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Even the NFL can’t avoid recognizing the Pro Bowl is a dud

2011 NFL Pro Bowl Getty Images

The reviews are in: This year’s Pro Bowl was worse than usual.   The game contained all of the drama of an episode of Two and a Half Men.

Even the usually sober-minded folks at the Associated Press couldn’t help but rip the game a new one.    Since the NFL doesn’t have their own writers recap the game, NFL.com was forced to display said hatchet piece prominently on their website.

Dan Levy of PressCoverage.com helpfully pointed out this morning all the hilariously negative quotes the NFL ran from the AP’s article.  A sample:

1. “The NFC’s 55-41 victory, a game not nearly as interesting as that score might suggest, did nothing to repair the tattered image of the NFL’s all-star contest.”

2.  “AFC quarterbacks Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning and Matt Cassel threw first-half interceptions as the NFC blew open a 42-0 lead in a performance ugly even by the historically low standards of this game.”

3. ” Pro Bowls are, by their nature, laid-back affairs, seemingly played at half speed by players whose biggest concern is to get on the plane home without injury. The AFC took that attitude to an uncomfortable extreme early . . . “

The game was popular with one important group of people: The players.  Ray Lewis was one of many players to say they liked having the game back in Hawaii as a “reward” for the players.  We don’t blame him, but the league may feel differently.

It felt like the Pro Bowl got less media attention this year than last, even by the league’s network.  It’s just too expensive and tricky to send reporters to Hawaii before the Super Bowl.   Then again, maybe a game with so little effort doesn’t need more attention.

“It is what it is,” coach Bill Belichick said when asked of his team’s performance.

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60 Responses to “Even the NFL can’t avoid recognizing the Pro Bowl is a dud”
  1. jerruhjones says: Jan 31, 2011 12:00 PM

    Breaking news….the sky is blue.

  2. grpatriot says: Jan 31, 2011 12:05 PM

    What a collosal waist of time! The line of scrimmage looked like a walkthrough…At least after the SuperBowl, players didn’t seem to care about getting hurt!
    Terrible!

  3. mightymightylafootball says: Jan 31, 2011 12:06 PM

    “Since the NFL doesn’t have their own writers recap the game, NFL.com was forced to display said hatchet piece…”

    PFT is an NFL product now?

  4. cobrala says: Jan 31, 2011 12:06 PM

    Give players of the winnin conference all OTA’s and mini camps off.

    We’ll see some heart then.

  5. bf53 says: Jan 31, 2011 12:07 PM

    Another Two and a Half Men joke Rosenthal? Really?

    I wonder whats more popular, Rosenthals jokes or the PFT shop.

  6. nitschke66 says: Jan 31, 2011 12:07 PM

    Holding the combines the week in between would be a huge rating draw in comparison. People are still in the NFL mode. FFL players would like to see top draft choices in action. Maybe mix in the Pro Bowl players in some strength, speed and skills contests – for cash – kind of like a ‘Superstars”. I’m just saying…have never watched a ProBowl and never will. However, I do watch the Home Run Derby, Slam Dunk Contest and QB Challenge.

  7. purplescar says: Jan 31, 2011 12:08 PM

    How about dropping the whole idea and instead have the 2 last place teams in each division play a game for the #1 pick … I’d watch that!

  8. discosucs2005 says: Jan 31, 2011 12:09 PM

    How about instead of a game, it’s just a fan day. All the “all stars” hangout and fans can walk around and meet them, get autographs, heckle Michael Vick. I would also rather see a skills competition among players. Even a punt, pass and kick contest would be entertaining in comparison. The only all star game I watch is the 9th inning of the MLB all star game. And only because it (stupidly) decides home field advantage for the World Series.

  9. fran021 says: Jan 31, 2011 12:09 PM

    Okay, Gregg, is that vulgarity going to be legitimized in print now?

  10. shotgunformation5wide says: Jan 31, 2011 12:11 PM

    Just schedule the game on Spring Break weekend. Football enthusiasts will have been without Football over a month and it can serve as an appetizer before the draft. Boom!

