Some Pro Bowlers congratulate themselves for getting game “up to standard”

AP

I’ve said many times that the Pro Bowl simply shouldn’t be played at all, since any player who is able to play in the Pro Bowl after playing a full season of football shouldn’t play one more game. If it’s going to be played at all, it should be the glorified walk-through that was witnessed on the few occasions that I watched the game on Sunday. (If you missed the game, we give you the Harrison Smith pick six and the various blocks that sprung him.)

And that’s fine. But the players who specifically weren’t playing at full speed shouldn’t act like the game was, for the most part, anything more than two-hand touch in pads.

“I think it was because there were so many great fans out there and guys wanted to put on a good show and really get this Pro Bowl up to the standard that we wanted it to be at,” Cowboys tight end Jason Witten after the game, via ESPN.com.

Added Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander: “We’ve only got one speed, and we were just out there playing hard, trying to win.”

It’s possible Alexander was being sarcastic; however, the ESPN.com article communicating the quotes plays it straight and serious, as if the players actually believed they played hard.

“At the end of the day, it’s hard to play this game at any sort of a lower tempo than what you’re used to,” Saints defensive end Cam Jordan said. “Honestly, it’s hard not to go hard, especially when you’re going against some of the best players in our league. You almost want to go [full speed]. It takes so much to not go full speed, so I don’t even try to fight it.”

They can say what they want, but those of us who watch football on a regular basis know full speed when we see it. And the Pro Bowl isn’t full speed. (Maybe, near the end and with $32,000 on the line, it’s a little more than half speed.)

Again, that’s fine. It shouldn’t be full speed. Maybe they’re acting like it’s full speed for the benefit not of us, but of the one member of the audience who has the power to pull the plug on the Pro Bowl, and who has threatened to do so in the past.

“If we cannot accomplish that kind of standard [of high play], I am inclined to not play it,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in 2012, adding that the game from the prior year was “embarrassing” in his estimation. “It is really tough to force competition, and after a long season, to ask those guys to go out and play at the same level they played is really tough.”

It’s even tougher to forgo the profit the Pro Bowl generates, and it surely does. The moment it doesn’t is the precise moment the NFL will cancel it.

18 responses to “Some Pro Bowlers congratulate themselves for getting game “up to standard”

  1. Why shouldn’t they play one more game? I don’t get it. Nobody is forced to play the game. Same lame argument every year.

  2. If people want it to go away, they need to quit watching it. I avoided watching it easily enough.

    For the players, if they want it to go away, they likely need to include it in the next CBA. If the league wants to claim that player safety is important, then keeping this meaningless game seems to go against that. Maybe it made sense decades ago when it might be the only time we saw a few of the star players. But, the way every team is shown on national TV at least 1-2 times per season (and available even more if you want to pay for it), means that everyone has had a chance to see a favorite player multiple times during the season.

  3. I can’t judge the effort level they gave as I haven’t watched a pro bowl in years. After playoff intensity FB for the past few weeks I have no interest in this. I would equate it to going to watch the best golfers in the world hit the ball at 75% of their ability, or Usain Bolt and the other top sprinters running 100 meters at 75%. Would you be thrilled with those things or feel like you were cheated?

  4. The only good things about the game were a close score & some Splash plays.
    Just change the “game” to flag or two hand touch and some fun skills competitions for each position.
    Id rather see a 7 on 7 mon padded touch game and creative competitions like the longest bomb, longest field goal,punt
    With most hang time, etc..

  5. The game is a dud no doubt. So what can be done:
    Get rid of the game. It’s no longer what it used to be in terms of the level of play and for the players a free trip to Hawaii for themselves and their families. Especially for players years ago who were making the minimum of the minimums it was a big deal now not so much.
    Make it a skills competition only but with a twist have players punt,kick throw,etc that normally don’t.
    Follow the path the Falcons have supported in the state of Georgia with having it be a flag football game.
    Make the pro bowl take the spot of the hall of fame game in August. Load the rosters with 60 or more players. The hall of fame game is another water downed product put forth by the NFL.

  6. If you’re foolish enough to watch this rancid product you get what you deserve. I think the last time I bothered was over 20 years ago

  7. Toward the end of the game when it became “money time” things got a little chippy. If the league dramatically up’s the incentive.. Say a Million to the winners, 250K to the losers. Then maybe we’ll see some All Star football.

  8. The league needs to make the game meaningful. How about we add an 8th round to the draft? A half-round, with only the 16 teams from the winning conference in it?

  9. I had better things to do such as taking my wife out to a much deserved day out walking the dogs on the beach and going to the movies afterwards. The dogs ran and caught the ball better than the players did.

  10. If you’re foolish enough to watch this rancid product you get what you deserve. I think the last time I bothered was over 20 years ago
    ——
    Hasn’t watched for 20 years but knows it’s rancid. Smh

  11. “Pro Bowl” honor could simply be awarded, with some kind of event – a dinner perhaps – with awards and perhaps a tie in for a fund raising effort. THAT would be more efficient.

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