year they play it the week before the Super Bowl, hoping that it will be more competitive and bring in a bit more revenue for the league.
We’ll see how this experiment plays out.
In keeping with our series to bring you a Patriots fan’s perspective through our series of picks, I have Steve Frith joining me this week. It seems the NFL’s intentions couldn’t gain the attention of the rest of our crew (C. Douglas Baker , EA, and TR ) for this game, so look for their return to the picks next week for the big game.
AFC vs. NFC
Steve: People are dropping out of this left and right. The Colts players are leaving at half time (maybe their plane will get delayed and they'll miss the Super Bowl...either way, they should only get half the pay for the pro bowl game because they'll only be there for half the game). Quarterbacks are down to fifth string backups. Ok, so maybe not. The NFL added Tony Romo and Donovan McNabb earlier this week to the Pro Bowl. Unfortunately, all season both of these guys have been either hit or miss, so they'll either destroy the defense or get owned.
This should be a great defensive game, and defense will be what makes or breaks either team. If big numbers are put up on the scoreboard, then it'll be because of a weak secondary on both defensive sides, not at the line (this is in part due to good WRs, not really a bad secondary).
AFC takes this one thanks to a stout defense.
Glenn: It’s still a difficult task to nail down the starting rotation for this game.
One thing that does not bode well for the AFC this year is how deep they had to go to fill their roster for quarterbacks. With Peyton Manning, Phillip Rivers, Tom Brady, and Ben Roethlisberger all opting out due to injury and Super Bowl play, that brings us down to Matt Schaub, Vince Young, and David Garrard.
Not the most impressive lineup of Pro Bowlers.
The NFC QB roster looks a more like a list of Pro Bowlers with Aaron Rodgers, McNabb, and Romo. That is a confidence-boosting list.
Looking at the rest of the offensive rosters, I would think both the AFC and NFC are pretty well matched.
I’m going to pick an AFC win on the strength of the defensive roster, despite the missing pieces in the Colts defensive bookends Freeney and Mathis. Besides, when it comes right down to it, I’ll always be an AFC homer.