Sports

Bickel’s Blog: Punt The Pro Bowl

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Credit: Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

Credit: Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

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It’s painfully obvious at this point the NFL Pro Bowl has outlived it’s utility. Sure it still draws a decent TV audience. John Ourand from the Sports Business Journal reported that the Pro Bowl drew a 7.9 on ESPN. To put it in perspective the NHL All-Star Game drew a 1.1. There’s definitely money to be made from this game. But is it hurting the league more than helping?

On twitter during the game the sentiments on my feed were unanimous.
The game was “terrible” embarrassing” and a “joke”. Almost all the people that I follow commented on how they couldn’t stomach the game.
The fact that it still drew a 7.9 is impressive even though that’s about 8% down from last year. It’s just more evidence as to why the NFL is king. Even their worst game of the year draws a crowd. But does it have to continue?

The players don’t even want to be there. Of course they love being thought of as the best in the game. And who wouldn’t love a free trip to Hawaii? But when it comes to actually playing the game nobody is going to risk their careers by going all out and getting hurt. Nobody.

Sure maybe a few years ago a young guy like Sean Taylor would go all out and drill somebody ala Pete Rose and Ray Fosse in the MLB All-Star Game. But in 2012 it’s just not going to happen.

Many veterans routinely pass up on the opportunity to play in the game, and second and third alternates end up playing anyway. Andy Dalton had a good year for the Bengals, but you’re telling me he’s a Pro Bowler? Get out of here.

Is Roger Goodell watching this thing? As soon as the ball is snapped the offensive and defensive lines were practically just standing up and playing patty cake with each other. Nobody wanted to be the bad guy and tackle anybody. They scored 100 points. Fans who were at the game were booing.

The argument for the game is obvious. It makes money. They get great TV ratings and advertising dollars for a week where there is no NFL. They sell tickets to the event and sell tons of merchandise and memorabilia. At what point though is enough…enough? The league is generating multiple billions of dollars a year. Couldn’t they let this one go?

How about a compromise? Have the Pro Bowl rosters come to Hawaii. Play a flag football game. Give tons of money to charity. Have skills competitions like they do in the NBA. Let’s see the Pro Bowl quarterbacks demonstrate their passing prowess through a variety of different competitions. Let’s do the same thing for the kickers and punters. Maybe throw some races in for the non skill position players. Hell steal some of the challenges from the old Superstars TV show back in the 80s.

Unfortunately, the bottom line is the game is now a joke. It’s worse than wrestling. At least with the WWE they’re trying to make the wrestling look real. Guys are still flying off the top ropes and smashing into steel cages. At the Pro Bowl guys are just laying down.

Something has to happen to make it stop. The balls in Roger Goodell’s hands. Time to punt Roger.

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