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Aaron Rodgers stands by his Pro Bowl criticisms

Aaron Rodgers AP

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers ripped the effort (or lack thereof) of some of his fellow Pro Bowlers after this year’s game, and the NFL’s decision to bring back the Pro Bowl for at least another year hasn’t changed his mind.

Rodgers told the Green Bay Press-Gazette that he thought the effort most of the guys brought to the game was a joke.

“After the Pro Bowl experience, the things that happened at the hotel, during the week and then in the game, I just thought was so disappointing,” Rodgers said. “Not only myself, the coaching staff that we brought, but to the fans. I mean, I’m sitting there, I bought six tickets as well so I have six people in the stands watching me in the game and I felt I was embarrassed for them so I just felt like it was the right time to say something like that.”

Bart Scott might not like it, but Rodgers is right: The quality of play in the Pro Bowl has grown increasingly poor, and if the players aren’t even going to act interested, there’s little reason to play the game at all.

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55 Responses to “Aaron Rodgers stands by his Pro Bowl criticisms”
  1. EJ says: Jun 3, 2012 7:17 AM

    The Pro Bowl used to be awesome back in the early to late 90’s. Players used to play hard and earn the title they carried for the next year of Pro Bowl Player. Now, Its all about staying healthy in order to get that next big contract. Maybe instead of the game they hold events like QB Challenge, RB skill games and obstacle courses. I’m sure the players would compete and the fans would watch, sounds cool IMO.

  2. bunjy96 says: Jun 3, 2012 7:31 AM

    The voting is a joke, in some cases. Vote is supposedly for achievement, not popularity.

  3. sb365 says: Jun 3, 2012 7:33 AM

    Rodgers is right, he should stand by his comments. There is no reason to play the game if the guys aren’t really even gona play.

    I agree with the first comment. They shud have a skills competition. I wrote about it in my weekly blog, http://goo.gl/J9nSv

  4. someidiotfromouthereintheprojects says: Jun 3, 2012 7:42 AM

    they need to either radically change the pro bowl or just do away with it altogether.

  5. gettingpwned says: Jun 3, 2012 7:43 AM

    Hey dummies & fake outrage creators at PFT (Florio):
    IT’S A FREAKING ALL-STAR GAME. Get over it. Do you guys freak out about the NHL & NBA all-star games too?
    Get over it. Ratings rule and it ain’t going away.

  6. anpsteel says: Jun 3, 2012 7:44 AM

    To the EJ above: the Pro Bowl has always been, at best, a watered down version of a game.

    Admittedly, back when the per player payout was more closely equivalent to the average per game check- the players may have cared more. That is long gone.

    The Pro Bowl pays out $50k to the winner and $25k to the loser- per/player. The average NFL salary is apx $1.4mil- and I’d guess the average salary of the players in the Pro Bowl is closer to double or triple that.

    The break down is such- the average player’s regular season per game check, is apx $82k and the average Pro Bowl player’s check is likely between $160k-$240k. When you look at it from the dollars- the $25k-$50k provides very little incentive to most of the people playing. Particularly when considering the opportunity cost- as result of potential injury.

    The game means nothing- and unless the payouts are dramatically increased- with 75% of the take going to the winner, the performance on the field will continue to be marginal, at best.

  7. zeedoubleyou says: Jun 3, 2012 7:46 AM

    My first reaction to these comments was that they were true but also quite self-serving on Rodgers’ part.

    From the players’ perspective, how hypocritical is it of the league to preach how much it cares about player safety one minute and then expect its stars to compete in a meaningless exhibition when the players are at their most broken down state another?

    Just eliminate the Pro Bowl and be done with it.

  8. lionboy23 says: Jun 3, 2012 8:03 AM

    It is too bad they can’t come up with an incentive (perhaps besides money) for the players to give it an all out effort.

    Baseball plays their All Star game for home field advantage in the World Series.

    Is there anything that anyone can think of for the NFL to be playing for?

  9. jimbo75025 says: Jun 3, 2012 8:06 AM

    EJ says:Jun 3, 2012 7:17 AM

    The Pro Bowl used to be awesome back in the early to late 90′s. Players used to play hard and earn the title they carried for the next year of Pro Bowl Player. Now, Its all about staying healthy in order to get that next big contract.

