NFL Pro Bowl: The Worst All-Star Game in Sports

The Pro Bowl rosters were named this past week. To the shock of no one, not a single member of the Packers made the original squad. However, there will be multiple Packers playing in the game as a result of:

  1. The Patriots and Vikings won’t send anyone because they’ll be squaring off in the first Super Bowl with the host team.
  2. Half the players drop out anyway.

The Pro Bowl is a crock, and always has been if you think about it. Brett Favre played in his first couple of Pro Bowls because it’s always a thrill for young bucks to get named to their first Pro Bowl. After a couple go-rounds, even Favre tired of the apathy toward the games and realized he didn’t always have to travel to Hawaii for a week long bender when Mississippi/Wisconsin could deliver the same.

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The Pro Bowl doesn’t care about playing defense, because nobody wants to get hurt. Each year, it becomes more and more ridiculous to consider putting the sport’s best performers out on the same field for a meaningless exhibition match after months of everyone destroying each other anyway

In the NBA All-Star game, defense takes a back seat to alley-oops and allowing the world’s best athletes to unwind a little bit. Basketball is the best sport for exhibition All-Star games, and it’s not even close, because the world’s greatest athletes can get creative, pal around, and are much less prone to injury than football.

Then, there’s the whole voting process for the Pro Bowl. Remember when the ghost of Jeff Saturday made the Pro Bowl in his lone season with the Packers, after he was benched for being horribly past his prime? This sums up the brain trust (rube fans with nothing else to do but vote multiple times for mostly undeserving hometown players to play in a meaningless showcase) that decides the rosters. It’s a bunch of gomer fans voting in a popularity contest. Name recognition is the driving factor in getting voted into the game, as Saturday has shown. The same happened for Al Harris after not getting voted in after several Pro Bowl worthy seasons. He finally got voted into the game on the downside of his career when he was getting burned by Plaxico Burress in one of the biggest contests in Packers history.

If the voting process for the Pro Bowl went through smart people instead of average fans, there still would have been few Packers in the game. Mike Daniels would easily have been the most qualified. He draws the short straw in that a defensive lineman in a 3-4 scheme is one of the least sexy positions in football. His job is to muck up the line of scrimmage, which doesn’t display a ton on the stat sheet that Joe Rube loves to see. If the vote was left to his peers, Daniels would be on the squad.

Other than that, David Bakhtiari would be a worthy candidate. However, the missed games due to injury hurt his case, literally. However, it’s comforting to know he’s the blindside protector for Aaron Rodgers for the foreseeable future. He’s arguably the most underrated LT in the game.

One could argue Davante Adams played at a Pro Bowl caliber this season. He made big plays with Brett Hundley throwing the rock. Nothing speaks better to the talent of a wide receiver than the ability to make plays with a subpar quarterback. Adams earned his next contract this season. Pay up, Ted.

On another note with Adams, how horrible has it been to see him get two egregious head shots this year? If the NFL wants to even attempt to give the illusion that they care about player safety, they start suspending these assholes like Thomas Davis and Danny Trevathan for multiple games, without pay, and ejecting them on the spot. It’s so sad to see a young talent’s career, and more importantly his long-term health, get compromised by this garbage.

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It also sounds like Justin Vogel could make a Pro Bowl alternate. It has been that kind of year in Green Bay, where a highlight is that your punter had a solid year. Lord knows he had enough reps.

Let’s finish with the obvious: the Pro Bowl should go the way of the Dodo. Of course, it won’t. It’s another chance for the shield to make a few bucks. The only factor that can stop the Pro Bowl is losing ad revenue. It’s why Thursday night games are here for good. Nobody really likes them, especially players. However, the advertisers pay up for the league that “strives for player safety” to throw their gladiators back onto the gridiron after 3.5 days from throttling each other the past Sunday. Yes, they’re millionaires paid to play a kid’s game. Nobody should feel sorry of them when it comes to that. The facade that needs to be exploited is that of the Shield.

 

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John Piotrowski is a UW-Eau Claire alum, spending most of his life in western WI. He makes the trek east to Lambeau whenever possible. Follow him on twitter at @piosGBP.

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