So Nike are giving the Pro Bowl a new look, making players who don’t really want to play an exhibition game at the end of the NFL season look like they’re playing for the Oregon Ducks. A nice touch, but unless there’s one massive revamp of the event, the Pro Bowl will continue to be the worst of the All-Star games in professional sports.
The shift from AFC vs NFC into something of a fantasy draft, selected by the two players who get the most votes leading up to the game, serving as team captains, assisted by Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders and two NFL.com fantasy football champions, is accompanied by new uniforms. This doesn’t change the substance problem, and we’re not talking about PEDs.
Again, nice, but the sport itself makes the Pro Bowl less and less meaningful every year, as players from Super Bowl teams go missing for obvious reasons, and there just isn’t substance to it with players unwilling to play real defense.
Unlike basketball, that doesn’t need defense to be enjoyable, American football can’t be a sport that’s just about the quarterback finding open receivers while everyone is doing their best not to get injured. One of the big attractions of the sport, similar to motor racing, is the risk factor involved. People don’t like to be in car wrecks, but they love seeing them. Seeing elite athletes beat up on each other is no different, and taking that aspect out of the game, also for obvious reasons, kills any potential this game might have.
The NFL isn’t planning on giving up on the Pro Bowl just yet, despite what writers and bloggers are saying. It still matters to players in a sense; like some sort of big happening for social purposes at the end of the season, including a game that doesn’t really matter to anyone. But it’s hard to ignore the glaring problems that seem to be easier to spot with each year that passes, and putting on shiny new suits isn’t going to change that