In this series of posts, I seek to find the answer to questions that are brought up around here or around the various sports conversation sites. I use a realistic, low-stat opinion to generate discussion about these topics, but I also encourage the use of stats in an argument.
Whooooa, nelly. I bet you're wondering what I have to say here, because there are many ways that this very question could be taken.
Is the Pro Bowl a joke? Well, yes and no.
To find out why I think (or don't think), follow me after the jump!
First and foremost, I'm not here to debate whether or not the players are deserving of going to the Pro Bowl or whether the Pro Bowl should exist or not. It's a great way to recognize the outstanding players of the league and let them play a little half-intensity game against one another. It's a great way for players to meet other players and for old friends to catch up.
That being said, I have a two pronged attack here. First, the Pro Bowl used to be more fun. Yeah, they'll run gadget plays (Mularkey, I'm looking at you!) that might fail, or they might run fake punts and whatnot, but I'm young enough to remember DeAngelo Hall outrunning Steve Smith for "fastest player in the league" a handful of years ago. I remember those passing drills they used to do with the QBs. It was all so much fun to watch.
I'm pretty sure they don't do that anymore. Whether it's because of injuries or whether the NFL really is the No Fun League, it's turned into a bore. So the all-stars play a game in Hawaii. So what? At least in hockey, they might still fight each other in their all-star game. In baseball, it determines home-field advantage.
Football does what, exactly? Small paycheck for the losers, bigger paycheck for the winners?
---This is assuming, of course, I'm right on what I'm saying. Any error in the above/below will, indeed, send my argument to the toilet. I'm laughing about that possibility, currently.---
The other problem I have is a change they made recently. Changing the Pro Bowl to the week before the Super Bowl was a decent idea, except for the fact that some of the most deserving players wouldn't get to participate in it.
Naturally, I would expect 99.9% of players to tell me that they'd rather be in the Super Bowl than the Pro Bowl, but that's not what I'm getting at, here.
I think the Pro Bowl should definitely be something that is looked at when Hall of Fame entry is being considered. Pro Bowl appearances say "this player was at the top of their game in their position in their conference this many times." No matter how offenses/defenses change, Pro Bowl appearances will always mean the same thing: You're the best of the best.
But at what point do Pro Bowl appearances start to lose credibility? Naturally, Super Bowl teams ought to have some Pro Bowl players, and since they can't play in the Pro Bowl, their spot then falls to someone else who is (very, very, very slightly) less deserving. Then you think about players who drop out of the Pro Bowl because of injury, and the credibility of Pro Bowl appearances starts to slip a little.
Anyone who is in line for a Pro Bowl spot, be it a starter or an alternate, is certainly deserving, but it feels like all the people who should be there, aren't there.
Look at it this way. Brent Grimes is in the Pro Bowl as either an alternate or he's in or something, I'm not 100% sure on what it is. I'm thrilled that he's getting the chance to at least be considered if he doesn't play. He's certainly deserving, but how many DBs had to drop out for him to get to that spot? When you look at it like that (I'm certainly happy for him and all our Falcons) it kinda makes you go "ehh...." a little.
The credibility thing doesn't bother me much, because really anyone who gets in is at the top of the game, but it is something that should be asked, in my opinion.
I think the Pro Bowl has become kinda boring. It's a fun game to watch, but it needs more festivities to it, much like it used to have with the fastest man and best passer competitions. Maybe it could even have like a punt, pass, and kick competition? That would be hilarious and awesome.
The Pro Bowl is also in a rough spot because of how violent football can be. The risk of injury is so high, it's no wonder battered players don't want to play in it. I can't say I know of a fix unless they were to move the Pro Bowl into the preseason of the next season, which would be silly.
What do you all think? Has the Pro Bowl lost some of its shine? Should the Pro Bowl change locations? Should the Pro Bowl include more fun activities like they used to have? I hope I wasn't hilariously wrong on any of what I said earlier! I look forward to discussing this with you all!