Cleaning Up the Pro Bowl Mess

WesAnalyst IJanuary 31, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS - JANUARY 17:  Wade Phillps, Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys, looks on while playing against the Minnesota Vikings aduring the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on January 17, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Cowboys 34-3.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Yo, Wade. Not sure if you can hear me on that fancy little headset of yours, but uh give me a shout if you need another replacement on your NFC Pro Bowl roster.

Hey, if David Garrard can wiggle his way onto a roster, maybe there is hope for me even though I didn’t play a down this year.

This year’s Pro Bowl has finally made NFL fans say, “Enough already.”

We are all trying to throw you know what against the wall and hoping it will stick one time. So I have a handful and here comes my toss.

I want you think about glitz, glamour, and fame instead of blood, sweat, and tears.

The Grammy's, Oscar's, and Emmy's honor the biggest stars in the entertainment industry yearly.

I honestly don’t know what each award recognizes because I’m not exactly the pop-culture type. But I do know the awards are a big deal and they carry significanct weight to a person’s career.

So why doesn't the NFL ditch the annual Pro Bowl, and honor its elite players at a year-end award ceremony. Call it whatever you like, design a trendy statue or trophy, and make it happen.

Look I don’t need wall-to-wall media coverage of Brett Favre walking the red carpet into the ceremony. What I do need is a way to add some value to players being named to the Pro Bowl roster.

No, seriously. Invite a bunch of players from the NFL to an award presentation at the host city of the Super Bowl and announce the Pro Bowl selections and yearly awards such as League MVP, and Rookie of the Year.

Sorry, but I would rather tune into an award ceremony instead of watching a fifth-string quarterback throwing an out route to a third-string wide receiver being covered by a fourth-string defensive back.

Think about it though. This year, we are seeing backups to backups named to the Pro Bowl roster due to the fact that no one from the Indianapolis Colts or New Orleans Saints can compete in the game and because players from other teams don't feel like playing.

And even if the Pro Bowl was played after the Super Bowl, you can rest assured that a handful of players from both the Saints and Colts would decline to play in the all-star exhibition.

With so many players saying, “Thanks, but no thanks. I gotta thing,” the Pro Bowl distinction no longer carries the significance it once held.

An award ceremony would eliminate players like Donovan McNabb and Vince Young earning a Pro Bowl berth and watering down the honor of being called a Pro Bowl player.

McNabb and Young had a solid year and were incredibly valuable to their team. But you can't tell me that either one deserves to be called a Pro Bowler this season.

So the solution is simple: invite both of those players to the award ceremony and when their name isn't called they can sit there and watch the likes of Peyton Manning and Drew Brees take the stage and earn their true recognition as the league's elite quarterbacks.

Would their feelings be hurt? Sure. But if Drew Barrymore and Brad Pitt can withstand rejection, I am sure some of the toughest men in the world can suck it up for a little bit.

Very few fans actually want to see the Pro Bowl game played and judging by the lack of effort displayed by the players, it appears they don't want to participate.

It almost seems like fans would rather debate about the yearly snubs instead of watching a bunch of players going through the motions for three hours.

You can't blame the players for not laying it on the line for an exhibition game. I mean, if I'm getting paid millions per year, the last thing I want to do is blow out a knee making a play in a game that doesn't matter.

When football is played without a purpose and emotion then you might as well not play.

So do it. Cancel the game, roll out a red carpet, and bring some value back to the Pro Bowl distinction.

And if the NFL wants to make it a complete success, then it can use the event to raise money for charities. Each year, players receive money for their participation in the game. The winning team gets a little extra cut to help increase the competitive nature of the game.

Well forget about the additional bonus since the game will no longer be played. Cut a check to those who earn the Pro Bowl selection and then take the extra cash and donate the money to a charity of each Pro Bowler’s choice.

Who knows, maybe Leonard Weaver is a big supporter of the American Cancer Society. Sounds like a perfect opportunity to honor Weaver for his Pro-Bowl season and then write a check to the American Cancer Society in his name.

Maybe this thing does gain momentum and a reporter is down on the red carpet talking to the likes of Mario Williams and Adrian Wilson. Before you know it, we get to see players in a different light and actually see who some of these guys are.

Okay, so maybe I’m getting a little carried away, but you get the point.

Just think glitz, glamour, and fame. Oh and charity too.