First off, I know the Pro Bowl is a seemingly pointless game in terms of effort and competitiveness. Players often only give half an effort in attempting tackles, blocking kicks, running routes, etc. out of fear of suffering a major injury that could effect the respective player's offseason and heading into the following year.
Fans constantly complain about the lack of effort in this NFL all-star game, and commissioner Roger Goodell has threatened to do away with the game earlier this year. I, however, am here to tell you that doing away with the Pro Bowl would be a mistake.
Sure, the NFC once again dominated in Hawaii on Sunday evening, defeating the AFC all-stars by a score of 62-35. And sure, a tight end (Minnesota Vikings Kyle Rudolph) won the game's Most Valuable Player award for catching 5 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown.
The fact that the Pro Bowl is now in between the Conference Championships and the Super Bowl was a good move, although it does take away the players from competition. Taking Baltimore and San Francisco players out of the mix, and adding to that the players that back out due to injury, and the Pro Bowl pool is watered down.
All this being said, there's no way the commish can cancel the Pro Bowl.
That's right, I said it.
Lop-sided scoring, lackluster tackling, watered-down all-stars to choose from, yet I still believe we should keep the game around?
The players and their families get a week-long vacation together after a long five months apart, plus don't fans enjoy high-scoring fiascos?
Pro Bowl selections have been used to gauge a player's career successes, it's tough to take that away after all these years. This game isn't about the fans, in my opinion. It's all about the players, and I think it's a selfish move to take this event away from the guys, and the state of Hawaii––they don't have an NFL team and this is the one time of year they get to watch a game in person.
The players have so much fun with the game, so who cares that they don't give it all 100%. The league has done a couple of things to make it more enjoyable for fans such as putting mics on players and allowing players to tweet on the sidelines throughout the game. But this past year's Pro Bowl was incredibly memorable in a couple of different aspects.
Here are some of my personal favorites:
Second-year Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt lined up wide against the Chicago Bears cornerback for the AFC offensive squad and ran a quick slant in the end zone. Watt nearly caught a touchdown pass from Peyton Manning on the play. He gave offense another go later in the game as well. Unfortunately I had trouble finding a video of the play(s), but I guess next time you'll just have to tune in yourselves.
Watt bloodies finger, requires stitches
Shortly after lining up at wideout, Watt was seen on the sidelines with a bloody finger (photo shown below). It's unclear whether he injured the finger on offense or defense, but either way there's no doubt he was giving it his all. In a sideline interview during the game, Watt said to reporter Michele Tafoya: "Hey commish, we're playing hard."
Jeff Saturday snaps ball to Peyton Manning
Old teammates in Indianapolis, center Jeff Saturday snapped the ball to future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning for a majority of his 13-year career in Indy. Now playing for the Green Bay Packers, Saturday was the starting center for the NFC, while Peyton was the starting quarterback for the AFC, representing the Denver Broncos.
With Saturday announcing his retirement from the NFL, the 14-year veteran snapped the ball to Manning one last time early in the game. After the play Manning gave Saturday a hug and handed him the game ball. Things like this is what the Pro Bowl should be all about.
Referee Ed Hochuli has some fun with PI call
There were very little penalties throughout the game, surprisingly enough. In fact, the first one was pass interference called on Denver cornerback Champ Bailey in the end zone and didn't even come until late in the first half.
Hochuli, the famed buff-armed referee and attorney from Milwaukee, WI, had a little fun with the call, stating "yes, there are penalties in the Pro Bowl" before announcing the infraction to the crowd over his microphone. Video evidence below (sorry, it's not the best quality):
Watching Larry Fitzgerald play with a real quarterback
Sorry, Arizona. But I had to throw this one in here at the end. Fitz, playing with the Cards and all, has played with quarterbacks such as Josh McCown, John Skelton, Matt Leinart, Derek Anderson, Max Hall, Kurt Warner and Kevin Kolb throughout his nine-year professional career. Warner is a borderline Hall of Fame signal caller, but the rest are downright scrubs. This means that the Pro Bowl is the one day of the year that the All-Pro wideout gets to catch passes from a legitimate quarterback.
Being a 7-time Pro Bowler, Fitz has gotten to play with some great quarterbacks, but in games that don't mean a thing. Fitzgerald caught six passes for 59 yards and a touchdown on Sunday evening.
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With all the above moments in the seemingly pointless all-star game held in Hawaii each season, does this change your mind about the Pro Bowl?
Note to Commish: Keep the Pro Bowl!
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