EDITORIAL: NEW PRO BOWL FORMAT FAILS TO IMPRESS

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People are so disinterested in Pro-Bowl recaps that they don’t pay attention to them.

Robert Blaine, Reporter

The NFL Pro Bowl has always been the subject of much scrutiny—and rightfully so. This year’s Pro Bowl on January 26 just provided further evidence of why football’s All-Star Game is a laughingstock.

The game has decided to switch to an All-Star fantasy draft with teams being picked by Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice. Sure, these were some legends that picked the rosters, but in doing so, the NFL also managed to split the support of many fans. As a Colts fan, do I want to root for Andrew Luck on Team Sanders or Robert Mathis on Team Rice? Without a clear team to root for, it’s hard to actually want to watch the game. The only beneficial aspect of the fantasy draft is the novelty, which should wear off quickly.

Both teams were suited up with bright neon colors, which made the game hard to watch without being distracted. That distraction at least took away from the game itself. As usual, little defense was exhibited during the game. Although the game was low scoring, this was more so a result of sloppiness on offense than actual effort on the defensive end.

The Pro Bowl has always had many flaws in its setup. Today one of the major problems is the lack of Super Bowl players in the Pro Bowl. Doesn’t it seem preposterous to have an All-Star Game without the best players from the best teams?  This is the result of the scheduling changes in 2010, moving the Pro Bowl before the Super Bowl.

Even before the schedule change, the NFL’s Pro Bowl was never seen in the same light as the All-Star experiences of the NBA or MLB. Injuries are very common in such a violent sport. Players often will tone it down during the Pro Bowl due to, as sophomore Neil Krishnan cited it, being “scared of injuries.”

This is a very legitimate concern, seeing as most NFL players do not have guaranteed contracts. One injury could cause a player’s performance to suffer, and it would just be a matter of time until he is walking away from the game with just a fraction of the money he signed for. So why risk it?

Even the NBA All-Star Game is the constant butt of jokes for its lack of defense, but it also provides the stage for an offensive showcase with thundering dunks and three-point barrages. The NFL rivals this with a slew of players clearly putting in less than their maximum effort at all times. It has its ridiculous gimmicks too.

After all the debate over adding two more games to total an 18-game regular season, the lack of enthusiasm from the players in their All-Star Game emphasizes the risk of injury and emphasizes the true beneficiary of such a proposal: the league. Senior Shaunak Pandya called the Pro Bowl “a play by the league to generate revenue” as the owners and the league are the real winners. Most players seem indifferent to be playing in the game while being nominated to the game is the real accomplishment.

Maybe the NFL’s new Pro Bowl revamp with a fantasy draft will help in the future. Otherwise the league may just be trying to revive a dying and boring All-Star Game to keep profits rolling in.