  11. chazzmon says: Jan 31, 2011 12:11 PM

    Belichek’s always a great interview eh! This game’s just a reward for the better players in the league and basically big old touch football game. It’s still better than having it after the Superbowl when it was starting to go un-noticed.

  12. chapnastier says: Jan 31, 2011 12:11 PM

    Turned it off after the second series. I think you have it wrong though. The game was boring because of the new rules. No blitzing, no press coverage, no “trick” formations etc. The NFL seems to have purposely taken any excitement that may possibly be generated regardless of where or when it is played.

  13. bigd88 says: Jan 31, 2011 12:12 PM

    BRING BACK THE SKILLS COMPETITIONS!!!

  14. realitypolice says: Jan 31, 2011 12:12 PM

    Spending time worrying about whether an all-star exhibition game is being taken seriously enough by the participants is one of the truest signs that you have lost all perspective.

    Frankly, if it bothers you that the Pro Bowl is a joke, then you’re a joke.

    By the way, the Pro Bowl was the number one rated show in prime time last night by a landslide.

  15. pervyharvin says: Jan 31, 2011 12:13 PM

    I have seen harder hits and better football played in The Lingerie Football League. PB is a joke.

  16. kingjoe1 says: Jan 31, 2011 12:14 PM

    If the NFL loaded the probowl selections into a Madden team and had the computer run it best 2 out 3, it would be more interesting. They really ought to eliminate this game and make it an awards night or something.

  17. amanistumor says: Jan 31, 2011 12:14 PM

    So will they hand out fines like normal?

    I want to see the result of the intentional helmet to helmet on that Pat’s headhunter, McCourtey(?), by the NFC lineman.

  18. Spoonthis says: Jan 31, 2011 12:20 PM

    The Pro Bowl was last night?

  19. textthis says: Jan 31, 2011 12:22 PM

    Here’s a cure, fill it with skills competitions like MLB, NHL, and the NBA. Truth be told, I think most of those get the best viewship from the individual events than the actual game itself. Longest throw, fastest man, accuracy comps, etc.

  20. patriotinvasion says: Jan 31, 2011 12:25 PM

    Ehhh…the game is more about seeing great players interact and have fun. If they played harder and one of your team’s starts tears a knee ligament, people would have fits.

    I agree with some others that a skills competition the weekend before the Super Bowl would be much better. How awesome would it be to see a 40 yard dash race between the league’s fastest players? – DeSean Jackson vs Chris Johnson would be cool…How about something like “How to get off Revis Island” where Revis covers the to receivers one on one…that stuff would be cool.

  21. patriotinvasion says: Jan 31, 2011 12:27 PM

    ^starters…*top…corrections above

  22. dizzle1016 says: Jan 31, 2011 12:31 PM

    I only used to watch the Skills competitions. The legends and celebrity games are more fun to watch than the actual game. Just bring back the fun stuff. It’s too risky to play the game and that’s how players play it.

  23. vadog says: Jan 31, 2011 12:32 PM

    Well, I think I watched one Pro Bowl back in the 1970’s and it has taken me to this day to recover from the sheer boredom!!

    I suppose the NFL is somehow making $$$ from it, however, it does nothing but injure the “brand.” I think it should be scrapped.

    Have writers and players, elect All-NFL “teams” in each conference. Then the owners should pay each player elected $10,000 as a reward for their excellent play. If the player then wants to take his family to Hawaii on vacation, he can.

  24. lombardy7 says: Jan 31, 2011 12:33 PM

    Pay close attention people! This is football’s future. By the time Goodell finishes with all of his micro managing, we are going to have 16 or possibly 18 weeks of football that looks just like this.

  25. woody1351 says: Jan 31, 2011 12:37 PM

    the only all star event worth watching is the nascar all star race.

  26. skoobyfl says: Jan 31, 2011 12:38 PM

    Late breaking news, Kentucky bluegrass is still green.

