The NFL Pro Bowl is supposed to be a game showcasing the top talents in football as they battle head-to-head in paradise.
But after watching the AFC beat the NFC 59-21 in the 2012 “game” in Honolulu, I can honestly say I witnessed better quality of football in the 8th annual “Puppy Bowl.”
The fact that an avid football fan like myself can get more pleasure from watching a bunch of pups wrestle around over chew toys, speaks volumes about how far the status of the Pro Bowl has fallen.
It’s now NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s responsibility to do football fans everywhere a favor and get rid of this meaningless game.
As a Seahawks fan, I felt an obligation to watch and support the five players elected to represent the NFC squad in the Pro Bowl. But, my God, was it ever a trying testament to my fanhood.
While I loved seeing the Seahawks glaucous blue helmets shimmering in the sunlight one last time before the long off-season, the game itself was an absolute joke.
Players routinely demonstrated half-hearted effort, horrid tackling and played with the intensity of Clay Aiken.
It was much like watching University of Washington football.
The fans in attendance at Aloha Stadium didn’t take kindly to the lackadaisical effort on display and they let it be known. They continuously bombarded players with boos throughout the game and lit up Twitter feeds with their dissatisfaction.
Goodell heard the fans disapproval loud and clear and spoke briefly about it on “Mike and Mike in the Morning,” on ESPN radio last Sunday.
“We are going to either have to improve the quality of what we are doing in the Pro Bowl or consider other changes,"he said."Or even consider eliminating the game if that is the kind of quality of game we are going to provide.”
So why torture us any longer, Goodell? There will never be a way to motivate an NFL player who has nothing to gain, and everything to lose, to go full-tilt boogie in a pointless all-star game.
There is a reason that NFL stands for “Not For Long,” and players have an obligation to protect themselves and their future.
During a Super Bowl media session last week, four-time Pro-Bowler and New England Patriots lineman Logan Mankins reverberated the amount of effort players put into the Pro Bowl, and the risks that come along with playing.
"You're going to give a little effort, but you're not going to get out of control,” Mankins said. “Some guys are free agents over there. You get hurt in a Pro Bowl and it's going to affect that contract with another team. Who would want to get hurt in a Pro Bowl and not be able to play the next season?"
Since Mankin’s sentiments about the Pro Bowl are commonly heard from players around the league, the NFL should look at targeting its efforts of compiling an all-star contest in another direction.
Fans of the NFL should remember the skills competitions that preluded the Pro Bowl games up until 2007.
The commissioner should look into restoring these events that included the NFL’s fastest man, the quarterback challenge and the bench press competition.
These events successfully pitted NFL all stars against each other and showcased their amazing abilities in an extremely entertaining and competitive fashion.
While I am for recognizing and rewarding players that had exceptional seasons, it’s time for the NFL to stop disrespecting its fans everywhere and scrap the Pro Bowl game altogether.