The Atlanta Falcons are sending four players to the 2016 NFL Pro Bowl. Patrick Dimarco and Desmond Trufant were recent additions. (They were voted in as "alternates.") Meanwhile, Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman have been in all along. It's natural to be excited for all four men. They all deserve to be in the Pro Bowl, because they all played exceptional football in 2015. They're truly among the best players in the league. But what does being the Pro Bowl really mean if lots of players get in?
"Official" number of Pro Bowlers this season: 133 (incl. injury and SB replacements, alternates), most in NFL history, via @EliasSports— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 26, 2016
With so many players deemed "Pro Bowlers" - roughly 8 percent of all players in the league - is this process cheapening the accomplishments of those who are selected?
It seems to me there's an easy, partial fix for this. Move the damn game. Don't schedule it for the week between the NFC and AFC championships in a feeble attempt to garner ratings during an off week. Rather, bump it to a date after the Super Bowl. There are still going to be players that back out for personal reasons or back out to avoid an injury, but it'd definitely decrease the use of alternates. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad Tru and Patty D will have the opportunity to showcase their talents, but to be frank, they seem like afterthoughts.