As another NFL season comes to an end, the timing of the Pro Bowl is yet again pondered. Usually occurring a week after the Super Bowl, changing the timing of last year’s Pro Bowl to the week before it, has many league affiliates baffled.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the move was made after looking at alternatives to help strengthen the Pro Bowl popularity, feeling that most interest in the NFL season would be lost after the Super Bowl. However, the decision to move up the Pro Bowl causes many problems.
The most apparent flaw being the exclusion of both the AFC and NFC Champion teams.
This year there will be ten players omitted from the original Pro Bowl lineups, including Green Bay Packers Nick Collins, Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson and Pittsburgh Steelers James Harrison and Troy Polamalu, who were all declared starters. These absences leave a gaping hole on both sides of the field that will be filled with new last-minute substitutes.
Players such as Jon Beason, Alex Mack, Jeff Saturday and Randy Starks have now made the roster due to the unavailability of the Super Bowl talent. While these players certainly deserve their new found roster spots in Honolulu this year, the controversial reasons for the initial players not being able to attend is starting to be harshly criticized.
An All-Star game in professional sports is intended to be a fun weekend to both give recognition to season performances from individual players, as well as provide public relations for the league.
Indianapolis Colts President Bill Polian pointed it out as “stupid,” to have players voted to the Pro Bowl, only to be forced to sit out due to their Super Bowl achievement. Polian simply points out that players making it to arguably the most coveted All-Star game in all of sports, should not face any inconveniences, such as not being able to collect their earned bonus payment at the Pro Bowl.
When looking at other professional sports, why hasn’t the NFL considered adding a week in the middle of the season for the All-Star activities? Possibly the risk of injuries? It's an All-Star game! All-Star week is known as a period of leisure to simply sit back and soak in the recognition of your given talent, there is nothing to prove.
Hence, no over-exhaustion on the field, proving to be no more intense than a weekly full-pads practice session.
Besides, after the Super Bowl what do football fans have?
We are forced to watch re-runs and offseason hype for months on end. So what is the NFL’s real reason for not giving fans another week of football?
Beats me, but it seems that popular demand would be a huge incentive to help please both the football enthusiasts, as well as the league’s participants and administration.