    ________________

    Exactly. Part of it is a pride thing and part of it is that salaries have grown so much that a Pro Bowl bonus of 50K or whatever means nothing. When someone was making 500K a potential 10% bonus was big. When making 10 million, 50K is a nights bar tab.

    Here’s my thought-make it standard contract language that if you are selected and choose not to go you forfeit 25% of your salary. If your side loses, you forfeit 10% of your salary. Want to see guys playing hard that will fix it.

  10. grumblenflgrumble says: Jun 3, 2012 8:09 AM

    The problem with a skills competition is in today’s bigger contract loving world, could you imagine if the 5th highest paid RB beat the 1st highest paid RB in a competition? He’d probably hold out next season for more money cause he beat the 1st!

  11. craigkleinpeter says: Jun 3, 2012 8:10 AM

    I say instead of the winning team getting a small bonus over the losing one, the winning team gets double the money and the losing team gets nothing. The resulting competition would be more intense then an actual game.

  12. LoCoSu@%s says: Jun 3, 2012 8:17 AM

    Rodgers is the man. Dead serious about his work – thats how it should be.

  13. istateyourname says: Jun 3, 2012 8:18 AM

    They should bring the Pro-Bowlers out at halftime of the Super Bowl and let them play a little scrimmage like they do for the pee-wee teams sometimes…this way you get rid of Up-With-People lip-sync shows, and you give the kiddies their props, thrill of a lifetime for them…

  14. thechosenone6 says: Jun 3, 2012 8:23 AM

    I think the NHL fantasy draft style would bring some excitement to the pro bowl, players teaming up with others from the opposite conference would definitely stir the pot.

    Aaron Rodgers paired with Andre Johnson and Mike Wallace, Tom Brady with Megatron and Fitzgerald would be a cool sight.

    Suggs on the left side and Ware on the right? Child please.

  15. karpsta says: Jun 3, 2012 8:35 AM

    Well it’s easy for him to criticize because he doesn’t have to worry about getting hit, or study a defense. The QB’s just get to sit back and chuck the football. I bet if he was having to deal with blitzes and actually getting hit, he’d have a different opinion.

    Regardless, it’s a bad game that I don’t recall ever being fun to watch.

  16. santolonius says: Jun 3, 2012 8:38 AM

    the only all star game that is any good at all is baseball. and i don’t care much for baseball.

  17. thedoger says: Jun 3, 2012 8:40 AM

    I wish I could comment on this years pro bowl game but I haven’t watched it in years. Why waste the time?

  18. snoilog says: Jun 3, 2012 8:44 AM

    Matt Stafford doesn’t go but Tony Romo does???

    It is a pointless achievement
    It should be done with, just ask Robert Edwards.

  19. matt2calvin says: Jun 3, 2012 8:50 AM

    Rodgers may find out exactly how the other players feel during this Pro Bowl. They may take it out on his body during the game. After all, he wanted them to play hard…

  20. illiniftw says: Jun 3, 2012 8:56 AM

    But how will the players get to Hawaii without a probowl?? Poor guys are hardly paid! The NFL is like modern day slavery!!

  21. packfaninchitown says: Jun 3, 2012 9:07 AM

    No worries Aaron, you won’t be playing in the Pro Bowl this year anyway as you’re going to be prepping for the Super Bowl.

  22. whatifisayno says: Jun 3, 2012 9:07 AM

    The term Pro Bowler hasn’t had any meaning to me for years. When somebody says a player is a Pro Bowler or has been in years past (after the year 2000), I roll my eyes. Everybody knows that the Pro bowl vote is merely a popularity contest.

    Everyone also knows that the players are only interested in the free vacation to Hawaii for they and their family. And I don’t blame them for that or not wanting to get injured in the game. To me a skills competition sound like a good idea.

    As far as titles are concerned, the All-Pro awards are the more meaningful accomplishment.

  23. johnnyjagfan says: Jun 3, 2012 9:45 AM

    Just let them have an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii for being an all-star and have a dinner at the end of the week to commemorate the season. Why play the game? Just let the players have a free trip. Screw it.

