Get rid of the Pro Bowl.
It's as simple as that. It's just not worth it in the NFL. The players don't care about it. Fans don't watch it. And the voting system is all screwed up anyway.
The MLB All-Star Game is a classic (assuming it doesn't end in a tie). Everyone plays, and people actually watch it. And no one worries about getting hurt.
It's different in the NFL. Players don't want to play in the Pro Bowl, for fear they will get hurt. What if Adrian Peterson tore a ligament in his knee and missed the first several games of the next season still recuperating from the injury?
Drew Brees actually dislocated his left elbow the other year in the Pro Bowl, although he recovered in time for the next season. This is why guys like Brett Favre claim to be “injured” every year—simply so they don't have to play.
It's an offensive shootout anyway. No one plays defense. Defenders actually aren't even allowed to blitz, making a linebacker like DeMarcus Ware or Shawne Merriman—players who make the Pro Bowl simply because of their ability to rack up sacks—essentially useless for the game.
The teams must use the 4-3 defensive formation. Referees don't call intentional grounding penalties on quarterbacks. And for the most part, it's just a friendly get-together for the players, not a competitive game.
And I don't understand the voting system. Why do we start voting for the Pro Bowl players in November? The season isn't over yet. Why are we deciding the best players through Week 12? It takes away from late-season achievements.
For example, in '06 for the Eagles, Jeff Garcia was phenomenal down the stretch, leading the team to the playoffs and throwing nine touchdowns against two interceptions in his five starts. But because the voting had already been conducted, the third QB spot for the NFC went to Tony Romo, who had played tremendously around the time the voting was conducted, but faltered down the stretch for the Cowboys.
I think to be done correctly, voting should be conducted after the regular-season is over. I like the idea of having the voting take place from the Tuesday after the final regular-season game to that Friday before the first wild-card game. That gives fans, players, and coaches four days to vote for the players.
I also don't like the whole “name recognition” concept of the voting. A guy like Walter Jones, a fabulous offensive tackle who plays an extremely difficult position for the average fan to evaluate, could essentially have a relatively poor season and still make the Pro Bowl. Fans often miss young, up-and-coming linemen, like Jason Peters or Andre Gurode.
Look, I get the whole concept. The whole vacation to Hawaii. Hanging out with other guys around the league. Being interviewed on TV. It's a cool idea. And it's nice to get recognized for a season of greatness. But the game itself? Pointless.
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