Sunday, January 27, 2013
Fixing the Pro Bowl
By Tom Carpenter
Time will tell how much of an effect Peyton Manning's plea to Pro Bowl players will be. Per Jeff Darlington of NFL Network, Manning implored them to play hard in this year's Pro Bowl matchup. However, there is only so much excitement the game can generate with so many of the original selections skipping the game (four of six QBs opted out, as well as myriad other players like Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall), and issues with the selection process itself.
ESPN NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert thinks the best way to regenerate interest in the game is to alter the selection process and the format of competition altogether:
Kevin SeifertPro Bowl: Game no longer relevant
"There are plenty of ways to bring together the NFL's best players for a week of postseason honors and entertainment. Attempting to stage a typically violent game, with players selected by highly unscientific measures, isn't one of them. Instead of a game, why not gather players for a tropical week of (safe) skill and physical challenges that benefit the charity? How about mirroring a reality show to appeal to a broad audience? I would watch Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady compete, "Top Chef" style. And I wouldn't mind finding out whether Justin Smith or Ray Lewis would eat, say, more cockroaches for charity. While they're at it, why not make the rosters of players more legitimate by tweaking the selection process? Including the kind of analytics that all NFL teams now use to evaluate players would seem a logical shift. The NFL might think it is empowering fans, players and coaches by giving them the full vote each year, but the results annually disappoint and anger those same groups in equal proportions. There is no reason to preserve something that has run its course. The Pro Bowl is worthwhile as an event, but the centerpiece shouldn't be -- and doesn't need to be -- a game."