  27. sdboltaction says: Jan 31, 2011 12:41 PM

    Have the BCS champions play a NFL all star team :)

  28. mustangclan says: Jan 31, 2011 12:44 PM

    The NHL got it right this year by letting the players pick the teams with a Fantasy Draft a few days before the game. The draft is a lot of fun and gives a lot of fans some fantasy action they’ve been missing since the start of the playoffs

  29. crackills says: Jan 31, 2011 12:44 PM

    Nobody wants to see a bunch of overpaid athletes have a “good time” half-assing every play.

    Here is an novel idea, get rid of the probowl and 2 preseason games… and make it an 18 game schedule.

  30. stadanko says: Jan 31, 2011 12:44 PM

    Two words: Dunk Contest.

  31. bosfaninva says: Jan 31, 2011 12:48 PM

    The Pro Bowl needs to go the way of the old NFL All-Star Game, which pitted the NFL champs against a team of college all-stars — into the dustbin of history.

    But, let’s bring back the old Runner-Up Bowl — would love to have seen Rex Ryan have to coach in the LOSER bowl two years in a row.

  32. kindbass says: Jan 31, 2011 12:48 PM

    It’s really gonna suck in 10 years when EVERY game is like this.

    But hey, offense sells tickets, right?

  33. joegridiron says: Jan 31, 2011 12:49 PM

    Another thing the NFL should think about is playing the pro bowl over seas let the Europeans pay to watch that garbage instead of talking about hosting regular season games over there.

  34. giablommi says: Jan 31, 2011 12:50 PM

    I thought movng the Pro Bowl to the dead Sunday before the Super Bowl would make it at least semi-watchable, to momentarily fill the football void that we’ll have for the next seven months (or longer) once the season is over.

    Turns out, it is just as unwatchable before the Super Bowl as it was the week after.

    It’s a complete waste of time that does not enhance the league’s image, nor does it make any of the players or coaches look good in the process.

    Can we end this snoozefest once and for all?

  35. cowboylover says: Jan 31, 2011 12:50 PM

    I don’t know–I kinda enjoyed it. It was fun and lighthearted. While I was against moving the game two years ago, I’m now in agreement; I never used to watch it, but now having it BEFORE the big game, makes it more fun.

  36. bartpkelly says: Jan 31, 2011 12:54 PM

    I say, go to a ‘Battle of the Stars’ type competition with tug of war, water log rolling, and other fun events to watch. Britian’s ‘It’s a knockout’ or Europe’s Battle without borders, the new Wipe Out or the Japanese shows where there are obstacle courses. No one gets hurt, fun to watch, and the players still get to go to Hawaii.

  37. joerevs300 says: Jan 31, 2011 12:57 PM

    How about, just get rid of it all together?

    It’s pointless, no one cares (except the players, who get a trip to Hawaii and between 5 and 6 figures for being selected) and I don’t blame them for going half speed, who wants to suffer a significant injury in a game like this?

  38. sterling7 says: Jan 31, 2011 1:00 PM

    I always sided with the players saying the season would be too long if 2 games were added as football is simply too physical. Hockey likes to compare themselves to football but it’s rediculous as hockey has a deathmarch of a season (82 games) and a deathmarch of a playoff system which is why they do so poorly. My point being is that as much as I love football on all levels, NFL, college, High School, varsity, midget, pee we, wee pee and peanuts the NFL needs to forget this allstar game-it’s a sham!

  39. Spoonthis says: Jan 31, 2011 1:00 PM

    I saw 42 to 7 on the ticker and thought the Cavs were getting there ass beat again by the Lakers.

  40. coachstram says: Jan 31, 2011 1:00 PM

    Why did I watch it?

    Because it was on TV.

  41. broncsfan says: Jan 31, 2011 1:04 PM

    I’ve long since embraced the suckiness of the Pro Bowl as a harmless tradition. It irks me less than something like always scheduling the Lions on Thanksgiving, or the unwillingness of Monday Night Football to embrace flex scheduling.

