NFL Pro Bowl 2012: Where the Game Goes Wrong
I used to watch the Pro Bowl. I also used to snort ketamine. Guess which one I did on Sunday?
As a Redskins fan, I haven’t had much to cheer about. The last time I got excited about this team was 2007, during the Pro Bowl. Early in the day, a pass went to Reggie Wayne, but he saw ‘Skins safety Sean Taylor coming at him and just let the ball drop. Later, in the third quarter, Bill Belichick called punter-sneak. Buffalo Bills punter Brian Moorman nearly made it to the first down marker, but Taylor shot down the field and plastered him to the grass. It wasn’t a Pro Bowl hit. Taylor showed up to play.
The Pro Bowl’s real draw is the all out media assault that takes place beforehand. Chris Cooley and Jason Witten fishing. Chad Occhocinco filming awkward interviews with his Darrell Revis. The mismatched helmets. Then there’s the unique opportunity to see what would happen if Larry Fitzgerald and Drew Brees were on the same team, but really, this isn’t football. There’s no blitzing, they’re forced to play a 4-3 defense and there’s no pressing on the corners, essentially telling the defense that they can’t play. Some players skip out on the free vacation and exposure just because it’s such a joke.
With rule changes transforming the game into an all out aerial assault, the Pro Bowl is completely unrecognizable as football. The teams are picked from the winner of a league wide popularity contest, which Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers manage to win somehow. Moving it to the Sunday before the Super Bowl helped in some way; its builds up anticipation for most intense game of the year by teasing the audience with a subpar product, sort of like when they have midget wrestling before a boxing match.
Injuries are the major concern. I think they should scrap the entire game. The linemen just stand there slapping each other and no one tackles. The audience sees the best QBs in the game throw hitch routes. It’s not worth the trouble.
My idea is simple. Break everyone up into 7 man squads and play flag football. The catch is everyone has to be out of position. Dwight Freeney tossing bombs over Calvin Johnson to a wide-open Andy Dalton? Sign me up. What we have now is completely unwatchable.
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