  24. laxcoach37 says: Jun 3, 2012 9:54 AM

    Strange, but I actually agree with almost all the comments here today. In College we have Achievement Teams (like All-American, etc.) is that not good enough? These Players have financial Contracts tied into levels of success, so it is necessary, but an actual “Touch Football” game is absurd! My point is if this is For the Fans” and the majority don’t like the format/results, then is it really? If the NFL really wants another money-making venue- perhaps open the Playoffs to another 2 WildCards.

    Finally, it is a popularity contest. I am not a Lions Fan, but Stafford should have been Voted in. I am a Dolphins Fan and Jake Long had no right to be there. Heck, he was injured for most of Year. I was surprised Peyton Manning did not go to Hawaii last year ;)

  25. senky3 says: Jun 3, 2012 9:54 AM

    matt2calvin, that is the point rodgers was making. there is no pass rush, there is no contact, there is no effort allowed. why have a game if they can’t play the game. thanks nflpa for getting no hit rules for that game and thus ruining it.

  26. rayguyreturns says: Jun 3, 2012 10:11 AM

    The best way to get rid of or improve the Pro Blow is to not watch it. It is a market-driven event.
    Right now, it’s equivalent to watching a paid vacation event for millionaires.

  27. stairwayto7 says: Jun 3, 2012 10:17 AM

    Rodgers can give it his all for the next 10 pro bowls because he won’t be in the super bowl!

  28. pigskin28 says: Jun 3, 2012 10:24 AM

    Guaranty the salaryof each Pro Bowl player. This may help asuage injury concerns. Guaranteed for 1yr after the Pro Bowl played.

  29. bird2jasun says: Jun 3, 2012 10:26 AM

    Need to up the winning money…and just cover travling cost for the losing team. And let the players that win be able to put the orobowl beside thier name…..and if they lose….. Ifs like they were never elected to the probowl. They dont get to put that probowl on there career resume! Maybe that will help motivate them a little bit?!

  30. icewalker946 says: Jun 3, 2012 10:28 AM

    I would like to see some of the prospects from the upcoming NFL Draft play in this game. They already play in East-West and Senior Bowl games after they declare (or graduate). I think having a QB like RGIII under center throwing to Pro Bowl WRs and having Pro Bowl CBs (or soon-to-be drafted CBs) covering would be a good watch as well as give scouts a look as to how certain players perform against pros.

    I know injuries would be a concern but like I said they play in post-season All-Star games already.

  31. k0mbucha says: Jun 3, 2012 10:34 AM

    gettingpwned says: Jun 3, 2012 7:43 AM

    Hey dummies & fake outrage creators at PFT (Florio):
    IT’S A FREAKING ALL-STAR GAME. Get over it. Do you guys freak out about the NHL & NBA all-star games too?
    Get over it. Ratings rule and it ain’t going away.
    __________________________________

    You sir are clueless!

  32. brazy44 says: Jun 3, 2012 10:42 AM

    Things that happened in the hotel? during the week? sounds like some immature youngsters who only got there cause others declined may have ruined it for the others.
    Look, this game should be played AFTER the SuperBowl. That is the tradition I think some are forgetting about. The new champs being able to bask in their glory, down in paradise!
    If you think money is the only thing that will drive the competition higher, then make it winner take all. Too bad we can’t have the winning conference have home field advantage for the biggest game of the season (sarcasm. baseball sucks.)

  33. mathsimillion says: Jun 3, 2012 10:43 AM

    I don’t blame them. If you get hurt in a football game you could be out for the season or it could even end your career. Where is the incentive to go all out in a game that means nothing and risk injury? Football has enough risks that this shouldn’t have to be one of them.

    I say do away with it or just make it flag football. Maybe they should give 32 fans (one from each team) the chance to win (via sweepstakes or something) the opportunity to play in the game (flag) with the players. That would be awesome for the league from a PR standpoint.

  34. fballguy says: Jun 3, 2012 10:56 AM

    1) Make the winners share $100K and the losers share $0.

    2) Take the voting out of the fans and players hands and have coaching staffs and personnel men do the voting with the stipulation that you can’t vote for anyone on your own team.