  42. thisnameavailable says: Jan 31, 2011 1:05 PM

    Some of the comments are hypocritically hilarious…you think this site sucks yet you are here, probably daily, reading. You think players playing at half speed is a joke and the “what if YOUR player got injured” is interjected but going all out in a skills competion, long after they have finished a season provides integrity to the weekend. To those who diss a site yet comment and read you are nothing more than snobs and your pitiful comments say more about you than they do about anyone else. If you don’t like the site shut up and go away.

  43. daffy87 says: Jan 31, 2011 1:06 PM

    The players don’t like to play the game, and with all the extra rules to make it as close to flag football as possible why would they? They should just do away with the game, and replace it with a few hours of televised skills competitions. Those are always more fun to watch because you get to see the players interact with one another and see their personalities. I’d much rather watch a QB competition, the fastest man, the hands contest and so on than watch the actual pro bowl game be played. And by scrapping the game and having it as a series of skills contests you would probably have fewer players back out.

  44. steelersmichele says: Jan 31, 2011 1:13 PM

    chapnastier says: The game was boring because of the new rules. No blitzing, no press coverage, no “trick” formations etc. The NFL seems to have purposely taken any excitement that may possibly be generated regardless of where or when it is played.

    Are you talking about the Pro Bowl or regular season games? (haha)

  45. 12strikes says: Jan 31, 2011 1:14 PM

    Here’s my fix – and I’m not joking. Read this all the way through before passing judgment.

    Create 4 teams, create them by division location, not conference. Team 1 (AFC East and the NFC EAST), Team 2 (AFC West and NFC West) and so on.
    Do a round robin ……WAIT FOR IT…….FLAG FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT. With the top 2 teams playing for a championship.

    This could all be done in one week

    Monday
    1 VS 2
    Tues
    3 VS 4
    Wednesday
    1 VS 3
    Thurs
    2 VS 4
    Friday
    1 VS 4
    Saturday
    2 VS 3
    Sunday
    Championship

    Since some teams would have to play back to back game, seed the team based off of the TOTAL COMBINED WINS for that team pairing, the team with the most combined wins would be the top seed and would have the schedule where they would not play any back to back games.

    The NFL Network could air the round robin, and then the NFL could sell the Championship game to a network.

    Do 10 minute quarters (with a running clock)
    Each game would last about an hour.

    I think it would be a lot more interesting then the crap that we saw on Sunday.

  46. TxGrown says: Jan 31, 2011 1:18 PM

    “I saw 42 to 7 on the ticker and thought the Cavs were getting there ass beat again by the Lakers.”
    ________________________________

    Hey Rosenthal….now THAT’S funny!

  47. vercingetorix43 says: Jan 31, 2011 1:28 PM

    I get that people want the players and coaches to take the game seriously…but why would they? They’ve beat themselves up all season in games that mattered, why do it again in a game that doesn’t. The NFL, the Media and the Fans need to recognize and accept that if there going to continue to play the game it will be “soft”.

  48. bucbearpig says: Jan 31, 2011 1:31 PM

    The pro bowl sucks, however it is more interesting than watching Desperate Housewives. I will not complain about an extra football game, no matter how bad it is. I do think it would be more interesting to take the bottom 2 teams with the winner getting the 1st draft pick. The sh*t bowl would be entertaining, again though, can’t complain about getting to watch an extra game.

  49. closisgood says: Jan 31, 2011 1:32 PM

    I can’t believe I actually watched a fair amount of this game. Sad

  50. bspurloc says: Jan 31, 2011 2:00 PM

    .
    nobody watches these games….

    they should all dress in pink, sit at round tables to play Tea Party Princess.

    same goes for the half time shows…..

    this is FOOTBALL not girlball.

  51. psousa1 says: Jan 31, 2011 2:00 PM

    The place was sold out and the TV ratings were high. Pro Bowl isn’t going anywhere.

