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Three Reasons the Pro Bowl Stinks

AFC-NFC Pro Bowl Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

Tonight is the Pro Bowl, the NFL’s take on an all-star game. Unlike some of the other all-star games in sports, this one rarely gets anybody excited. Here are three reasons why.

  1. There’s no emotion in the game.

Football is a game of emotion. Big hits, spectacular catches, and electric moves in the open field don’t just happen on their own. They happen because the players are fired up and looking to make a big play. The Pro Bowl doesn’t have this kind of emotion. The players frequently look like they are going through the motions. There isn’t a lot of money on the line. The AFC and NFC don’t have the type of pride on the line that you saw decades ago in baseball between the American League and the National League or briefly in the NHL during their short-lived North America vs. the World format.

The result is plays like this.

2. The best players don’t play.

In what is supposed to be an all-star game, many of the best players sit out. Each year, you automatically lose the stars on the two best teams since Pro Bowlers from the Super Bowl participants can’t play. Many of the other big stars in the league just don’t feel like playing, and others are legitimately hurt.

Just at the quarterback position alone listen to some of the names of Pro Bowlers over the last decade because the top guys didn’t want to play: Tyrod Taylor, Matt Cassel, Vince Young, David Garrard, Matt Schaub, Kerry Collins, and Derek Anderson. I know some of those guys had decent careers but come on now.

3. There’s no strategy.

Part of what makes football great to me is how teams gameplan to try and beat the opponent. Teams run all types of different systems and fronts to exploit the opponent’s weakness. The Pro Bowl takes away strategy and feeds you a vanilla game by forcing the defense to run 4-3 fronts, banning blitzing, not allowing the offense to motion receivers, and more.