    3) Since the Pro Bowl is no played prior to the Super Bowl, have the winning conference in the PB determine who gets the ball first in OT if the SB goes that route.

  35. raiderrob21 says: Jun 3, 2012 11:29 AM

    Everything about the probowl is a joke. The voting based on popularity to guys being recognized as pro bowl players when they are the 3rd or 4th alternate. It TV broadcasts they be listed as a 5 time pro bowler and not once were they actually voted in. Do away with the game and make it a fan experience. For the week of the probowl have them hit say 5 different locations across America and have a fan fest where they sign Autographs and Memoribilia for the fans.

  36. fatfreddystubbs says: Jun 3, 2012 11:29 AM

    I realize there are 100 different reasons this will never happen, but is anyone reading this old enough to remember back in the 70’s when the Super Bowl champ would play a team of college all-stars?

    Instead of the Super Bowl champ, have an NFL all-pro team play a game against a team of seniors/draft-eligible college players. The college kids would be busting it to try and improve their draft stock, so the NFL guys would have no choice but to play hard because they wouldn’t want to get their a$$ kicked by a bunch of college kids.

  37. goodguyattorney says: Jun 3, 2012 11:30 AM

    $250k to the winners and $25k to the losers. I bet they play for the winners share then (and the NFL can afford it).

  38. nvandy42 says: Jun 3, 2012 12:05 PM

    I’m a Vikings fan, but I had to get behind Rodgers on this one! I’m glad someone said something.

    Having said that, the rules of the game make it very difficult for a defensive player to get into the game. Being a former player, let me tell you that nothing would be more frusturating for me than having to sit back in 2 possible zone coverages against the best offensive weapons in the game. The quarterbacks know exactly what’s coming and the guys that play in the game pick complex defenses apart every week. They should allow man coverage and at least a 5 man rush. Otherwise the game is just a QB show.

  39. trapshoot says: Jun 3, 2012 12:13 PM

    Cancel the crazy thing.

  40. wnstonchill says: Jun 3, 2012 12:28 PM

    Okay, it’s the only time I’m going to let this be said. I’m a Bear fan, but, nonetheless, Aaron Rodgers, YOU are the man! The truth is the truth.

  41. knightbeast says: Jun 3, 2012 12:28 PM

    In order to make the game mean something, why not eliminate the coin flip at the Super Bowl and give the winning conference of the Pro Bowl the receive/kick-off option to start the Super Bowl?

  42. bsizemore68 says: Jun 3, 2012 12:55 PM

    Pro bowl my rear end, what pro bowl are we talking about? Its a money making joke, the NFL needs to get rid of it, or perhaps play it in a city without a pro team, and move it around the country, and make the winning team pay out about 4 times more then the loser team, that might light a fire on there rear ends, don’t count on it, the league is without a clue as to do what needs to be done. And the game should be played after the Super Bowl. Bill

  43. icdogg says: Jun 3, 2012 1:00 PM

    Perhaps if the players’ contracts were rewritten to provide a higher Pro Bowl bonus for participating AND winning than for losing or not participating?

  44. mullman7675 says: Jun 3, 2012 1:05 PM

    It’s all about the $$$. Make the pot huge, winner take all, and the boys will play hard, guaranteed.

    Also, skills competitions are the devil. It should be saved for retired players during charity events or something.

    Remember that promising New England RB that blew his knee out playing flag football in the sand, Robert Edwards. He had a great rookie year, then it was all over. The league doesn’t need anymore of that kind of silly tragedy.

  45. baddorange says: Jun 3, 2012 1:22 PM

    Its a joke. FIRE Goodell as he’s let this travesty go on long enough. He is a crappy Commissioner, anyway

  46. deck28 says: Jun 3, 2012 1:56 PM

    Yes this is true. But you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure this out. Who made “Rogers” the conscience of the Pro Bowl. He’s not the only competitive guy out their. These are there to have fun and enjoy themselves because no one really cares who wins or loses. It is what it is. I don’t watch it either. How about a game of whiffle ball???

  47. johntonioholmes says: Jun 3, 2012 2:11 PM

    If the pro bowl is supposed to be a joke, they should just make it a complete joke.