  52. joshnr2 says: Jan 31, 2011 2:01 PM

    jerruhjones says: Jan 31, 2011 12:00 PM

    Breaking news….the sky is blue.

    umm breaking news the sky is black bro.. what you see are blue rays getting scattered as blue light functions this way.. the sky looks red and pink and orange at at sunset doesn’t it? not blue then.. its called science..the sky is actually black and the sun is white just so you know.. P.s. its been in all the papers and in the news…breaking news no less

  53. lionfan419 says: Jan 31, 2011 2:05 PM

    Yes why even have D line men when they dont even try to get to QB. Maybe something thats just a skills competition ? Or have fun stuff like Ray lewis and Suh hit a dummy and see who ha sthe most impact or force kinda like NHL and fastest shot? Have receivers do stuff to show who has best skills and same with QB? But the game is just a joke.

  54. bspurloc says: Jan 31, 2011 2:07 PM

    .

    The worst thing about these games is that they cripple the DEFENSE….

    DEFENSE wins super bowls.

    The most powerful offensive team in history 18-0 takes on the NEW YORK GIANTS and the DEFENSE of the Giants put brady on his backside….
    The DEFENSE stomped out this powerful offense 18-1

    These games are a slap in the face of defensive players and a slap in the face of the fans.

  55. nesuperfan says: Jan 31, 2011 2:17 PM

    Let’s face it, last night was a terrible game, but I loved that last TD with all the laterals. The part I loved was when that O-lineman got the ball and the other guy ran into him to tackle him, and just bounced off. That bounce was hilarious.

  56. CKL says: Jan 31, 2011 3:19 PM

    bspurloc says: Jan 31, 2011 2:07 PM

    .

    The worst thing about these games is that they cripple the DEFENSE….

    DEFENSE wins super bowls.
    ________________________
    I agree ,though you are always talking on here about how your team trampled mine in the SB. :) I hated that 07 Pats offense anyway, that type of O never wins a thing in the postseason. Too soft & finesse.

    Remember even with all those all star qbs, all they did was chuck INTs against those soft vanilla defenses and the only QB who did anything decent was the one who had his own system to run and his own players to throw to (Ryan).

    AND…a defensive player was the deserved MVP of a game with like 89 points scored. This game was straight on NaPolian’s nightmare (and so is the SB with the #1 & #2 defense in PA playing)..so I love it. :D

  57. johngaltwho says: Jan 31, 2011 3:27 PM

    They should get rid of the probowl. Any pretense of a competitive football game is just silly given the risk of injury.

    If they want to entertain during the weekend pre suprebowl and reward/acknowledge players who have been standouts then make it a completely different event. Let players compete in a series of strength skill events (aka home run derby in baseball)

    Quarterbacks – try to throw football into moving targets or for distance

    Receivers – catch footballs ejected from a machine (start at one point, ball thrown to a spot)

    Linemen – drive weighted blocking dummies for time and distance…

    I’m sure creative people could come up with fun competitive events.

  58. fantasmic7 says: Jan 31, 2011 3:45 PM

    Oh come on, the NBA all star weekend is largely a joke too. At least the MLB is playing for something. The probowl should be just about going out and having fun, and always leave it in Hawaii. There should be fake punts, fake field goals, onside kicks, crazy pass plays, lateral and throws by wide receivers and running backs, completed passes to linemen, linebackers playing quarterback. Go out and have a good time.

  59. mrznyc says: Jan 31, 2011 6:13 PM

    Fantasmic7 is on the money. I don’t need another “real” game. Give me something that’s fun to watch. Most regular season games, games that are played for real, are dull as dishwater anyway.

  60. toolkien says: Jan 31, 2011 6:58 PM

    Just thinking off the top of my head, get rid of the neutral site for the Superbowl and let the conference champion LOSERS play the week before the superbowl to determine the home site for the following year’s superbowl. They’d have something the play for as THEY might be the home team the next year. No more Pro-bowl, or put it after the Superbowl like it used to be if it’s a profit source they just can’t do without.

    It will be a meaningful game to the teams playing it as they could be helping their own cause and it should be interesting to watch for the fans. I would see the risks of injury being worth it if you, in fact, are the next year’s representative from your conference and get to play the championship on your home turf.

    The only problem I can see is since Green Bay will be winning the NFC for the next five years is how the little city will handle the media/population crush of the Superbowl. LOL.

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