    Let the coaches come up with totally ridiculous formations and plays.

    Otherwise, just get rid of it.

  48. monkeyhateclean says: Jun 3, 2012 2:27 PM

    How would replacing the game with a skills competition change anything? OK, there’s no hitting, but what’s in it for the player?

    At the end of the season, most players are at the very least banged up and sore, why would a QB risk hyperextending his throwing arm trying to heave a ball 80 yards in some meaningless contest? Why would a running back/WR want to run a 40 yard dash or a cone drill on sore knees and ankles, and risk blowing something out. Maybe the risk is low, but its there, and even pro-bowlers has to be thinking about their futures, or in some cases, just their roster spot.

  49. khmer379 says: Jun 3, 2012 2:41 PM

    They should play for something like in baseball they play for homefield advantage maybe the NFL should do that for the superbowl the conference that win the probowl get the homefield advantage in the SB just saying

  50. canadianvikingfaniii says: Jun 3, 2012 2:45 PM

    The Pro Bowl should only host the players who have shown to actually give a damn and put forth the effort. Adrian Peterson is one of those guys, each Pro Bowl he made he ran it like a regular season game. Not like this disgrace of a performance just recently. That was the worst Pro Bowl out of all of them, and they aren’t even any good!

  51. mediasloppy says: Jun 3, 2012 3:34 PM

    Hell yes. And they should let the defensive players hit the QB just like every game of the year…

  52. lambeauandlombardi says: Jun 3, 2012 7:19 PM

    stairwayto7 says:
    Jun 3, 2012 10:17 AM

    Rodgers can give it his all for the next 10 pro bowls because he won’t be in the super bowl!

    …………………………………………………………………………..

    Still aren`t over the debacle in Dallas, huh? If your stairway is to 7, better pitch a tent or take the escalator because you are going to be stuck there for a long time.

  53. linemanguy74 says: Jun 3, 2012 7:38 PM

    The pro bowl was just like watching the packers playing the giants guess what team didn’t put in much of an effort,did he rip on them ??????????

  54. crackersnap says: Jun 3, 2012 9:23 PM

    Let’s get radical here;
    1) Cut the roster size. No more 50 to 60 players. Go with 30 – 35.

    Everybody’s playing instead of horsing around on the sideline. Making the roster becomes something more elite. And the per player winnings is divided among few guys, resulting in higher payouts.

    2) PLUS, the NFL makes a donation, dollar for dollar matching the winning player payouts, to the charity of choice for each winning player. Zero for the losing side.

    Make it a public spectacle about tying each player to each charity, putting them all on the hook personally. Playing soft cheats their charity, and exposes the player. The NFL merely deducts teh extra expense anyway.

    3) Making the roster grants every player a full career income replacement insurance policy for anyone/everyone who can demonstrate that their career was impacted by any injury in the game.

    4) Play to the egos. Every player who makes the Pro Bowl gets to wear a special badge on their uni sleeves and back of their helmets the next season, no matter what team they play for. Gold badges for the winners, silver badges for the losers.

    5) Players pick the rosters. Period. NFC players pick the NFC roster only. AFC players pick the AFC roster only. No league. No coaches. No media. No public. The league merely ensures a well-rounded roster. The public merely fights for the chance to see those who the players themselves know are the best.

    6) Top players who DON’T make the roster are eligible for being selected to skills competitions. Public votes for these. Winners get cash AND a special badge to wear the next season denoting reigning skill champ.

    7) MISC: The game goes back to Hawaii. The coaching staff is that of the losing side for each Conference final. 2 winning members of the public, one for each side, get to spend 2 weeks in Hawaii being assistants to the head coach, wear the headphones, stand on sidelines alongside head coach all game.

  55. urworstnitemare58 says: Jun 5, 2012 1:41 PM

    Being voted to the pro bowl is a measuring stick in the NFL where players are picked by thier peers as who the cream of the crop is. Contracts a written with incentives paid if a player is picked. They use it when voting for the HOF.
    I agree with Rogers on this also. Its pathetic almost like wwf and this could be the future of the NFL with Goodell running it.
    They need incentives such as winner take all the money to split and the winning conference is the home team for the Super Bowl since they have the game week before now.

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